Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Africa & the Middle East
Reload this Page >

Why when going to Africa do people often refer to it as a "once in a lifetime" opportunity???

Why when going to Africa do people often refer to it as a "once in a lifetime" opportunity???

Mar 23rd, 2004, 09:03 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553

>>>oh my god..it really is all about roccco isn't it??


>>>and roccco, you know it is a bit tacky to keep bringing up one's financial situation...
maybe it's just where i come from.

No apology needed...it's not where you're from, it's where you're at!
Roccco is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2004, 10:40 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 152
Roccco: wonder what kind of people you talk to. I spent a whole year planning a trip to Africa..never ONCE did I hear any racist comments...and no one I talked to thought Africans ran around in loin cloths carrying spears either! Upon return, everyone was eager to hear about what we saw and did...including our impressions of the working conditions in the various mines (I am a gemmologist by trade). It seems to me the biggest hinderance to African travel are the worrisome news reports (as mentioned before like Kenya). I think negative news reports bother more people than do the racial issues...the worst racists I encountered were some of the whites in SA and Swazi.
rubytwo is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2004, 11:14 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 252
Not sure if I have a dog in this fight, but here goes... I would agree that many travelers begin their trip to Africa thinking that issues of distance, expense and time will make it a 'one time only' thing. However, once bitten by the Africa bug, we begin planning our return trip on the flight home! I do feel like a bit of a zealot, talking about how wonderful Africa is to anyone who will listen. Maybe that's how I ended up on Fodors! I enjoy this community and appreciate the different points of view. At the end of the day, we are more alike than unalike.
girlpolo33 is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2004, 11:18 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 2,138
I've been following the posts here for several months as I've been planning a trip to Kenya and Tanzania for the past year.

Although Roccco may be difficult to swallow at times, he more than makes up for it with his resistance to being politically correct. I for one appreciate getting straight forward opinions.

I have travelled to several countries over the past decade (Jamaica, China, Indonesia, India, Nepal, Morroco, Malaysia, Turkey, Costa Rica, Thailand, New Zealand... as well as numerous countries in Europe) and it never once occured to me to visit 'Black Africa' (people generally are not referring to the North when they speak of Africa).

I grew up in West Africa I never had the desire to visit other sub saharan countries. Someone planted a seed in a casual, off the cuff conversation I had about 2 years ago, and my interest grew, ever so slowly, from there.

I must agree with Roccco's point of view on two counts:

First, I have always travelled, regardless of my income (which has varied widely). Travel has almost always been a priority for me, and I simply adjust my trips to fit my budget. Most people I know choose to make priorities of other things (the latest cars, computers, gadgets, etc).

Second point, I still get questions about living in huts and fighting tigers in the streets when I lived in Nigeria. And I do perceive a certain bias (which I must admit to also having in the past) against visiting an 'uncivilised' or 'wild' destination.

I must admit to being very surprised at what a trip to Africa could be like, and believe I will actually enjoy my upcoming trip as much, if not more than, my past trips. However, the best trip I've ever had always seems to be the one I've just returned from
Femi is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2004, 11:40 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
It seemed to me that Rocco's point was not about travel generally but a dig at those who do not share the desire of some of us to visit Africa again and again and again.
I know many friends who have just the same priorities in life: friendship, travel, lifestyle before work, property, new cars, fashion. But for some of them it's not Africa that calls them as strongly as other continents.
For me it's not a case of being politically correct as much as thinking it's simply not necessary to belittle those who have different priorities in life and in travel.
Kavey is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2004, 11:54 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553

Some people think lesser of others that do not read books, or perhaps do something like vote, while I, admittedly, think lesser of people that have no natural curiosity to explore this beautiful green Earth.

And there are others that think lesser of people like me that will go on costly holidays around the world without having six months of living expenses in liquid assets in case anything ever went wrong.

All I am doing is putting it all out on the table. Trust me, while I may be smug at some things, I am terribly insecure about other things, such as running. I will be lucky if I am not dead last and removed from the course this weekend, that is if I do not injure myself first. Unfortunately, I am all about instant gratification and neither wish to save my money for years before booking my next holiday nor wish to train for months or years before taking on a marathon or other grueling race like the 30K this weekend.

Like I have said before, I prefer to live my life like I can be hit by a bus tomorrow, rather than being so calculating and conservative. Different strokes and all, but keep in mind that this is an African LUXURY travel forum, for the most part, and not some long-term, will I have enough money if I live until 90 years of age, forum.

If this is an obnoxious thread, I do apologize to anybody that I have offended. I do fear that I will have an abnormal amount of testosterone now that I am running again and with my Italian/African holiday within 60 days and closing in fast!
Roccco is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2004, 12:18 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553

I thnk you have it nailed down with your following comment:

>>>Even more just don't want to experience something that is just different; others wear blinders and can't further than their nose. Most people have a comfort zone and dare not venture any further.

I just need to remember that the Africa that we know and love would disappear in an instant if every person in the world that could afford a trip to Africa, actually took that trip to Africa. Sometimes it is just difficult for me to believe that most with the financial wherewithal to do so, still will NEVER experience the magic that is Africa. Fortunately, we are not part of that group, the stupid B$#%[email protected]$...just kidding!!!
Roccco is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2004, 03:35 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 407

''the worst racists I encountered were some of the whites in SA and Swazi.''

The worst racists I have encountered were some of the whites in the southern USA.

What's your point?

safarinut is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2004, 06:43 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,144

Thanks, Kavey. I am not put-off from visiting Africa by this thread, nor am I put off by the preaching of an immature, boastful, self-absorbed poster.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2004, 07:18 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 178
I just discovered this site a couple of days ago and am thrilled to find so many fellow Africa addicts! Now I don't feel so alone in my obsession! Like Roccco, most people I know think I'm a complete weirdo lunatic. My first safari was in 2001 to Botswana and Zimbabwe and I cried all the way home. Last year I went to Uganda and this year I'm going to Southern Tanzania and Malawi. I'm already planning my next trip for 2005!!
When people ask me why I like Africa so much, I usually say it's because it is so foreign and the polar opposite of my day-to-day life (I live in San Francisco). I love the pace, the serenity, the beauty. NOT TO MENTION THE ANIMALS! No phones, TVs, computers, newspapers...
There are many places in the world I haven't seen but, for the foreseeable future, the only place I plan to travel to again and again and again will be Africa.
phernska is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2004, 09:51 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 596
Welcome Stinkeyes! Rocco, I was one who thought my trip to Africa would be my once-in-a-lifetime trip. I wanted to go but knew that it was far and expensive although largely it was expensive because we didn't think we'd ever do it again. This was before we went, of course. Some countries may disappoint in terms of expectations but Africa (SA, Botswana, Zambia) went far beyond my greatest expectations so, as you know, I cannot wait to return. But I didn't know that until I went.

My spouse saw a couple at a party just a few months ago. He was going on about how fantastic our African safari was and the wife was hanging on every word until her husband said, half-jokingly, "Shut up!" His wife, in her early 40s, had always wanted to go. They have means but for some reason he had not wanted to go. This was only a couple of months ago. Just recently they suddenly found out she had a few weeks to live. It was a total shock and it turned out to be even less than that. It breaks my heart that she never got to see Africa and I'm sure her husband wishes he had taken her. I hope that someday he will go for her.
Clematis is offline  
Mar 24th, 2004, 05:17 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553

Sorry to hear about your friend. That is what saddens me, is that when I see people that have the ability to do something such as travel to new and exotic places, but they, for whatever reason, cannot just pull the trigger.


Welcome to the board! Glad to have anohter person that is so very passionate about African wildlife destinations on board.

So, What's the plan for 2005???
Roccco is offline  
Mar 24th, 2004, 06:33 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 814
What a sad story. It is really about people putting off whatever they plan to do...I had a similar experience (at Jack's Camp, Kavey!) a couple years ago. One night we were all talking about how we came to be in the middle of the Kalahari, when one 80 year old gentleman, travelling alone, told us that he and his wife had talked, for their whole lives together, about their "once in a lifetime trip to Africa". They both really wanted to do this, but somehow work, family, other life episodes made them put off such a big trip until retirement, when they would "have the time to really enjoy it". But every year it was postponed for one reason or another...finally he really pushed the issue and began planning the trip. At which point his wife admitted something she had managed to hide...that she was quite ill and couldn't handle a big trip. When she did, finally, agree to see a doctor she was diagnosed with a fatal illness, and died a year later.
So his "once in a lifetime trip" became a trip alone, in her memory. We all began to cry as he told his story. And we tried to convince him that he was not alone, that his wife was watching and enjoying his long-awaited trip, and that he MUST enjoy every minute of it for her and in her memory. He had a great time...and so did we, because EVERY MOMENT we spent there became even more precious when we thought of dreams deferred and dreams that might never happen.
Two nights later I was at a different camp, and after we returned from a superb game drive, the camp manager gently broke the news to us about September 11. And the idea that there was always a tomorrow, a chance to "do it next year" was shattered.

I've changed my life in many ways since that trip...not least of which is a return to AFrica every year, God and the universe willing.

Everyone has their own dreams and they may or may not include Africa. But whatever they are, ask yourself why you aren't making them happen. Now. This year. Sooner.
tashak is offline  
Mar 24th, 2004, 07:06 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,585
After visiting S Africa last summer, I am simply amazed at the responses from Americans! Isn't it dangerous? Don't they hate white Americans? etc, etc. Granted, we had one FF ticket, but that was the only major expense. I know we spent more at Disney per day than S Africa. The food, lodging, etc was dirt cheap compared to the US. We were treated so warmly by all races. We spent an entire day in Cape Town shopping, etc and never saw one American! (Of course, the Europeans are all onto this.) Personally, I was arranging another African trip as soon as I left because there was so much more to see. If you hate long flights, that's a good reason. However SAA was so great, what a treat. I suppose if you go all out, go luxury wilderness route, etc and spend half your savings that may be a "Once" trip. But there are certainly cheap and easy ways to enjoy S Africa within a reasonable budget. I'm glad I've been able to educate my friends about the wonders of S Africa!
LLindaC is offline  
Mar 24th, 2004, 07:41 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
What a moving story.
That is EXACTLY the reason we're spending the time and money doing this trip (the two month one) now and not deferring it to retirement.
About 2.5 years ago one of my sister's closest friends was killed in a road accident on the way to work. A lorry was speeding and lost control and crushed her car instantly. She was 27. She loved travelling, loved life, had so many dreams and plans for her future. And now those chances are gone.
None of us know where we'll be this time next year, heck we can't really even know for any certainty about tomorrow.
However, I think this is a great motivation to live our own lives fully right now. I don't think it's reason enough to criticise those who don't happen to share our passions.
Kavey is offline  
Mar 24th, 2004, 09:29 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
>>I don't think it's reason enough to criticise those who don't happen to share our passions.


I think you are reading more into my message than is actually there. My original message was only that Africa should not be considered a one-time deal, just as many other destinations would not be considered a one-time deal.

Even if a major trip is only taken every other year, a person that begins travelling by 30 years old, should be good for about 20 major trips, if they travel until they are 70 years old. In 20 trips, a person should be able to see the world, including more than one visit to Africa, which I think they will certainly want to do once they have seen the beauty and magic that Africa possesses.

I'm with Tashak...I need Africa every year. Even so, my intention is not to criticize those whom do not need it every year or two, but more so those that have NO interest in seeing Africa. I have heard some stupid comments from other supposedly well-travelled and well-heeled people that they have no interest in Africa (or even Australia and New Zealand for that matter) because there is not much history. Of course what they are really saying is that there is not much European history and culture available, which personally, for me, is reason enough to WANT to visit these places, for an entirely different experience.
Roccco is offline  
Mar 24th, 2004, 01:07 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 165
For a change I agree with Roccco.

There can really be no excuse for not visiting Africa. It is easier to get to the continent than ever before, the prices have never been more attractive (yes you can have a safari for less than $2000), and the internet has opened up the previously 'difficult' continent and almost anything about it can be found from the confines of your room a few thousand miles away.

Security too is fine. Millions of Europeans and Americans have travelled to Africa and 99.9999% have returned safely. So how can Africa be considered unsafe?

For those who are purely interested in cities, history and architecture consider this - within the next 50 years Africa's wildlife may no longer be. The history and palaces will remian but the African wildlife is certain to diminish due to human/wildlife conflicts.

For those doubtful about the pleasures of Africa, I recommend a highly eveocative and wonderfuly entertaining book ever written about Africa safaris - I'd rather be on Safari by Gary Clarke. Mr. Clarke has led over 100 safaris to Africa and continues to do so even at his tender 'young' age. Here is an excerpt from his book - more about him at www.cowabungasafaris.com

"Two of my Safarists expressed it well. One lady said that being on Safari was like opening a new present everyday. And then there was the world traveller who had been just about everywhere: Canada, Mexico, Europe, Australia, China, South America, Antarctica - wherever people travel these days. About halfway through his first trip to Africa he told me, "one day on Safari is like two weeks anywhere else in the world."

I know what he means. On Safari I feel like a bottle of Coca-Cola that has been shaken on a hot day - effervescent and overflowing with sights, sounds, impressions, emotions. Sometimes, even after more than 30 years and over 115 Safaris, an event or episode on Safari will be almost more than I can take. And the experience continues throughout one's life. In the days and weeks and years that follow, little vignettes of a Safari will float in my mind and flood my spirit with Africa. This happens at the most unexpected (and sometimes inopportune) time. And it is wonderful. I still have vignettes from my first Safari in 1974.

Those who ask me why I keep going back to Africa obviously have never been. I asked myself the same question and I keep searching for an answer. Maybe it is a mystical affinity for Africa. The Continent fascinates and rejuvenates me. At the end of every Safari I leave a part of myself in Africa, and bring a little piece of Africa back with me. If they cut out my heart when I die, I'm sure it will be in the shape of Africa. Writer Don Steffen said it so well, "once you have visited Africa, you never leave it. And Africa never leaves you. Its dust, mostly red, sometimes white, often black, settles on the heart . . . and remains forever . . . one always returns - if only in spirit."

To think just now of the evenings in Africa when the sun turns the sky blood red and one sees the dark and massive silhouettes of elephants on the horizon . . . oh, it gives me a quiver of joyousness. It is said that God does not subtract from one's allotted time those days spent on Safari."
Gary Clarke

king is offline  
Mar 24th, 2004, 02:11 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 407

Thank you for your beautiful description of my beloved Africa!
safarinut is offline  
Mar 24th, 2004, 02:13 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
The thing is, in this forum, you're preaching to the converted. It's clear we all love Africa and the thought of visiting or we wouldn't be here.
Kavey is offline  
Mar 24th, 2004, 02:20 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 165
Perhaps I should put it on the other forums, what you say?
king is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:45 PM.