Travel Quote Tuesday | A Song of Africa

“If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back, of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me? Will the air over the plain quiver with a color that I have had on, or the children invent a game in which my name is, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?” Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen)

There is something very special about being in the wilderness of Africa (by which I mean one of the many national parks, game reserves and other natural spaces across this huge continent). I feel a sense of deep, deep relaxation alongside the thrill of observing wildlife in its natural habitat, and enjoying the beauty of the landscapes. I have found that in other similarly wild places around the world, but the African wilderness is somehow nourishing to the soul.

Karen Blixen (who wrote under the pen name of Isak Dinesen) has captured that essence so simply here… the first half of her quote really resonates with me, talking as it does to the internal song, the soaring notes that are felt rather than heard. The rest of the passage is perhaps more pertinent to Blixen’s colonial experience, and that is not something I can readily romanticise, given the disenfranchisement of native populations and the plundering of their countries’ resources.

But this image of an African plain, giraffe’s loping along, the new moon above… it’s compelling!

I took this on one of our many safaris, in Kenya’s Masai Mara… with its wide open grasslands studded with umbrella-shaped Acacia thorn trees, and the silhouettes of a herd of giraffes loping along in line at the horizon…

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10 Comments to "Travel Quote Tuesday | A Song of Africa"

  1. Marvi

    I’ve never been to Africa but I’d really love to visit especially the national parks and game reserves. Your description of it sounds pretty intriguing. I, too, would love to see the landscapes and witness the wildlife roam in their natural habitat.

  2. Chris Bloomfield

    I agree that observing wildlife in its natural habitat is relaxing. The picture you took fits the quote perfectly. We haven’t gotten to visit Africa yet, but your quote makes me long to see the moon shining down on the open grasslands.

  3. Meg Jerrard

    I have been to Africa twice, and I agree there is something wild and untamed that makes its so special. I have a copy of Dinesen’s book Out of Africa on book shelf, one of my favorites.

  4. Siddhartha Joshi

    I adore Africa too, and often feel it’s not explored by travellers enough…especially here in India. Love the thought behind ‘Song of Africa’…and also how Karen talks about Africa making of song of her…

  5. Samantha Sparrow

    I love the words of this song! I’d never heard it before and indeed I’ve never been to Africa either but the words are so evocative that I can feel like I’m there. That deep sense of relaxation you talk about from being in the wilderness is something I very much want to experience myself.

  6. Catherine Salvador Mendoza

    Haven’t heard this song but ever since I was a kid, Africa has been my dream. My partner had visited and explored this place for a month last year and I almost died in jealousy! Good thing he sent me tons of amazing photos of the wilds, the beautiful giraffes, lions and more creatures! Everyone must see the wilderness in Africa!

  7. Suruchi

    Africa is on our to visit list. We have heard a lot about it’s natural beauty and the wildlife. I liked that Africa song and you need to feel it than to hear it. Your picture is amazing as always.

  8. Ami Bhat

    I haven’t heard of this song but am quite intrigued now. I am yet to visit Africa and Tanzania and Kenya are on top of my list as far as the Wildlife parks are concerned. I have heard so much and seen so many pics of it. Hoping to be able to do this in 2018. Wish me luck.

  9. Jitaditya

    It is indeed a very evocative quote. Never visited it but have read numerous books, and seen numerous films set in various parts of Africa. It is such a land that always returns hundreds of stories.


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