Kingsley Holgate is an explorer, a real life adventurer. The original camel man without the boots, sultry looks and two-day stubble. He is more like a pudgy version, with rosy red cheeks and an impressive, bushy, white beard that makes you think I’ve just described Santa Clause. Getaway magazine named him the most traveled man in Africa. Our very own Optimus Prime fighting the good fight against Malaria, a disease that caused the death of another famous explorer, David Livingstone.
This humanitarian is about to get back in his Landrover and embark on a new quest; to find the heart of Africa. Besides the fact that he obviously hates being at home in Cape Town, I didn’t know our continent had a heart. I know we have soul, open spaces, corrupted leaders, poverty, blood diamonds, the cradle of mankind, great wine, an Oscar winner, friendly people, amazing animals and a few big cats who is chasing all of the above around the bush, hoping to make a meal of it, but a heart? Who knew?
It’s technically not a real heart for that would be silly. It actually refers to the last place on earth which sounds equally ominous. And silly. The last place on earth is the geographical point that is smack-bang! in the middle of Africa which is smack-bang! in the middle of a rain forest in the northern parts of the Congo somewhere. Where else would it be? For a man who has traced the outline of the continent and visited all of the 54 countries of the motherland, this seems like a walk in the bush. They claim it would be their toughest expedition yet. I reckon it’s for dramatic effect.
In an interview before his departure he was asked what five things every person should have on their bucket list. This was his reply.
- Stand on top of the highest free standing mountain, Kilimanjaro.
- Gaze into the soft, brown eyes of a silverback gorilla in the forests of the Congo.
- Cross the world’s largest desert, the Sahara.
- Watch the largest migration of hooved animals, a staggering 1.3 million of them, in the Serengeti.
- Experience an African sunset.
One thing became apparent when I read his recommendations on what every person should experience before they die: Some of the activities on the list can actually cause death. A convenient activity to list as your last. Imagine trying to find your little scrap of paper, once you have gazed into that soft, brown eyes of the gorilla, only to end up with a cracked skull because you lost you’re footing as you were trying to get away from the dominant male who now wants to make you his bitch. Or lying in the hot sand, exhausted and disillusioned, after you’ve drank your last can of piss, thinking how stupid it was to listen to someone like that African Santa.
Now let’s compare an extract of my bucket list:
- Take an overseas trip with my family.
- Write a novel.
- See my kids graduate.
- Visit all seven wonders of the world.
- See the Springboks win another World Cup in Rugby.
You’ll notice that some of my items are in process, some of them are very ambitious, some are extremely challenging and some of them are down right impossible. A boy can dream, can he not? The point is not to discuss the feasibility of my bucket list but merely to point out that none of my items would cause death in the process of trying to tick them off. Unless off course you consider flying to be life threatening. Once my list is completed I will most probably be alive to relish in my success, unless I die from something random like a stingray shoving his tail through my heart. Or any of the other 1000 ways to die.
Granted, I’m adding the largest migration of hooved animals to my list, for that must be awesome. In the mean time I’ll tick off number five, seeing an African sunset. As a matter of fact, I’ll tick if off tonight. And tomorrow night. And the next. And the… For one should always take notes when a wise man makes the effort to speak: Nothing beats an African sunset and a glass of Pinotage. Cheers!
If you wanted to read more on their expedition, click here.