Ernest Hemingway once wrote: “I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up that I was not happy”. This is certainly true of my experience on the world’s second largest continent, although I suspect if Hemingway came back he would scarcely recognise the new Africa. These past 50 years Africa has changed dramatically and access to an even more immense array of cultures and experiences that Africa has opened up. A new Africa has opened up for every kind of traveller. When people think of Africa they often think of the old Africa Hemingway used write about. They think of vast savannah plains, they think of Africa’s incomparable wildlife, gorgeous sunsets behind acacia trees, and colonial lodges on the banks of the Zambezi. They are not wrong to think this; whilst urbanization is becoming ever more prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa, the vast majority of Africa is total wilderness. It was once described as: “miles and miles of bloody Africa”. The bush can be a hot, dusty and unforgiving place; which makes it one of the best and most exciting places for the adventurous soul. Last month African Impact volunteers on the Thanda Conservation and Photography Projects in South Africa spent over 90 hours tracking Africa’s most endangered animals last month, over 24 hours tracking and darting lions and several hours looking after rhinos. Whilst glamorous in ways, the volunteers had to put up with several hardships along the way including vehicle problems and standing elbow deep in buffalo dung (which is apparently very good for your skin). However, without complications such as these, the experience would be incomplete, often the things that are difficult ultimately prove to be the most worthwhile. Hemingway would be proud. There is, however, more to Africa than just bush. It has become normal to think of Africa as a country and not a continent. Whilst this may be convenient it is not the case. Sub-Saharan Africa is moving more and more towards urbanization, a new Africa has emerged and this presents a totally different set of problems, as well as opportunities. African cities have grown at such a rate that many people are left without basic services, like education. Last year African Impact Volunteers spent over 10,000 hours working with pre-school children, in Cape Town and over 12,000 hours working in schools in Livingstone. Apart from the almost indescribable benefit that these projects have on local communities, volunteers also had the benefit of exploring some of Africa’s finest and most beautiful cities in comfort not akin with the challenges of working in the bush. Africa is unique in its ability to shatter preconceptions one day only to reaffirm them the next. It is still possible to trek through the bush and have adventures that Hemingway himself would be proud of. It is also important to realise that a new modern Africa has emerged and experiencing African cities is every bit as valid as spending time in the bush when visiting this diverse continent. The difference between the new and old Africa means that there is something for every kind of person to be found in Africa. African Impact has loads of programmes that will help you experience the Africa that is right for you check out our programmes.