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I can remember I had a dream when I was still a child, about lions chilling underneath an umbrella thorn in the middle of a dry, sunny Savanna. That image never left my mind and something triggered me. I had to go there one day is what I felt.

When I got the chance to do an internship with my study Biology somewhere around the world, I had no doubts. I found African Dream in a folder at school and could not believe it; being in the bush, doing amazing research and also ride horses?! Wow… like it was made for me. I talked to some students that had been there and they all said the same: “amazing!” So there I went, for a 3.5 month internship.

I can remember that we flew over the landscape of Limpopo and that we saw a giraffe walking by. I was so impressed by the view! I was fetched us from the airport and was taken ‘home’, to bushcamp. It was such a relaxed place, it immediately felt good and comfortable from the second I arrived. From that day on, three months full of special experiences followed. It was the time of my life. The nature, animals, mentality and the people, I was so impressed by everything. We slept in the bush, had a lot of braais and good parties, saw the most amazing animals, got to pet a cheetah, flew in a helicopter over the beautiful landscape and so much more… It felt like home and when I had to go back I was very sad. Some people that have been to Africa before could share the feeling with me; I came home but I kept on feeling home sick. I thought “what is happening to me?? I am home now!” I felt like I had to go back and was aiming for in two years… but things went a little different in my life so I returned within a year already. And now I will go back again within a few weeks… something keeps on pulling me that way. I love the sounds of the bush, the birds, elephants pushing over trees, hyenas at night… The cantering through the bush, avoiding trees with the wind through my hair… The talks with awesome people from all over the world. And especially, the power the Thomsons show. They are amazingly strong and friendly people and their positive energy has a big influence on people. Since I have met them and their beautiful country, something has definitely changed in me. At that place I can be my complete self and I know I will always keep on trying to go back ‘home’.

There is no place like Africa!

Written by Annelieke Schoonderwoerd (Netherlands)