Inspiration and Stories: Africa

There's something truly profound about setting foot on the African continent. It could be the beauty of the land or the fact that animals normally only seen in zoos roam wild. It could be the mix of histories and landscapes and cultures, more diverse and vibrant and varied than you'd ever imagined. Or it could simply be that it's the oldest place on earth and feels it, inviting you to take off your shoes and walk barefoot thru a place that has never been, and will never be, tamed.

 
 
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Mozambique: Tofo

Travel and underwater

"time and tides"

The first thing that you notice about Mozambique is the rhythm. It’s something tropical and infectious, a quick two-step that sets the hips in motion, the head bobbing slightly on the shoulders like a palm tree swaying in the breeze. It moves you with a flavor wholly its own, African influences wed to Portuguese, Arabic to Indian, the two thousand kilometers of sundrenched  coastline like a dance that draws you in, quick to discover the next intoxicating variation. I think of all this at 3am, my body tingly with liquor as, above the throbbing bass of the music, Abdul juggles poly-rhythms on the djembe.

 
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Mozambique: Tofo

UNDERWATER

"THE WHALE SHARK AT THE END OF THE WORLD"

IT is rounding into hour two and I am beginning to feel a little like Captain Ahab.

"Look for the dark shape beneath the surface," our guide, Charlie, a diminutive Irish lass, shouts over the roar of the twin 85hp outboard engines. Squinting and sweating in the hot midday light, we peer like sun-blind mariners into the deep, and though the sea here is lovely -- now cobalt, now turquoise -- we have spotted nothing that looks even remotely like our quarry.

 
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mALAWI: CAPE MACLEAR

underwater

"SPELLBOUND IN THE DEPTHS OF LAKE MALAWI"

I FLOAT silently in clear, deep water among the huge grey rocks at Otter Point on the southern edge of Lake Malawi in the diminutive African nation of that name. I am nearly motionless, my heartbeat becoming slower and slower.

 
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Mozambique: ilha de mozambique

travel

"On an island forgotten by history, the melange of mozambique"

I’m on an overcrowded, stripped down minibus heading to Ilha de Mozambique – the tiny island in the country’s north that gave this sprawling African nation its name — when I get my first small taste of the country’s unique flavor. Crammed into the tiny space, which is ripe with tropical heat and the heavy odor of sweating human bodies, are a dozen or more women, clad in identical church black, in identical orange headscarves; and as we roll down the long two-lane highway towards the coast, they begin to fill the coach with singing.

 
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South Africa: Coffee bay

travel

"surfing coffee bay"

They call this place the Wild Coast and it's wild in more ways than one. As I balance atop my board, waiting for the swell, the morning sun flashes like sparks on the surface of the ocean and I can see cows lounging on the deserted beach of Coffee Bay.