The Real Africa, #TheAfricaTheMediaNeverShowsYou

Travel teaches. You learn on the road through your experience, especially when you keep the right mindset. Travel shows you the different side of a place you thought you knew. And travel to Africa really opened my eyes to the continent.

the passing view of vineyards and snow capped mountains in Africa

Now, the hashtag #TheAfricaTheMediaNeverShowsYou is trending on Twitter for good reason. The view of Africa is often not a positive view and its often focused on the wrong things. The hashtag was formed to show the world that this is not what Africa is all about, there is so much beauty that is overlooked by the media. I couldn’t agree more to share some stories and the hashtag.

Together, I joined up with several travel bloggers who all love about the continent to share a story you may not know about Africa. There are plenty of common misconceptions about Africa portrayed in the media, but here is a different view. Maybe something you read below will change your perspective on Africa.

The Oysters of Walvis Bay, Namibia
Craig of Stay Adventurous

I don’t know one person who traveled to Africa and didn’t come back different. For most it becomes the trip of a lifetime. Today, they don’t speak of Africa in only hardships and poverty, but describe its raw beauty and tell of its energy and what amazed them. Their stories seem endless.

For me, much of my one five week adventure to Africa is documented on my travel blog through Africa series. Yes, I showcase sunsets, sand dunes and safari (all expected), but I show more and things I didn’t expect. Things I certainly don’t hear people who haven’t traveled to Africa and or the media discussing today.

Many of such memories happened in Namibia. One morning a few of us set out to explore Walvis Bay, along Namibia’s Atlantic coastline. Watching seals, dolphins, and taking a look at a shipwreck were part of the itinerary, but so was tasting the local oysters. Delicious. Fresh. Oysters.

I never thought I’d be on a boat in a bay in Africa eating oysters one day. Well, is that something you see in today’s coverage of Africa?

Oysters from Walvis Bay, Namibia. Fresh and Delicious

Francesca from The Working Mom’s Travels
Christmas Eve in Moshi, Tanzania

I traveled to Africa by myself at age 31 to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro and go on a Serengeti safari. I was nervous for a few reasons, mainly because I was traveling alone and it was AFRICA.  It’s so far and so mysterious and only bad things happen there. At least that’s what I was led to believe by those in my life who thought my traveling there was a bad idea. Little did they know, it was just the motivation I needed to go through with the trip, to prove that Africa is not as awful as mainstream media portray it.

I arrived in a village outside of Moshi, Tanzania, on Christmas Eve, and was to spend the holiday with a local family, along with a group of my American friends (we all traveled there separately). I arrived to a festive scene and happy, laughing kids everywhere. Everyone, including the children, was dressed in their Sunday best: men and boys in suits and dress shoes; women and girls in fancy dresses and extravagant hats. After they returned from Christmas Eve mass, the father and head of the family began cooking up an enormous feast. For a family that seemingly did not have much, they wanted to make sure they shared everything with us. We ate, we danced, and we sang, and it stands as one of the happiest Christmas celebrations I’ve ever been a part of. This family was grateful for what they had and was able to share, and they were joyous. That’s an aspect of Africa we don’t see much of in the media.


Raul of I Live to Travel
Building a Foundation through Fried Fish in Tanzania

The news outlets, unfortunately, tend to focus on the sensational, on the negative. Sub-Saharan Africa is mostly portrayed in an unflattering light unless there is a story about safaris perhaps.  Wars, AIDS, etc. always get top billing.  But there is much more to Africa than the media would have you see.  And most of it is actually quite positive.  During my work at CARE, I got to visit its work in Tanzania.  One of my most enlightening and heart-warming experiences was outside of the town of Mwanza.  There I was taken to visit a woman who had been shown how to earn a better livelihood by selling fried fish along a road many went on (mostly on foot or bikes) to get to a market miles away.  She and her family lived in a mud brick house with a thatch roof; anytime massive rains came, they risked the house flooding – or worse, washing away as many do.  With her increased earnings, she was able to start building a home raised from the ground made with real bricks – providing a safe home for her family.  That is the Africa I met the first time I went to Tanzania.  Go beyond the sellers of “news” and meet the real people of Africa, living their lives with hope and hard work!

Tanzinia Lady in small business

Gerard & Kieu of GQ trippin
Meeting and Greeting the Kids of Kenya

Kenya has made its way into the media more recently for terrorist attacks which, unfortunately, has negatively impacted its tourism, but we didn’t let this deter us from coming here on our honeymoon. During our time in the small town of Nakuru, we visited the East African Mission Orphanage and was immediately rushed by excited kids eager to meet us. Apparently, they don’t get visitors often, maybe once a month at times longer during the slow seasons. Here, the children learn to grow their own vegetables spend a good amount of their day in class getting a proper education. It brought a smile to our faces to learn most aspire to attend a university and finish school to pursue careers like becoming a teacher or an engineer. Here at EAMO, we weren’t pushed to give a donation, a surprisingly different experience than we’d thought. Instead, we truly felt it was our presence that was most welcomed and wanted… and our gadgets — the kids couldn’t get enough playing with our cameras & phones, they asked to see pictures of our home or of really anything that was beyond the gated community they call home. It both warmed and broke our hearts, not going to lie. There are good things happening here, we wish more people knew about it.

Kids of Kenya

Erin of The World Wanderer
I Left My Heart in the Okavango Delta

No matter what stories I heard in the news, Africa was always a place I knew I would visit. The cultures, diversity, food, people, and wildlife have interested me for years, and when I finally saw the opportunity to travel to the continent in 2012, I took it. As soon as I arrived, I realized how wrong the media was. Every continent and country has their fair share of bad news, but as I have found by traveling, there is always more good than bad; Africa is no different.

When I think of Africa, I think of it as a place full of warm, welcoming smiles and unspoiled, natural beauty. For three weeks, I traveled throughout Southern Africa, not enough time to truly know it or understand the way it works, but it was enough time for me to fall in love. Botswana, in particular, took an immediate hold on my heart; I felt connected to the vast landscapes and kind people. During a few days in the Okavango Delta, we spent time with the locals who we bonded with, especially over the campfire. We shared songs and dances, one of the girls and I made everyone s’mores, and we laughed and joked until the early hours. It was one of those moments, I will never forget. My time in Africa was full of small moments like this, moments that I wish people knew about because if they did, they’d truly understand what the continent is all about


If  you’ve been to Africa, you know. You know its beauty, its vastness, and its promise. And if you know  we ask that you join us in spreading the good. Create your own post, share photos on Twitter and Instagram, and shed some positive light on this beautiful place.  If you don’t know, still share and also read others as they post across social media with the hashtag. Let’s show the world what Africa is really all about, let’s show them #TheAfricaTheMediaNeverShowsYou

Stay Adventurous in Africa, Craig

For more of my stories on Africa, please check out the two destination series on Africa and the one on Namibia too.


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  • The World Wanderer

    Creating this only fueled my desire to get back there asap. Plan a trip with me??

    BTW my heart absolutely is in the Okavango Delta…

    • craig zabransky

      I have no doubts it is there Erin….and that is one of the reasons my next trip to that region in Africa must include the delta. StayLovingAfrica, Craig

  • Raul (@ilivetotravel)

    Namibia is on my list… someday… And that plate just made that “hunger” a little bigger! Thanks for sharing the photo and your viewpoint.

    • craig zabransky

      Thank you Raul, Happy to work together on this…. there is so much to see and do in Africa, many people just have no idea… Stay Sharing the Story of Africa, Craig

  • Francesca

    I think it’s only right that we all plan a trip to Africa together. So much love for the continent and for all of you guys. #stayloving

    • craig zabransky

      Absolutely, #StayLoving, this is a good idea… Africa together, what an adventure, I LOVE it. Stay Loving Africa, Craig