• Jessie Lynn Photo

Africa is a Continent

Elephant rides at an elephant rehabilitation sanctuary in Victoria Falls. Photo courtesy of sanctuary staff.

Africa is a continent, not a country. Do not be mistaken when traveling, when someone mentions seeing Africa always ask where in Africa. According to the United Nations, there are 54 different countries in Africa today. Within the continent there are around 2,000 different languages spoken and seven major religions practiced.

The most popular travel destinations in Africa include South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Kenya Zambia, and Zimbabwe according to Smarter Travel. Each of these locations features breathtaking landscapes, eco-tourism, and outstanding wildlife sightings. I can attest to these features, in 2017 I traveled to Zimbabwe Africa for a month during a study abroad program.

The Zimbabwe Cultural Center of Detroit has been connecting artists in Michigan with artists in Zimbabwe since 2011 after its founders, Chido Johnson and Kumbulani Zamuchiya (Koom-boo-lan-e, Za-moo-chi-ya) collaborated on a visual arts piece in Mutare, Zimbabwe. Johnson, a College for Create Studies professor, brought the connection between Zimbabwe and Detroit to CCS and created a study abroad opportunity to connect college art students from both locations.

Students from Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) and College for Creative Studies (CCS) worked virtually during the 2017 winter semester to create project ideas. In June, the CCS students traveled to Zimbabwe to meet and complete their art collaborations which were later displayed at CUT and CCS. The program became known as the DET-ZIM Connection.

"A connection and family were made. I feel like we became one. We all created a bond for future endeavors and possibilities," said Zamuchiya, Videographer for BBC World News in Africa, on supporting the creatives in the DET-ZIM program.

Being a photographer, I used my month to travel around the country and document the progress of the artistic collaboration. Zimbabwe is a stunning country full of endless experiences and natural wonders. I spent time viewing the hidden gems that Zimbabwe offers along with the prime tourist locations.

Adam designing his 'Super' drink screen print. Photographer: Jessie Glander.

The most traveled to destination in Zimbabwe is Victoria falls, the largest waterfall in the world that borders two countries, it is known as one of the Seven Natural World Wonders. You can view the water from the Zambezi river flow into falls from both Zimbabwe and Zambia. Visitors enter through the Zimbabwe rain forest, for the best experience wear a raincoat, and travel through the winding trails to different outlooks over the gorge of the falls.

Along with the beauty of the falls, I visited an otherworldly location with water bluer than the sky, the Chinhoyi Caves are in north central Zimbabwe. The caves are natural limestone and dolomite. The turquoise blue waters of the caves are both mesmerizing and photogenic.

During my time in Zimbabwe, I was able to experience a whole new world of creative minds, who used discarded materials to create works of art, and made lifelong friendships. This is a must-see country in Africa, with a rich history and inspirational talent as far as the eye can see I recommend making Zimbabwe a top destination on any bucket list.

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