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Call of the Wild

Call of the Wild

For a bored schoolboy, a random discovery in the dusty library fuelled a lifelong dream of an African safari.

I still remember the moment. I was in the ninth grade and was restlessly browsing the school library, fingers trailing along the spines of the books when they came to a stop at the festive name of the author. Karen Blixen. What a great name, I thought. My eyes flicked to the title. ‘Out of Africa’. The back jacket said these were the memoirs of a Danish baroness of her life in Africa in the early 20th century. I pulled the volume off the dusty shelf, opened it to the first page, and read the first line.

“I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills.”

Just one sentence, and I was instantly hooked. For two delirious days, I was completely immersed in this strange, mesmeric world called Africa, the slow-turning pages cascading names through my imagination - old Nairobi that you rode into on a cart and mules, the noble Masai and the Kikuyu wrapped in fur coats striding silently through the great plains and the Rift Valley, the volcanos of Suswa and Longonot…

And overlaying it all, the safaris which Blixen dreamt about on her farm. Remembering, many years later, vast herds of elephants and giraffes slowly advancing against the morning mist under a copper sky; lions, before sunrise, below a waning moon, crossing grey plains, drawing a dark wake in the silvery grass; chasing antelopes and watching monkeys swish through the high topped trees, disappearing into the forest reserves like a shoal of fish in the waves.

I closed the book with an exhale. “Africa,” I told my parents. “I want to go on a safari in Africa!”

“When you’re older,” my mother said, her mind distracted by the little crescent jiaozi she was patiently folding for dinner. Later that night, I overheard her tell my father, “Africa! Where does that boy get these wild ideas from?”

Well, I got older and, for all sorts of reasons, I never made it to Africa and its mythic safaris.

Not yet.

For hope springs eternal. Even now, when I least expect to, I find myself dreaming of ebony forests and rainbows over a green sun-lit land. Of river lagoons teeming with flamingos and cape buffalos. Long evenings perfumed by African jasmine. Drifting through lakes heavy with water lilies. Exploring riverine forests, floodplains and grasslands. Watching sunsets over Mount Kenya and Mount Kilimanjaro. Of falling asleep on radiant, still nights, serenaded by the soft trills of bell frogs.

And sometimes I wonder, do other people also dream of a place called Africa? I’d very much like to think I’m not the only one.


Are you looking to embark on your very own journey to Africa? Find out more here.

We look forward to journeying with you.

Daven Wu is a freelance journalist based in London and Singapore. He is the Singapore Editor at Wallpaper*, and also edits the Louis Vuitton City Guide Singapore.

Daven Wu is a freelance journalist based in London and Singapore. He is the Singapore Editor at Wallpaper*, and also edits the Louis Vuitton City Guide Singapore.

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