Adventure Tourism in Africa - September 2011
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Africa is a vast continent of diversity and has great importance in historical, natural and geographical terms. Historically, sub-Saharan Africa is known as the birthplace of man, with the discovery of fossil evidence of human forebears, ‘Australopithecines’, who lived 4 million years ago, and the remains of the first of the ‘Homo’ genus who lived from 2 million years ago. Around 100,000 years ago, ‘Homo Sapiens’ emigrated from sub-Saharan Africa and so modern-day man began its long journey of evolution.
Subsequently, one of the greatest ancient civilisations developed in Africa, that of Ancient Egypt, in around 3,100 BC, which marked a period of sophistication and culture lasting more than 3,000 years. It has left a legacy of ancient buildings and learning, which continues to fascinate generations of visitors.
Africa’s more recent history includes a series of empires throughout time. West Africa experienced 800 years of wealthy empires, including those of Ghana and Mali, from 800 to 1591, while in the east, the coastal areas of Tanzania, Kenya and Mozambique were home to a number of well-organised city states inhabited by wealthy sultans and their people, who gave rise to the export of spices, slaves and exotic beasts to seafaring traders and merchants from China and India. Slavery was regarded as one of Africa’s biggest crises, initiated by Arab slave-traders, and embraced by European powers. Extensive colonialism and European explorers dominated the 18th and 19th centuries, followed by mass independence drives from the 1950s.
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