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African Safari – Ernest Hemingway’s Experiences

Undoubtedly, we would have all come across the life and the work of the famous writer Ernest Hemingway. Certainly, nobody could make a connection between Hemingway and a hunting expedition in the wilderness. All those who read his books will be more familiar with his swashbuckling stories on bull fighting, hard living and drinking. He was an ardent sportsman who even wrote the famous book ‘The sun also rises’ about the annual bull running in Spain. What you may not be aware of is that Ernest Hemingway twice traveled to Africa in his life and even wrote many novels and short stories on his experience. The credit of the inclusion of the Swahili word ‘Safari’ in the English vocabulary also goes to him. Although not a very good hunter, he loved the experience so much that he was propelled to understand better the Kenyan people’s lifestyle, something that was never done during him time.

He made is first visit to Africa in the year 1933 along with Pauline, his second wife. They visited Tanzania and Kenya together. During this trip, before he even went out for a hunt, he became sick due to dysentery. For many weeks, he was lying in Nairobi, in a hospital where he met many adventure seeking European and American men. He returned home to write the book, The Green Hills Of Africa, which did not sell well. This depressed him but his other two short stories The Snows of Kilimanjaro and The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, proceeded to become classics.

Hemingway made his second trip to Africa in 1954 with Mary, his fourth wife. By this point of time, he had become addicted to alcohol and was drinking far more than he should, but his love for the area beckoned him. This period was a dangerous period as there were rebellions against the British colonists in these areas. But these were not the dangers that Hemingway had to face. They suffered two almost fatal plane crashes that plagued him for the remainder of his life. True at First Light was written by him on his returned, and though written as a fiction, is considered to be autobiographical. It is a story about his second trip and his relationship with an African girl.

There are a number of companies seeking to emulate the safaris. There are quite a few packages available for Kenyan tours, for taking pictures and enjoying the wildlife. These modern tours usually involve good high quality lodges as opposed to the traditional camping experience. Although it is expensive, these modern safaris boast of fine lodges as well as private guides for tourists who wish to experience the Dark Continent. There is also the availability of private itinerary and trial guides and cars. Although connected to the beautiful African landscape, only controlled environments are offered, mostly consisting of national parks and preserves. Touring the continent brings to memory Hemingway’s famous books. There is a company that offers a three thousand dollar tour of Kilimanjaro for fourteen days. There are also offers to visit Uganda to see the gorillas.

One cannot help but recall the things Hemingway has written about Africa and the African life, and it would be a good bet to read some of his work before embarking on a tri p of your own.

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