29-01-2020 by Leni Frau
From South Africa to Malindi by car to return to where love for the continent where they have lived for ten years was born.
This is the enterprise of Riccardo and Cristina, two retired Italians from the North East today and great fans of motorbike, car and even walking safaris.
Riccardo, 67 of Trentino origin, calls himself an "Africanist" and his other passion is good food.
Cristina is the ideal adventure companion and the "navigator" that every driver would dream of having at his side. Together from their home in Knysna, a tourist resort on the famous Garden Route leading to Cape Town, every year they study and plan the journey they will undertake in detail.
Thousands of miles and at least three months of African roads. Obviously the off-road vehicle is "customised" and equipped in every detail, from the bolt and screw engine of the doors to the food supplies to tackle this kind of undertaking. The couple sleeps in a tent mounted on the roof of the car, Riccardo cooks with a camping stove and dinners are almost always consumed under the great wonder of the African sky.
I am a gourmand and I like to prepare fancy dinners accompanied by a bottle of excellent South African wine - says Riccardo - and for this traveling holiday we brought 60 bottles of excellent South African wine, all expertly packaged individually and "camouflaged" to avoid problems with the various customs".
"There is no environment in the world like Africa - confirms Cristina - Every day something changes, it is stimulating. It happens to drive in difficult situations, under an insistent rain on particularly hard tracks and others where you risk to get lost, but then you get a gift of a couple of giraffes in love that cross their long necks, a woman who wears on her head a freshly caught fish still alive that wags its tail, the new colors of every moment of the day ... and that's life!
And here it is the safari 2019-2020: From South Africa to...La Malindina!
That's right. Everything was born in the mid-eighties, when Riccardo was attracted not only by Kenya but by the fame of the restaurant created in Malindi by Mimì Frascione, known as a magical meeting place in the mid-equatorial nature and the beauty of the Kenyan coast, and a "gourmet" reference point for those who want to taste the best fish in the Indian Ocean. Combining in this way a composite trip with safari in the various parks of Kenya, Riccardo arrives in La Malindina and is welcomed by the then host at his table together with Renzo Arbore and other VIPs of the time, enjoying an unforgettable dinner.
The memory is still alive, despite the awareness that nothing or almost nothing will be as it once was... the destiny of our Planet from which the African Continent often and happily manages to escape. Riccardo, however, spoke so much about it to his companion that the goal is decided! And also the path. From November 20th, a journey of 9000 Km passing through Namibia, Angola, then through Caprivi Game Park, Zimbabwe, Zambia with its wonderful Victoria Falls, Tanzania and its wonderful lakes until you arrive in Kenya, destination Malindi...or rather La Malindina.
And it was in the hotel restaurant where they booked their relaxing holiday before leaving for South Africa, with a new route, that we met these fellow countrymen who had the courage, ten years ago, to drop everything in Italy, send a son "to make their bones" in Australia, sell the house of their dreams and their supposed old age, and get back on the road, indulging their great passion for travel.
"It was unusual but fun to prepare and organize the trip "La Malindina" - explains Cristina - We also had the kit La Malindina, with clothes and everything necessary for our stay. Every inconvenience (because in such trips there are many of them) was overcome with a different spirit and with the mantra "we are going to La Malindina".
And finally, here we are!"
It is a logically different Malindi, "a little more decadent but no less fascinating" says Riccardo. And then the memories sweeten in a natural way.
For the "navigator" on the other hand, it is the first time and the wait is rewarded by just as much amazement: "Already entering the main door with this harmonious perspective of arches with the glance of the pool and the mastodontic makuti - he admits - you immerse yourself in a magical and quiet atmosphere. For me and the first time, I had only the references from Riccardo's stories but he is one who speaks little so the surprise was great. We don't like the worldliness and the confusion very much, we prefer to stay slightly inland, not really on the sea and this is the perfect place, silent, quiet, harmonious. We are thinking of going back to Malindi and maybe stop for a couple of months and plan and organize another one of our trips from here".
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