Your Journey to Africa Begins here!
Who We Are
As a travel enthusiast and a believer of the danger of a single story, Trailblazer Travelz was founded on a fueled passion to tell authentic and extraordinary stories about the African continent as opposed to the status quo. The “single story” narrative has been told over and over again branding an entire continent into a singular narrative as a representation of a collective culture which is not only myopic but a pseudo representation of what this magnificent continent truly represents. Africa is a vast continent diverse in every way, from its people, nature, wildlife, varied cultures and traditions, to language and dialect – a diversity that you will not find anywhere else. Trailblazer Travelz is a modern lifestyle online travel and tour company specializing in Africa. Founded in New York, August 2018 with the simple desire to collate and aggregate experiences. Our founder has this burning desire to connect interesting people to interesting experiences, herself included. Our commitment is to imbue a community of travelers who see travel as an affordable lifestyle, embody the true essence of travel and are mindful of their impact. We are the pioneer travel and tour company to Africa that aligns our customer’s interests with interesting experiences that are immersive, authentic and enriching.
We believe that travel goes far beyond the traditional travel cycle and we thrive in creating interesting experiences for our customers that focus on immersive local cultural experiences such as; culinary fare, artistic expressions, hands-on workshops, storytelling at the same time collaborating with companies that share our vision. All of us have equivalents – things we care about that aren’t mentioned anywhere. And part of growing and learning to travel well means daring to take our own interests a bit more seriously, attune to the needs of our inner self, or traveling to places that would fundamentally reorient our personality. At Trailblazer Travelz, we strive to do just that.
Africa is not a Monolith - A Short Essay
One of the most daunting things one comes across oftentimes especially as an African is the constant and myopic questions you get asked about Africa. Questions such as, are there televisions in Africa or do people in Africa watch TV or have TV? Are there bookstores in Africa? How come you speak English so well? We could make a book out of these questions and statements in a listicle format for easier reading. The dominant narratives about Africa in western writings and media still carry echoes of colonialism, commonly portraying the western visitor as benevolent saviors freeing African people of their primitive ways that have left them in the dark and backward. Hence, discrediting any contributions Africans have made and continue to make in our global landscape. This inevitably feeds into the way travelers perceive the continent and the kinds of trips people choose to go on.
If we delve deeper into the history of African travel and the early explorers and travel writings about Africa the images we see are stereotypical and portray Africans as caricatures; and focuses on safari-type travels as if Africa has nothing else to offer but wildlife and its wilderness. Joseph Conrad’s “The Heart of Darkness,” captured the imagination of the western world that African people are primitive, exotic, dangerous, etc. In addition, Joyce Cary’s “Mister Johnson” also portraying the familiar narrative and treatise on the folly of teaching Africans to rise out of their primitive ways and adopt the ways of the colonizer which to them is more civilized and modern.
The ironies, stereotypical images and indignities including the racist language all jolts to white superiority. A ‘single-story’ of horror and hopelessness, wars, hunger, starvation, primitive people. The problem with the ‘single-story’ narrative is that not only is it incomplete but it is also stereotypical as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie eloquently states, in her 2009 TED TALK, “The Danger of a Single Story.” Adichie argued, “the single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete.” Another prolific writer who delved deeper into the stereotypical nature of the ‘single-story’ narrative is the great Chinua Achebe, regarded as a giant of world literature and best known as the author of the groundbreaking novel, “Things Fall Apart.” A masterful and prolific storyteller about the story of the African people.
The evolution of wildlife travel to Africa all started when members of the British upper class traveling to Africa in the late 1800s and early 1900s to seek glory and adventure. Many of the early explorers, such as Stanley, Livingstone, Burton, Speke, and others had opened the continent, and European colonization followed (Hanbury-Tenison, R. 2010. The Great Explorers. London, KK: Thames and Hudson). Many of these early tourists were seeking to replicate the experiences chronicled in the writings of the early explorers, and many were big-game hunters. The lion, Cape buffalo, elephant, giraffe and other large game animals are hunted, mainly for trophies. Big-game hunting is also a sport pursued to collect specimens for museums, recreation, and as a hobby.
Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, and former U.S. President and conservationist Theodore Roosevelt went on safari to East Africa to hunt big game from April 1909 to March 1910. The popularity of safari-type adventures during this period peaked, as a result, safari-type adventures made Africa the world’s number one destination for safaris which range from the exotic to the very simple. With the influence of the elites mentioned above including the British Loyal Family and others, a safari tour was preserved for the wealthy and well-connected, but things have now changed in the safari travel industry. This once-exclusive type of trip is now accessible to more travelers all over the world. Although Safari-type adventure continues to be the most ideal type of travel to Africa, Safari-type adventure travel is not the only travel experience to Africa. Africa is so much bigger and more than just the wildlife and its wilderness. And yes Africa is rich with wildlife but Africa is not a monolith.
So much about the African continent is made to be in oblivion or in obscurity in addition to depicting an entire continent into a singular narrative as a representation of a whole; which only proves myopic on the parts of those who view an entire continent in that lens – the second largest continent in the world for that matter. The dynamic voices of Africans – the African people are always absent in western news media’s narratives about Africa. In the rare event they do appear, they’re often presented as people without politics who exist only to welcome tourists and protect rhinos. People who are savages, primitive with no technological advancements, distilled down to the same topic: “the horrors of the hopeless continent.”
For many years Africa’s story has been told by people who only depicts an entire continent in this lens with parts only known through incomplete tropes. Africa is not just for Safari type experiences. And yes Africa is rich with wildlife, exotic animals, enchanting natural landscapes, beaming sunsets and glimmering sunrises. However, Africa is richer than just wildlife it’s natural landscape and wilderness. Hence, part of the reasons why we exist as a company is to ensure that Africa’s rich history, iconic landmarks, culture and traditions are not relegated to obscurity. Another reason why our trips are intentionally design to give an antidote to this idea of making Africa look like a monolith. Our trips are collated for our customers to experience a rich vibrant culture, reverting history, civilizations that still stood time, awe-inspiring people, exotic cuisines, music and stories that inspire, fuel imagination and shift perspective.
The Culture of Africa is varied and manifold, consisting of a mixture of countries with various tribes that each have their own unique characteristic. It is a product of the diverse populations that inhabit the continent of Africa and the African Diaspora. Culture, in a general sense, is defined as a collective mass of distinctive qualities belonging to a certain group of people. These qualities include laws, morals, beliefs, knowledge, art, customs, and any other attributes belonging to a member of that society. Africa has numerous ethnic nationalities all with varying qualities such as language, cuisine, greetings, and dances etc.
However, all African people share a series of dominant cultural traits which distinguish African Culture from the rest of the world. For example, social values, religion, morals, political values, economics and aesthetic values all contribute to African Culture. Expressions of culture are abundant within Africa, with large amounts of cultural diversity being found not only across different countries but also within each individual country.
One of the fundamental issues with the ‘single-story’ narrative is the deliberate attempt to wipe out African history and civilizations. Moreover, in order to understand Africa’s diverse people and cultures is to also understand how fundamentally connected this is to the understanding of our most fundamental knowledge about African history and civilization. African history, civilization and culture has been mistreated for far too long. Therefore, it’s paramount that Africans continue to follow in the footsteps of many great Africa writers, storytellers, literary agents and leaders such as Cheikh Anta Diop, Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Ngozi, Adichie, Wole Soyinka, Nelson Mandela, Thomas Sankara, to name a few who devoted and continue to devote their lives to tell Africa’s story and expose the deliberate schemes use to obscure it.
Every people is a treasure for humanity. The most vital societies that history has known have always been those characterized by great ethnic and cultural diversity. Africa’s greatest asset is its people who are diverse, rich with cultural heritage and varies not only from one country to another, but within each individual country itself. Therefore, any attempt to unravel the double helix or to decode the DNA of Africa’s people and Cultures will be an experiment in futility when operating from such a narrow lens in assuming that a visit to only one of the continent’s 56 countries is sufficient to describe an entire continents people into a singular narrative as a representation of a whole.
If we ponder on globalization for example and the anxiety and opportunity of social change we are all fighting for a better world a more inclusive, technically advanced world empowering youth and skilled people to better their own lives and the lives of the people who depend on them. Africa is not anchored to a static past. Rather, Africans are dynamic contributors and active participants in the global economy.
However, much of the stories about African progress is made to look like a continent who is constantly at war. But in most of the wars in Africa when we dig deeper we get to understand that most of these wars there are perpetrators and instigators who put their self-interest and the interest of their people first over the collective interests, and well-being of an entire nations people.
If anything history and stories about Africans have thought us is that these stories are often time incomplete and that the historical accounts of the events does not fully give a contextual account of an event. They are made to make one group glorious and the other weak.
The stories we tell ourselves and our children become part of our identity. The dangers with the ‘single-story’ narrative is its deliberate attempt to obscure the truth – specifically stories about Africa. African cultures and traditions are composed of many overlapping stories – stories about our individual cultural identity that shape us and mold us to have an identity and values – values that shape our moral compass. Stories are jewels in the crown of the African diaspora and we ought to preserve them and pass them down onto generations as our ancestors did.
We are driven by a fuel passion to tell authentic stories about Africa, collate interesting experiences for the culturally curious and conscious traveler while simultaneously empowering micro-entrepreneurship and impacting local communities – one trip at a time.
To imbue a community of travelers who see travel as an affordable lifestyle, embody the essence of travel and are mindful of their impact. We curate and cross-pollinate journeys by creating activities that allow for a more enriching, immersive, authentic and memorable experiences. At Trailblazer Travelz, you will immerse yourself into stories and experiences that inspire, shift perspective, fuel imagination with a sated curiosity.
When it comes to great travel experience in Africa, some people may feel intimidated and overwhelmed. With some bizarre stories about the continent, some people wonder, or can’t distinguish the truth from the bizarre, while others just settle for the “single story” narrative. Every new experience calls for an open mind and willingness to learn, which is why we are here. We pooled our resources just so you don’t have to and took all the guess-work out so you can have an unforgettable experience. We have traversed every country and decipher the puzzle for the bucket-list adventures, safaris, cuisines, cultural experiences and the ultimate travel to Africa. We have given an unbiased view to the traveler by highlighting each country’s key accomplishments, resources, history, activities, and other important stories and events to help shift perspectives and perhaps help you fall in love all over again.
Frequently Asked Questions
The beauty of travel is that it’s accessible to everyone, in some form. You don’t have to go far to experience a new culture. Depending on the season, country, length of trip and with proper planning ahead of trip date, it is not always costly as you may think. Most of our groups tend to plan for their trips at least 6-4 months ahead of time. We value flexibility, personalization and customization vs. rigidity in all our itineraries, therefore, we can accommodate any group size, budget, and destination – the choice is yours.
Trailblazer Travelz reserves the right to cancel any trips for reasons such as natural disasters, political unrest, disease outbreak or logistical problems that may impede trip operations to ensure the safety of all our customers and members. In such a case, a full refund of all payments made will be given.
Yes. For country specific Visa requirements visit our Visa Resource Page.
They’re both a boon to frequent travelers but we recommend Global Entry since we specialize on Africa only besides our stand-alone New York itinerary. Therefore, TSA PreCheck will not work when you’re going through the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) screening. Global Entry, which is operated by CBP, provides expedited reentry to the U.S. through customs in addition to TSA PreCheck privileges, however, Global Entry enrollment and approval process is different and more costly than TSA PreCheck. Global Entry, which costs only $15 more than TSA PreCheck and will likely automatically generate the latter most times you check in for a domestic flight. For more on this read our blog post; What Type of Airport Person Are You?
Payments can be made in lump-sum or installment. All installment payments and deposits are thoroughly discussed with you in an organized manner including when payments are due each month and how much.
Download the GateGuru app before your next trip: It shows maps and amenities for any terminal, so you can better plan where to eat lunch or whether you can arrive early for a quick manicure. Don’t forget to have the Zolt charger especially for long and international flights, so your phone doesn’t die before takeoff. And, of course, sign up for Global Entry.
Trailblazer Travelz is a one-stop shop to explore, discover, experience and book amazing trips from a variety of activities and with 54 countries on the continent to choose from. Airfare, accommodation and cost of tours are all factored into your trip unless otherwise indicated.
Yes. We highly recommend all our customers to buy travel insurance. The cost of your trip doesn’t include travel insurance hence you must get it on your own from our partners World Nomads or wherever you can find. Trailblazer Travelz has partnered with WorldNomads.com to keep you traveling safely. WorldNomads.com Travel Insurance is designed for independent and adventurous travelers, with coverage for overseas medical expenses, cancellation, baggage, and other expenses. Visit our Travel Insurance Page to get instant quotes.
Yes. Unless you are a frequent flier who intends to not be at the airport hours or minutes ahead of time; and see lateness as the goal of “relishing the thrill of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat” or to avoid long lines, by all means go early.
With 54 stunning countries to choose from, Africa offers many of the best destinations in the world. The diversity of the continent especially within each individual country itself is amazing to say the least. And a cluster of activities to immerse yourself into and a culture and cuisine so rich it sometimes can feel like you are experiencing multiple countries at once. We highly recommend you check out our travel preference and style guide or download the pdf version to narrow down your options. Whether you are a thrilled seeker, eagered first-timer, avid solo traveler, safari lover, a dignitary, celebrity or connoisseur, there are places in Africa that will take your breath away. Visit our blog – Africa my Muse for some inspiration for planning the perfect first-timer’s trip, or you can pore over the site for more.