Adventures in Gratitude in Southern Africa

We are so excited to have a guest post from our friends at Generations of Adventure. They are a mother-daughter traveling duo, like us, just different generations than our family. We love following their adventures as they inspire our future bucket list. Most importantly, their motivation and appreciation of travel is similar to ours. I hope you enjoy their story on Southern Africa as much as we did.

Adventures in Gratitude in Southern Africa -- Family in Johannesburg
A family on their way to get water from the well in Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa. Photo: Generations of Adventure

Travel to Be Grateful and Reset

Travel for me is like pressing the reset button. Going off the grid. Putting the iPhone down. Seeing new and incredible things. Meeting people who have far less than you, yet are happier and more grateful is an essential part of my existence. Going to the heart of Africa is one way to ensure you won’t be tempted to spend your entire trip on Wi-Fi, because there isn’t any!

Adventures in Gratitude - Southern Africa - Botswana - Lions
Standing guard over his cubs in Chobe National Park, Botswana. Photo: Generations of Adventure

Though this is my third trip to Southern Africa, second on safari, it changes me each time. Teaches me lessons that could never be learned inside my day-to-day bubble.

Southern Africa: Hardship or Gratitude?

Warning: Trips like this are hard!

Adventures in Gratitude - Southern Africa - Chobe - Botswana - Elephants
Gentle giant in Chobe National Park, Botswana. Photo: Generations of Adventure

You’re filthy all the time, and cannot get clean. As a mountain girl this bothered me far less than it might bother those of you who are not used to having dirt in places it doesn’t belong. I’m fairly sure the amount of deet you have to use to fend off bugs is at least somewhat toxic. The drugs you take to prevent malaria are about as pleasant as my sheer terror and panic to discover that the roof did not connect to the walls in our little “be one with nature” huts in Hwange, Zimbabwe. This resulted in regular visits from the biggest arachnids we have ever seen. (I mean it this time dad.) The good news is that I take my “spider slayer” with me everywhere. She has a long history of saving my life from spiders all over the world. She is my incredible and adventurous mother.

Just Imagine Gratitude

Let me turn this ship around. Imagine children ages three and up walking six to seven miles to go to school each day. Just because they are desperate to learn.

Adventure in Gratitude - Southern Africa - Chobe Guide
Wago, our amazing guide at Chobe Elephant Camp. Chobe National Park, Botswana. Photo: Generations of Adventure

Imagine seven to eight people. Families living in tiny shacks made of corrugated tin and cardboard in a shantytown in Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa. The shacks are numbered, illustrating just how far they are down the list for better housing. With apartheid still in their rear view mirror, their focus is working hard each day to meet basic needs like clean water and food. And they shared with us that their ultimate goal is to educate their children.

Imagine our guide for our safari being away from his wife and soon to be five children for months on end so he can provide for them. But being endlessly grateful that he is able to go to town (Kasane, Botswana) a couple of times a week to hear their voices on the phone.

Adventures in Gratitude - Botswana Classroom
We were pleasantly surprised that this classroom we visited does not look all that different from those in the states. Kasane, Botswana. Photo: Generations of Adventure

The Circle of Life in Southern Africa

On top of all of that, there is an indescribable feeling associated with being mere feet away from the truly wild animal kingdom that can only be expressed by singing “The Circle of Life” at full volume. Watching lions dominate the food chain, elephants care for their young, and zebras trot gracefully across the savannah is incomparable.

Adventures in Gratitude in Southern Africa - Botswana - Zebra
A young zebra on his way to find his mother in Chobe National Park, Botswana. Photo: Generations of Adventure

I leave filled with gratitude that there is digital photography. And I don’t have to spend an entire paycheck developing the 2500 pictures I took in an attempt to capture some of these moments. So we can relive them over and over when regular life seems overwhelming.

What I’m trying to say is… Go somewhere that challenges you and soak in the silence, the gratitude of those around you. We highly recommend Botswana. Note: This is not a sponsored ad. Let their spirit and hope and positivity change you. Bring it back home with you. Then apply it to your daily life. Don’t just be thankful at Thanksgiving. Think of these inspiring people. Be grateful each day.

Article and photos courtesy of Generations of Adventure.  They can be reached at

Travel allows one to see new and incredible things. Meet people who have far less than you, yet are happier and more grateful. This was most certainly the case in Southern Africa. #Botswana #Gratitude #Africa

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