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Africa Experiences Celebrating Black Heritage

February 3rd, 2021, by Chelsea Todaro

Africa is famous for its wildlife, yet the continent’s people are as equally fascinating. There are over 2,000 languages spoken and a myriad of cultures, including some of the world’s oldest, that call this beautiful continent home. To explore the diversity of Africa’s culture and heritage is one of the most rewarding experiences.  

“As we celebrate Black History Month, we wanted to launch a collection of experiences that resonate with this year’s theme of celebrating diversity and the black family. At African Travel we strive to connect our guests with local cultures who bring their personal stories to life,” said African Travel, Inc. President Sherwin Banda.

The following are ways guests can learn how art, nature and culture has helped shape Africa’s black heritage and how each guest can celebrate it in the future. 

 

KENYA: INSPIRING CHANGE

 

Kenya is a magical mix where both the modern and ancient exist. It is also a place where many family roles have evolved, and people have learned to adapt to changes in modern society. You’ll hear these stories in conversations with your Masai or Samburu guides while on your safari plus enjoy the following experiences. 

 

A Conservation Success Story

During the World's Greatest Show & Safari - Mara, you will see first-hand the progress taken to promote education and wildlife conservation at the Lewa conservancy. The local Samburu are learning to live in harmony with wildlife by eliminating poaching, which was once a normality for their pastoral lifestyle to protect their grazing herds. You’ll participate behind the scenes and meet the extremely proud members of the tracker dog unit and see the research and security team in action. You can also see how this work impacts classrooms with a school visit.

 

Elewana Loisaba Tented Camp tracker dogs, Kenya

 

You can also invest in the next generation of East Africa conservationists. For every couple visiting Kenya and Tanzania, African Travel will sponsor a child to participate in the Land & Life Foundation Wildlife Warrior program who works with local communities, including ones in Lewa.

 

A Walking Safari with a Purpose

 

A walk with a Samburu guide is also a wonderful way to learn about the flora, fauna, culture and history of the area while hearing stories about their ancestral traditions and their life today. This can happen any time of year but if you time your trip right, you can also glimpse the singing wells as Samburu warriors chant and collect water for their cattle. Sometimes it is worth stepping back in time to appreciate the future. 

 

 

The Women of Reteti Elephant Sanctuary

 

On Captivating Kenya, your stay at the Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy provides the opportunity to explore Kenya’s first elephant orphanage, the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary and learn about the awe-inspiring women of Kenya. Here you can meet some of the Samburu women who proved they are great at taking care of elephants, but also are a living example of how gender equality in the workplace empowers not just women in her community but in her country and the continent. 

 

Beautiful Beads with a Big Impact

 

Another empowering experience where you meet women and participate in their story is a visit to the Kazuri Beads Factory in Nairobi. Kazuri, meaning “small and beautiful” in Swahili, and here can meet one of the 340 women skilled in crafting beads into beautiful and colorful jewelry and ceramics. You’ll take away interesting gifts and stories. 

 

Kazuri Beads Factory, Nairobi, Kenya

 

SOUTH AFRICA'S VOICES

 

South Africa is one of the most recognized places to celebrate black heritage. Figures like Nelson Mandela has helped bring attention to the region. The artists, musicians and makers in this ‘Rainbow Nation’ are helping to advance the country’s story.

 

In the Footsteps of Mandela

 

A historic figure for equality and peace, Nelson Mandela paved the way for human rights in South Africa and is one of the most respected black leaders in modern history. We can arrange to meet Christo Brand who can share his experience as friend and guard during Mandela’s infamous 27-year prison stay at Robben Island. Or you can visit the island during In the Footsteps of Mandela and also see how Nelson Mandela’s South Africa is brought to life in Cape Town and Johannesburg through a collection of soulful encounters with the people and places he touched in his efforts to end apartheid. 

 

 

Meet South Africa’s Next Generation 

 

Because of limited resources, Africa’s sustainable art is out of necessity, borrowing from what is available and from the past and present. From Johannesburg’s spoken and street art scene to Cape Town’s famous galleries, restaurants, and shops, we tailor art, design and food tours to understand South Africa through its local artists and makers. In Cape Town, you can visit District Six, Bree Street near colorful Bo-Kaap, and Woodstock. On our last visit at What If The World Gallery we learned about works by Athi Pathra Ruga who has collaborated with Dior and Thania Peterson who finds her identity by exploring history.

On Experience South Africa, you can also hear about the fascinating history of South Africa through its artists while exploring the Ellerman House collection and spend some time with artists at Ardmore who create colorful home decor, lively paintings, beautiful jewelry and delicate ceramics that demonstrate Zulu traditions. 

 

NAMIBIA'S WILD EXISTENCE

 

Home to 13 distinct cultural groups still enriched with ancient traditions, Namibia’s desert and coastal landscape offers some of the most authentic experiences with Africa’s people and wildlife which is probably why it is one of Africa’s new hotspots. 

 

Visit the Last Nomadic Tribes

 

The starkly beautiful Kaokoland, with its sand dunes and desert adapted wildlife is famous for having the largest population of free-ranging black rhino, a fascinating cheetah population, and opportunities to help monitor endangered desert-giraffe with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation.

Namibia is also home to the statuesque Himba people who are one of the last true nomadic tribes on earth. On Deserts and Dunes of Namibia, you’ll learn about their fascinating way of life. While based at Hoanib Valley Camp, you can visit one of the remote villages and learn why they live in cone-shaped homes, why Himba women famously rub their bodies with a red ochre cream to protect their skins, and how the Himba are able to continue their traditions today.

 

Meeting the Himba tribe, Natural Selection, Namibia

 

RWANDA: A SYMBOL OF HOPE

 

For a country that was in turmoil just 25 years ago, today a united Rwanda stands as an extraordinary example of the best of humanity. The country’s unbeatable gorilla trekking experiences will leave you with a smile on your face, but the people will steal your heart. 

 

Learning from the Past

 

A guided tour of Kigali Genocide Memorial gives a deeper insight into Rwanda’s darker history. The museum uncovers the history of the divisive colonial experience in Rwanda and background of the horrific genocide against the Tutsi tribe in 1994, which spanned 100 days.  While it is a sober experience, it also offers a lesson in forgiveness and illuminates the hope you’ll see throughout Rwanda.  

 

Inama Art Center, Kigali, Rwanda

 

Rejoicing in Kigali’s Future

 

It is exciting to see the energy in Rwanda and especially in Kigali. We recommend a few days in Kigali, perhaps staying at The Retreat in our Discover Rwanda, which showcases Rwandan arts, photography and more.  Take a guided tour to see the changing façade which is attracting investment because it is hailed as one of the friendliest cities in Africa. Meet local artisans at the Inema Art Centre and revel in colorful dance and musical performances. With the help of an interpreter, you can visit the Nyamirambo Women’s Center  and work with a local weaver who educates you on importance of the craft, where the vibrant colors come from, and helps you make your own earrings or small Agaseke baskets.
 

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