African Adventures: The Greatest Safari on Earth by Assouline, photographed by the inimitable Aline Coquelle, is here! That Assouline chose to create their first-ever safari book with ROAR AFRICA on The Greatest Safari on Earth is an enormous honor and something for which I feel immense pride and gratitude.
I travel for life and livelihood. It’s my passion; my raison d’être.
It’s also a privilege, and when I am not in Africa, I don’t simply miss the cradle of Africa; I miss myself. I miss the being that I am when I am in Africa. I instinctively know that I need the medicine of the wild, where the sounds, the smells, the vastness, the stillness, and the magnificence of its people grip my soul. Perhaps that’s how all of my team feels and why we work with such urgency to share the Africa we know and love in a very singular way. This particular journey, The Greatest Safari on Earth, is a representation of our creativity and passion and also a desperate call to wake up to what is at stake – losing wilderness and with it, something of ourselves. In the words of Nelson Mandela, “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”
I was fortunate to meet Parisian photographer and long-time Assouline collaborator Aline Coquelle in South Africa when she shot our first Women’s Empowerment trip in 2019. This introduction was a serendipitous gift I could never have fully comprehended at the time. Heritage, passion, personal craftsmanship, and innovation are traits Assouline and ROAR AFRICA share. Indeed, travel and design are powerful mediums that connect not only with a love for the outer aesthetic, but also evoke strong inner emotions. Both involve embracing a vision and thriving on the risk of uncertainty – characteristics I certainly embodied with both excitement and some trepidation when designing The Greatest Safari on Earth.
For me and Aline, a communion of visions evolved between our Women’s Empowerment journey and the Greatest Safari on Earth. We shared the dream of creating a book on Africa that truly gripped the soul, unlike anything anyone had ever seen. And, as Aline so aptly said to me, “Assouline is different. It’s a vision that includes a worldview that transcends the frontier between nature, fashion and a lifestyle, offering a new perspective.” I sensed Aline had the distinct sensitivity of spirit and deep instinct to capture those moments out in the wild, to lean in and feel the people, to get under their skin with her lens and translate the enormous beauty of Africa for the world to see.
Henry David Thoreau wrote: “In wildness is the preservation of the world. The communion that comes through these experiences of the wild, where we sense something present and daunting, stunning in its beauty, is beyond comprehension in its reality, but it points to the holy, the sacred.”
In this book, Aline likewise “points to the holy”. Every safari has a sacred moment where the world stands still. For Aline, the moment was getting up close to a gorilla nestled deep in the misty rainforest of Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park: “I found more humanity in the eyes of the gorillas than in humans. It was a magical encounter. I am so much more powerful and at peace because of it. That moment changed my life, my body and my mind.”
In an increasingly digital world, tangible treasures and transformative experiences mark the new frontier of luxury. How, where and with whom we share these matters. The visual dreamscape of The Greatest Safari on Earth unfolds across each page of this spectacular book, alongside the stories of groundbreaking artists, musicians, sommeliers, designers and conservationists who are blazing a trail in the lands of their births.
We introduce my close friends to Coquelle’s discerning lens – safari guide Ike Mogalakwe, sommelier Joseph Dhafana, percussionist Kasiva Mutua, conservationist Prosper Uwingeli, tracker Jolie Mukiza, architect Anton de Kock and memoirist Alexandra Fuller; designers Katungulu Mwendwa, Randy Gowon, Iona McCreath, Cedric Mizero and Moses Turahirwa and artists Cyrus Kabiru, Winnie Kalisa and Moffat Takadiwa. Every word and image is a homage to the creativity, optimism, out-of-this-world adventure, spectacular beauty and hope of my home.
To see my team’s hard work and so many familiar faces immortalized forever inside African Adventures: The Greatest Safari on Earth is profoundly moving. It takes a village to do what we do; this book was no exception. The process was a genuine and heartfelt collaboration to go deeper, dream bigger, and stretch further than ever before. I could not be more grateful to Aline and Assouline for this gift to Africa and the world.
I hope that the voices, stories, and beauty chronicled in African Adventures: The Greatest Safari on Earth will inspire a new generation of Afrophiles to love, cherish and protect the continent’s unique cultures, landscapes, wildlife, and artistic heritage, and to come to know better the people of Africa, whose graciousness, knowledge and wisdom are my perpetual inspiration.
To learn more about The Greatest Safari on Earth, 2024 (August 10-22 and August 25 – September 6), please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We aim to minimize the environmental impact of ROAR AFRICA travel, purchasing carbon credits equivalent to our emissions, contributing to wildlife preservation, and investing in the communities that host us.