Somewhere in the remote northern areas of the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) lies the Heart of Africa. A beating heart, situated close to the lungs of Africa – the magnificent rainforests of the Congo basin, which not only plays a major role in keeping much of Africa’s weather patterns constant, but produces much of the air we all so desperately need to survive. An area which is constantly under threat of being obliterated.
And, currently making his way there is well-known South African adventurer Kingsley Holgate and his Landrover team. Holgate, who has been called the most travelled man in Africa and has been to all 54 African countries, is on a mission to find the Heart of Africa – the true centre of the African continent, and remind the world that it worth preserving.
Earlier this week Holgate and his team departed from Lanseria to the sound of ululating women and beating drums, with the GPS co-ordinates of the exact centre of Africa. The International
Geographical Union determined the location by using the ‘centre of gravity’ method – the same method used to determine the geographical centres of Australia and the United States of America.
And, as it turns out, Africa’s “true centre” is located deep in the northern terrain of Congo, which is considered to be one of the most unexplored regions of Africa, somewhere south of Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park. An area described by National Geographic as ‘the last place on earth.’ Home to magnificent forest elephant, hundreds of bird species, thousands of plant species and the Western
Lowland Gorillas. A home which is under constant threat.
With him he also carries a traditional calabash which was filled with symbolic water at the Cradle of Humankind in South Africa, to be emptied at the Heart of Africa coordinates in the Congo to mark the end of the expedition. A beacon will be put in the correct co-ordinates, on it written one short sentence – A tribute to Africa’s Elephants.
The team will also carry a Scroll of Peace and Goodwill to be messaged along the way and as with all their expeditions the team will carry out humanitarian endeavours in the countries they will be traversing.
‘We’ve criss-crossed Mama Afrika from South to North, East to West and then circumnavigated the outline of the continent in a single expedition through 33 countries. As a family we were able to embrace all 54 African countries through several journeys of discovery. It’s only natural that our next challenge is to find her heart, Africa’s geographical centre.’
“Congo has a vision to protect its rainforests, not just for Congo but for the world. This journey will highlight one of the most important places in the world for conservation,” Paul Telfer, Managing Director, Congo Conservation Company, said.
Chris Marais, CEO of the Leadership for Conservation in Africa, who helped Holgate in his quest to reach Africa’s center, added that Congo is not only the Heart of Africa but the heart of the world. “Very few people realise the world will be in great trouble if the rain forests of the Congo basin disappears,” he said.
“There are so many more adventures still to do but the importance of this one is to discover for the world the pulsating heart of the African continent. From a conservation and environmental point of view there is also the value we need to give to conserving the Congo basin,” Holgate said shortly before his departure.
“It all promises to be a great adventure!”
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