Bushtracks is pleased to announce that Pulitzer-prize-winning author Jared Diamond will be joining Bushtracks President David Tett on the 2016 Jerusalem to Cape Town by Private Jet expedition, September 1-21, 2016. Here, Professor Diamond shares his thoughts on the expedition.
The unique Bushtracks Africa by Private Jet program encompasses six UNESCO World Heritage Sites, plus Africa's greatest wildlife reserves, the Okavango Delta, the Masai Mara, and the Virunga Mountains. Professor Diamond's impressive command of subjects ranging from geography, history, physiology and conservation biology will inform the group's travels, and help extract a collective understanding of Africa and the unfolding story of our world.Africa is a continent of paradoxes: the continent inhabited for the longest time by humans; the continent on which ancestral primitive humans, our own species homo sapiens, and modern humans all evolved; the continent most centered on the tropics, and with the shortest extensions north and south towards the poles; and, today, the continent with the poorest human societies.
I’ve visited Africa frequently, as a scientist, and as a tourist with my wife Marie. Of course there are six other continents, each of them unique, but --- Africa’s pull is especially irresistible. Marie and I are chronically receptive to opportunities to re-visit Africa.
This expedition by private jet is an opportunity to help us understand Africa’s paradoxes. Just look at a map of Africa, and you’ll appreciate the basic fact of African geography. Africa is like a sandwich centered on the equator, with two thin slices of bread separating a thick tropical core. No other continent has that shape. The slices of bread correspond to the Mediterranean zones of the Mediterranean itself in the north and of southern Africa in the south. All African countries are poor by world standards, but the countries of the two Mediterranean zones are more affluent than the countries of the tropical core.
By flying the length of Africa and visiting eight sites spread along Africa’s long north/south axis, we’ll experience the greatest variety of African peoples and landscapes in our available time.
To understand Africa requires drawing on many themes – themes of archaeology, languages, genes, history, animals, plants, and other themes. In my books I’ve tried to weave those themes together in order to understand Africa’s paradoxes. In this trip perpendicularly through the sandwich, we’ll be able to see how those themes have made Ethiopia different from Israel, Cape Town different from Kenya, and Botswana different from Rwanda and Zimbabwe. As we travel, I’ll lecture on all of those themes. You and I will be exploring and trying to understand the fascination of the African sandwich together. This will be the trip of a lifetime.