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Journey to the heart of Africa

Kingsley Holgate Exclusive - Part 1

Over the years, Wildside magazine has followed several of Kingsley Holgate’s geographic and humanitarian journeys into Africa. This intrepid explorer – often referred to as the Greybeard of Adventure, the most travelled man in Africa – who alongside his son Ross and the Kingsley Holgate Foundation expedition team, has crisscrossed ‘Mama Afrika’, in a number of world-first expeditions. These include a challenging Cape to Cairo journey in open boats, east to west along the Zambezi and Congo rivers in the footsteps of explorers Livingstone and Stanley, and in Land Rovers tracking the outline of the continent in a single expedition through 33 countries over 449 days. They’ve journeyed to all 54 countries on the African continent including her island states, bringing humanitarian support to far-flung villages and conservation education to communities living near wildlife regions. In an epic expedition called 23° 27’, the team circumnavigated the globe by land following the Tropic of Capricorn.

The last time Wildside reported on Kingsley’s adventures, they were sailing with the trade winds in a 35tonne ancient Swahili dhow from Mozambique to Somalia and back, surviving pirate attacks and high seas in a year-long malaria prevention campaign.

We finally catch up with Kingsley again, and in the first of a three-part story, he tells us of what it was like to find the geographic ‘Heart of Africa’. It’s a story best told from his scribbled bush notes.


Friends in adventure, as you know, there’s always that familiar nervous feeling of anticipation at the beginning of each new great adventure. The challenges of visas, bucks, equipment, sorting out the expedition Landies, the list seems endless. Carnets for the vehicles; first aid, basic food supplies, reference books and maps, letters of authority, GPS, bedrolls, tents, pots and pans, the old camp kettle, a Zulu meat dish, tools high-lift jacks, binoculars, cameras, humanitarian supplies and most importantly a sense of humour, a passion for Mama Africa and that crazy ‘Zen of Travel’ that’s allowed us to adventure to every single country in Africa to include all of her island states.


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