Safari – a brief chronicle of adventure

The word SAFARI conjures up images of adventure, wildlife, wide open spaces, travel, exploration and excitement. And we at ATG are not only bitten by this bug, but we firmly believe in converting these images into experiences on your travels to Africa. But what is the origin of the word, and when was it first used?

Safari is actually an Arabic word meaning “to travel on foot,” and was introduced into the English language by the Elizabethan explorer Sir Richard Burton in the 1850’s. Burton, an expert linguist, used the word to describe his epic expeditions into central Africa at the time, in search of the source of the Nile River. These expeditions lasted for years, and characterised by massive caravans of porters carrying supplies, all conducted on foot. It wasn’t long before the term stuck and became deeply ingrained in East Africa, slowly migrating south as the travel culture developed.

The concept exploded with the onset of big game hunting in east Africa in the early 1900’s. And as photographic journeys became more popular, developing into our industry as we know it today, the concept stuck like glue. The word safari epitomised ultimate adventurous African travel.

The safaris on our ATG menu, although not quite on the extreme scale of those in Burton’s era, are still characterised by these ingredients and offer all the romance of those heady days. After all, what would travel be without pushing the adventure boundary?


Please view our suggested African Safaris for 10 Southern & East African countries, or read further articles on African Safaris & Conservation

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