My First Taste of Africa: Landing in Zambia

Cattle in Zambia Africa

Africa.

I've always had a fascination with this content. For as long as I can remember, I would sit eagerly in front of the TV screen, flicking between the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and National Geographic for anything Africa-related.

The continent just seemed to scream my name. The wildlife, the vast untouched wilderness, the unique cultures, the rawness. Everything about it captivated me.

I had made it to 17 years of age without ever setting foot on the continent. Too long, I thought.

When the opportunity arose for me to visit a country in southern Africa called Zambia with school, I could have cried with delight. There was a catch though - as with anything in life. The trip was exclusively for Biology AS level students only.

I first learnt about the trip at a parents' evening. It was not long before I had to make my decision on which 4 subjects to take for AS level. I was going for English Literature, English Language, Psychology and had one last slot to fill. My heart was leaning towards Philosophy. That was until my Biology teacher informed me of the expedition down the Zambezi River the following year. My eyes lit up at once. It sounded perfect - an expedition into the wilds of Africa involving wild camping and safaris. I wanted to go more than anything.

Except I was shit at Biology. I was shit at Science in general.

I've always been more creative and my Philosophy teacher said I was very talented. Philosophy seemed the obvious choice. I could really excel in it and achieve 4 solid A levels.

But the trip to Zambia! If I selected Philosophy then there was no way I'd be able to embark on this trip, the only opportunity I had ever had to visit Africa. When would I get another opportunity like this?

It was a choice between good grades or a 10-day stint in Africa.

Fuck it, I thought. I want to go to Zambia and that's exactly what I'll do.

So I chose Biology. I ended up getting an E but I didn't really care because I was going to Zambia!

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