7 African Proverbs for the Traveller

women in Sierra Leone

Women in Sierra Leone

Tomorrow (25 May) is Africa Day – a chance to celebrate this fantastic continent. Anyone who is familiar with it will know there is lots to celebrate, not least of all the inherent wisdom of Africa. In honour of Africa Day and Africa itself, we have compiled some African proverbs which will provide invaluable wisdom to the traveller.

1) One does not cross a river without getting wet. ~ Zululand
Travel, especially travel in Africa, requires risks. If you want to gain the gifts that travel can give, you are going to have to make some sacrifices, be they financial, emotional or other. We guarantee it will be worth it though!

2) If a single hair falls from your head you are not yet bald. ~ Sierra Leone
This is about perspective and keeping it cool. Travel will throw up some unexpected hurdles – you may miss your bus, you may contract a tummy bug, innumerable things could happen that will throw you out of step but despite how you feel in the moment, it is unlikely to be the disaster you think.

African transport


3) Having a good discussion is like having riches. ~ Kenya
This proverb is never truer than when travelling. Interacting with people whose country you are visiting will not only teach you things about the country and customs, but allow you to connect with people who at face value may seem very different from you. Interacting on a person to person level is a priceless experience.

4) When the moon is not full, the stars shine more brightly. ~ Uganda
Sometimes it’s the little things which steal the show. You may visit a destination in order to see a world heritage site or some other tourist attraction, and at the end of the day the generous spirit of the people or a particular (random) event may capture your heart. Keep your mind open and don’t forget the small things when travelling!

Sunset in Botswana

Sunset in Botswana

5) Knowledge is better than riches. ~ Cameroon
In short, the experiences you have while travelling and the practical and personal things you learn will outweigh the value of any material object that money can buy.

6) To one who does not know, a small garden is a forest. ~ Ethiopia
The world is waiting to be explored. It is filled with people and experiences that will change you for the better but unless you step out of your front door, you will never know what they are, or even that they are there!

7) Proverbs are the daughters of experience. ~ Rwanda
Not travel advice per se, but a reason to heed the wisdom of Africa!

Happy Africa Day! And Happy African travelling!

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