Edition 59 (Summer 2012)
The higher I climbed up the lofty, narrow confines of the Grand Gallery, the thicker the air became. By the time I reached the top – the point at which I had to get down on all fours to crawl into the dark confines of the King’s Chamber – the atmosphere was stifling. Soaked in sweat and somewhat proud of overcoming minor claustrophobia, I quickly noticed just who had been nipping at my heels on the way in. Standing in the corner, patting his brow with a white handkerchief, was a sweet-looking octogenarian in a lovely grey linen suit. Although we were separated by several decades in age (not to mention our choice of attire), it was obvious we had one thing in common – we were equally mesmerised by the elaborate inner workings of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Age is certainly no barrier to enjoying much of what Africa has to offer, whether you are thirty-eight or eighty-eight (or eight for that matter!). This is borne out in Sue Watt’s story ‘Like mother, like daughter’ (page 64), which documents her trip to South Luangwa National Park with her 74-four-year-old mum. It also goes to show it is never too late to make your first trip to the continent. Although confident before the trip, Sue was surprised by how much her mum embraced the wilderness, the wildlife and the culture. And Sue certainly never dreamed she’d see her zooming overhead on a low-level microlight flight over the Luangwa River.
Anthony Ham’s feature ‘Rift rendezvous’ (page 74) also proves that you don’t necessarily need to be in great shape to experience stunning East African mountain highs. Strenuous multi-day expeditions, like those required for summiting Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya and the Rwenzoris, are simply not needed for the Rift Valley’s Mount Longonot – pack a picnic and enjoy your day strolling along its scenic crater rim.
On the other hand, for those of you interested in testing your physical mettal we called on Dale Morris to write about an exciting mountain bike circuit in South Africa. While researching ‘Bicycling the Baviaanskloof’ (page 54) he pedalled some 350km through dramatic passes, valleys and gorges, and even crossed paths with some black rhinos. Some of you with a hint of doubt will be happy to hear that there is help on the steep sections if needed (Dale certainly was grateful for it!).
Africa has something to offer every traveller, and we will continue to publish stories that reflect the continent’s diversity of destinations, cultures and activities. In doing so, we hope to inspire those who’ve never travelled to Africa before, as well as those looking for another compelling reason to return.