It was another exciting time on the Wonders of Africa Zoom Conference which held on Friday November 6, 2020. Featuring panelists from Kenya, Namibia and Zimbabwe, today’s episode also marked the first appearance of someone from the African Diaspora to make a presentation.
The first presentation came from Cephas Shonhiwa, CEO of Malachite Travel and Tours from Zimbabwe who took the audience on a joy ride through some exciting places such as Kariba, home to probably the largest man-made lake in the world, where one can enjoy sunset cruises on the lake, or spend days in a ‘floating hotel’ – accommodation on of the luxury houseboats.
Kariba is also home to world’s largest crocodile farm and Matsudona National Park.
Kariba actually stretches from Chinhoyi, famous for the university and the famous blue water caves to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mana Pools National Park which derives its name from the four pools along the Zambezi River – the word mana is shona for four.
Also, he spoke about the Eastern Highlands famous for the tea and coffee plantations, Mutarazi and Nyagombe Falls and the Skywalk, before taking the audience to the city of Victoria Falls with the majestic cataracts that lends its name to the destination, but known to the locals as Mosi-oa-Tunya – the Smoke that Thunders! Several interesting adventures and activities available in Victoria Falls include, bungee jump, gorge swing, whitewater rafting, etc.
Rounding off his presentation with a destination outside his domain, he settled for Murchison Falls National Park, describing the fauna and game drive, River Nile, the beautiful cascade, and the various accommodation facilities available.
Joining from Namibia, Joseph Kafunda of Rafiki Tours and Safari kicked of his presentation by talking about the second largest canyon in the world, the Fish River Canyon, which is 70% owned by the government.
With a great hiking trail, the Fish River Canyon also offers beautiful sunset view drives by the river; while there are also various accommodation options available.
Second on Kafunda’s list was the Namib, a cool coastal desert extending for 1,200 miles (1,900 km) along the Atlantic coast of Africa from Angola southward across Namibia to South Africa.
The stunning scenery where sand dunes meet the sea includes places like Sandwich Harbour, Sossusvlei and Deadvlei. There is also the Skeleton Coast, where you will finds ships wreckages.
Also, Swakopmund, the second port of entry into Namibia is between the Atlantic rollers and the Namib Desert.
Moving on to Damaraland, a breath-taking mountainous region which is home to an assortment of desert-adapted wildlife such as elephant, rhino, zebra and lion, which eke out an existence in this near-barren landscape; Kafunda rounded off his presentation with the Okavango Delta in Botswana, a wildlife paradise taking its source from the Okavango River which flows from Angola, through Namibia into Botswana.
From Kenya, Tonny Muiruri Mutungu (or TMM to his friends) of Holiday Link Africa presented a coastal, a wilderness and a city experience each from the East African country. Starting with the Massai Mara, he talked about the famous annual wildebeest migration where over half a million animals: wildebeest zebras, etc. into the Massai Mara, some giving birth along the journey.
The Massai Mara is also home to the Big 5 and a whole of other wildlife which can be spotted on game drives or balloon safari.
There are varying categories of accommodation within the expansive wilderness. It also offers culinary experience and it is less than 45mins from Nairobi by flight.
The world famous white sand beach of Diani on the southern side of Kenya’s coast was next on TMM’s list. One of the best ranking beaches in Africa, Diani is home to extravagant accommodation on the beachfront.
It offers such recreational activities such as golf and a host of water adventures, such as dolphin safari, snorkelling, and many more.
The Kenyan capital city Nairobi was the next choice.
Kicking off with the Nairobi National Park, the only protected wilderness in the world located within a capital city to the Giraffe Manor, Elephant Orphanage; Nairobi as a cosmopolitan city offers city tours, shopping opportunities and culinary tourism at the famous Canivore Restaurant where you can eat a “Beast of feast.” The city also has a vibrant nightlife.
To cap off his presentation TMM chose Egypt, taking the audience through the outstanding historical attractions like the ancient pyramids and temples, which include: Pyramid of Giza, Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, Cave Church of Zabaleen, Cairo Necropolis and many more.
He also touched on the famous traffic in Cairo, referred to as the “world of hooting cars.”
The first African in Diaspora to present on the Wonders of Africa webinar, Kumi Rauf of Traveling Black, USA told the audience that he created his company to destroy the stereotypes about the Diasporan and the African; and he realized that to be able to do that, it was necessary for both sides to meet each other.
The first destination he talked about was the West African country, Ghana. He enthused about his experience in the country, the culture, the people and the food especially. He also commented on the accommodation facilities and mentioned how many of people outside Africa were often surprised when he tags a location as Africa, because they didn’t know such facilities were available on the continent.
Moving on, he talked next about Salvador, Brazil, one of the oldest colonial cities in the Americas. Salvador is famous for its music, dance, cuisine and architecture. Rauf noted that Brazil was the last country in the western world to abolish slavery in 1888.
However, he appreciates the Black Consciousness which is celebrated every November 20, more than the Black History Month in the US.
According to him, the Black History Month celebration dwells more on the past, while the Brazilian celebration deals with present and the future affairs.
He also shows his appreciation for the culture, food, music, beaches and parades.
Belize was up next and Kumi Rauf spoke a bit about the Garifuna culture which is a mix of African, Amazonian and South American heritage.
He touched on Hopkins Village which he calls a mini-Accra; before talking about Oakland, California where he is based. Oakland, Rauf informed the audience is the home of the Black Panthers and the city is rich in black history.