The Green Hills of Africa:Using Military Surplus for a Safari Adventure

August 11, 2019

If you've never read Ernest Hemingway's memoirs entitled The Green Hills of Africa, then you might not be familiar with the magic that is the African Savannah. Though I have never been there myself, I feel a special kinship with that African plain that goes deeper than simple forgotten ancestry.

This is because the Africa that Hemingway writes of is not the same place that most members of the modern world dwell in today. This Africa has old technology and primitive combustible engines. In this Africa, the Masai still run for hundreds of miles and war amongst their neighbors in clans. The Savannah is untamed and wild and one is not guaranteed his or her safety simply by being homo-sapiens. Security is something that is earned and fought for, never given or taken for granted. The lion is still king, but even he is susceptible.

It is to a type and shadow of this place that we try to escape when we endeavor on family jaunts to local zoos and amusement parks that promote an air of colonization. The idea of an adventure into the wild is enough to get our wandering blood running hot and free, and it is the reason that temporary thrills are to be sought for vast amounts of capitol.

The fact of the matter, at least according to Hemingway, is that there is no real substitute for Africa. Being there is, in many ways, like coming home to a lost and forgotten world; a world in which you were destined to thrive and flourish. That is why he always tried to get back to Africa whenever he was away from it. And, not surprisingly, he utilized the same camping equipment of his day that the military used, even down to the very weapons he carried to hunt.

That is one thing that has not changed. The best gear for a safari is still used military surplus gear. Tents are made to withstand glaring sun, blowing wind, and drifting sand. Heavy canvas and poles are sturdy enough to hold laundry and game, and will withstand the onslaught of murderous predators who come marauding at night to prevent your marauding in the day. Safari is an act of survival like no other because you are truly being pitted against the most dangerous game the world has to offer.

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