We invite all travellers to our region to share with us their experiences for the benefit of both the hosts and future travellers. You can also send regular reports and we will put them on-line.
Margaret Mead Let us stick to the Servas ideals". Anneke Lohman, Haarlem, Netherland
You can also send regular reports and we will put them on-line.
Let us stick to the Servas ideals".
Anneke Lohman, Haarlem, Netherland
Servas Southern Africa
G'day, welcome to the travellers report...
Our African travels
We were travelling in Southern and Eastern Africa by a camper van. So we were independent from accomodation. Nevertheless we were very happy to be Servas members. In South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia we only had very good experiences. Hosts opened us their doors, allowing us to enter their private world, to learn about their problems in the past and today, and to get to know their admirable way of handling the problems. Without Servas we never would have had the opportunity to get a deeper insight into the way of life in these countries.
In the very beginning of our African journey, in Johanesburg, when my luggage was missing and arrived only 4 days later, we did not feel lost in this strange city, thanks to the help of Servas hosts.
What a great hospitality and uncomplicated way of living we experienced in Durban with Eric Frank and his family. When we had problems to get our camper, which we had shipped to South Africa, through customs and out of harbour, Eric was extremely supportive and helpful. He likes to have more Servas guests from all over the world. A very relaxing time we spent with a far travelled and open-minded farmer in Mtubatuba. Another farm experience we had in Zimbabwe, where we learned a lot about suffering in the past and the fear of the future. When visiting the next neighbour just 20 miles away, we got an impression about African dimension. It was a real treat, staying with this lovely family, so we even came back a second time.
And how to praise Zambia ? We phoned the Whiteheads and were welcome one hour later in their hospitable home. A great and dynamic family where you can inhale the spirit of Servas.
Not so enjoyable were the experiences in Kenya and Uganda. It was nearly impossible to contact somebody by phone. At the end of our African journey we enjoyed being guests of very kind famillies in the relaxed atmosphere of Cape Town.
Indeed, Africa was worth a visit, not only because of its animals and landscapes, but also because of its people. Getting to know the people closer and to learn from them is the great chance when travelling with Servas.
Thanks a lot to all our wonderful hosts Ursula and Richard Doring, Germany
Without Servas I would have had a miserable time in Africa. First my friends knew nothing about Africa or how to get around in Africa. When I finally decided to ' Go Servas ' I landed at the home of Rev. Whitehead and his family. It was the next thing outside Victoria Falls. He mapped out the rest of our trip. His son even escorted me to the station to wait seemingly an interminably time for the bus.
Following his suggestion I ended up in Kenya with another wonderful Servas host. I went to church, to outdoor restaurants, dancing and to African cultural shows. I tasted mangoes, other strange fruits. My Kenyan Servas hosts were Mrs Njerdi and her sister. In addition, I left my hat and it was returned to me. This visit to African hosts did bring a considerable change in me made me a better hostess. I found the Zambian people quite hospitable and they symbolic of feeling and related in a poem. Before ending up I would like to say that this experience in Africa was indeed quite different to what I have experienced before when I travelled as a Servas traveller.
I became a member of Servas in the summer of 1995. My experience of Africa would not have been half as enjoyable if I had not joined. It really made it possible for my travelling companion (Mark Richardson ) and myself to see so much of the countries we travelled in.We were on a tight budget and yet wanted to see so much of Africa. By becoming Servas travellers we managed to see all the countries we wanted with the added bonus of meeting the people of the country. For me, being accepted so readily into people's homes was incredible, not only because of the hospitality but the fact that they were of a different culture and country.
All the Servas hosts which took us were so hospitable, such as Glen and Gwen Mc Laren ; William and Winnifred Bond and Ira and Jean Meier all of South Africa. There are many more who I could mention as they all so welcoming and made Mark and I feel so at home. Even when I went to pick up some things from the Whiteheads' home one day, I was invited for lunch and made me feel at home. I thank Servas International and I can only say --- Keep up the good work and thank you for enabling me to knowing so many cultures
Mrs Charlotte Brady,
5th June 1997
In December 1995 I embarked on a five month trip to Africa with my then six year old daughter, Ella. After spending three months travelling overland from Dakar in Senegal to Accra in Ghana, we flew to Zimbabwe, where we were joined by my two sons, Ben (12) and Tom (9). The next two months were spent travelling up as far as Lamu, in Kenya, before we flew back to Britain via Italy. In terms of Servas, we stayed with three hosts, had telephone, letter and face to face contact with several others. I would say we had a mixed experience. Unfortunately, I didn't hear of Servas until a acouple of days before we were due to leave England. However, the very helpful travellers's secretary whizzed the appropriate lists just in time before we left. This meant that we were uable to contact prospective hosts much ahead of arriving and often were unable to contact them at all.
Our first Servas hosts in Accra were a wonderful family, the Adusus. They were so kind and helpful to us, always very concerned for our safety and very keen to help us experience their lifestyle to the full. We are still in touch in the hope to meeting them someday. Our second host in Harare, Zimbabwe very was very different. She was a single ex colonial woman, and I found some of her comments and attitudes a little difficult to accept. When we arrived in Zambia, my son and myself we were both sick. The Whitehead kindly allowed us to stay for several days to rest. Margaret Whitehead took us to trusted doctors and helped us both on the road to recovery.
I would and have recommend Servas to others but do think that it would have been better for us if we'd made contacts ahead of time where possible. Having said that , those hosts who are prepared to take in travellers 'on the spot' are invaluable to people like us with no fixed itinary.
Is Africa worth visiting ? What a question ! Our experiences of travelling in Africa have quite literally changed our lives. Our exposure to the different cultures and traditions, both black and white, the beauty and vastness of it, the poverty and wealth, the amazing contrasts, really, will be with us for ever. Added to this, I met my now husband at the end of my African Adventure. So, as one can see, it has really changed our lives.
Sheridan James, Cambridge, England