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 oxygen we all so desperately need to survive. An area which is constantly under threat of being obliterated.
And, making his way there is well-known South African adventurer Kingsley Holgate and his Landrover team. This weekend we were lucky enough to meet Kingsley and their team before their departure.
He has been called the most-travelled man in Africa and has been to all 54 African countries and is on a mission to find the Heart of Africa – the true centre of the African continent, and remind the world that is worth preserving.
They departed from Lesedi Cultural Village in the Cradle of Humankind with the GPS coordinates 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 US.
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 in an area which is home to the Western Lowland gorillas.
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 coordinates, 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,” Holgate said.
“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 from the Leadership for Conservation in Africa 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.