It’s all improbable, incredible. "The Shadow of the Sun: My African Life" by

"The Shadow of the Sun: My African Life" - Ryszard Kapuściński


Everywhere you look, huge herds of zebras, antelopes, buffalo, giraffes. And all of them are grazing, frisking, frolicking, galloping. Right by the side of the road, motionless lions; a bit farther, a group of elephants, and farther still, on the horizon, a leopard running in huge bounds. It’s all improbable, incredible. As if one were witnessing the birth of the world, that precise moment when the earth and sky already exist, as do water, plants and wild animals, but not yet Adam and Eve. It is this world barely born, the world without mankind and hence also without sin, that one can imagine one is seeing here. "The Shadow of the Sun: My African Life" by

Prize winning journalist and author Ryszard Kapuscinski once remarked ‘Africa was my youth’. He covered pretty much the whole continent, reporting on revolutions and coups and history in the making in lucid, lyrical detail, summing up and pinning down political whirlwinds without ever disconnecting from the enduring spirit of the place.

This quote has always resonated with me, because Africa was my youth too, and every day spent in one of Kenya’s wild spaces made me feel exactly as he describes, filled with a strong sense that this must be where the world was created, but I was too young to express it. Despite being born there, safaris still felt like some sort of primal ‘coming home’, to where we all began. Now that I’m older, I still can’t adequately articulate that emotion. Kapuscinski, born far from Africa, distils that feeling perfectly, one experienced by so many visitors to the savannahs, surrounded by the wild and the world as it surely was at the start.


Amy Sohanpaul is the editor of Traveller magazine and also co-edits Renegade, an alternative travel magazine published by her company Fifth Floor Publishing. She grew up in Kenya, and worked in book publishing before she became a travel journalist. She lives in London but escapes now and again, for both work and pleasure.