Africa is calling my name! On Monday, I will leave for my fourth excursion to the beautiful continent of Africa, where I look forward to a wonderful change of pace for the next three weeks. We will be very busy while we are there, I’m sure, but it will be so nice to have a break from our regular routine. Our lives are always an adventure, but we look forward to an adventure of a different kind in Rwanda!
I am so thankful that I live in a time in history when it is so easy to travel around the world. Travelling has given me the opportunity to experience some of the most amazing moments of my life. And seeing as I can’t think about much else right now, I thought I would share with you 5 of the most breath-taking sights that I have laid eyes on during my previous travels in Africa!
On my first visit to Kibwezi, Kenya in 2010, I was met by the most enormous trees I’d ever seen! Mind blown by their size and might, I couldn’t help but wonder what was up with these giants! They were called Baobab trees, I soon learned, and a little bit of research told me that they grow in 32 African nations. I just remember being utterly enchanted and mesmerized by their magnitude and beauty. Baobab trees truly are one of nature’s most magnificent wonders.
Giraffes in the Kenyan Wild
During my stay at the Athi River YWAM base in Kenya in 2010, I was told to expect to see wild giraffes wandering around the grounds from time to time. I was delighted by the idea of giraffes grazing around the property the way I would picture deer doing on a farm back home. I waited in anticipation, but started to lose heart when after a few days I hadn’t seen any interesting wild animals at all. There was no need to be discouraged, however, because the time would indeed come. One afternoon, as a group of us were driving around the area, we came upon a large group of wild giraffes in the countryside! It was pretty exciting for this Canadian to see not only one giraffe, but a whole bunch, just hanging out in their natural habitat!
Elephants in Botswana
On a tour through southern Africa in 2013, Ryan and I had the opportunity to enjoy a safari at Chobe National Park in Botswana. While we saw many breath-taking animals on this expedition, the most memorable were the elephants. This park is home to an estimated 50,000 elephants, and while that sounds like an enormous number, it was not hard to imagine that it was true. There were elephants roaming around everywhere! Watching a group of them pass by, directly in front of our open jeep, I couldn’t help but marvel at the creativity of God.
I have had the distinct pleasure of camping along the shore of Lake Malawi on two separate occasions. This glorious lake is the ninth largest lake in the world and the third largest lake in Africa. When you stand next to it, you feel more like you are standing next to the ocean than next to a lake. Waking up to this spectacular view every morning for several weeks was enough to make my heart soar. In August, 2013, Ryan and I spent the morning of our third wedding anniversary walking along the beach and enjoying the sunrise over lake Malawi. So naturally, this lake holds a pretty special place in my heart!
Described by CNN as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world, I have never seen or experienced anything quite like Victoria Falls! Having visited in April, 2013, during high water season when the falls are at their most powerful, I have never experienced anything more magnificent or more terrifying! As we raced across a hanging suspension bridge over a massive canyon while the abundant mist and spray from the flooded falls pummeled us from every direction, I wondered if I would ever make it to the other side.
Recalling it now, I can’t believe that I actually did it! I’m afraid of massive bodies of water, I’m afraid of bridges, and I’m afraid of heights! Not only that, but I am a person who goes into sensory overload and becomes really anxious as a result of loud, booming sounds! And by adding all of those things up, you can pretty much describe my Victoria Falls experience in a nutshell! And yet, despite coming face to face with a whole bunch of my fears all at once (or perhaps, in part, because of it) this experience was completely worth it. The beauty and the power of the falls, to me, was a perfect picture of their creator—a magnificent God whose power is so enormous that it is actually terrifying. And yet, so beautiful. So natural. So pure. I will never forget my Victoria Falls experience!
Every one of my experiences in Africa has been so full of adventure and beauty. I have learned so much through my travels, and look forward to having another chance to be stretched as I step outside of my everyday life and immerse myself into a new culture. I can’t wait to add to this list of magnificent memories with the wonderful people and experiences that await me in Rwanda!
In the meantime, here’s a little trip down memory lane with a video compilation from my African adventures in April, 2013!