The Gambia is the 32nd African country that Ansh has visited. Ansh is exploring Africa and is out to prove that African hospitality thrives in its down-to-earth streets, often not publicised, unknown to many who think only of the negatives about Africa. The 33-year-old ex-software engineer has been travelling continuously for the past five years. He is on a journey to promote community-based tourism and traditions in Africa.
When Ansh first started his special journey, he was met with doubt and criticism from his environment. In the beginning, he too was unsure of himself as he was in a strange place, leaving his family, culture and social life back home. But when he touched in Kenya on the 1st of February, in the middle of the corona pandemic, his fears quickly disappeared, and he felt welcomed and at home. He had found a second family in Africa, despite the negative stereotypes he had faced before his journey.
One of his biggest lessons is to not judge a book by its cover. He is passionate about making his own experiences and ideas rather than subscribing to the image of Africa that is usually portrayed in the media. Ansh has felt the true essence of the African community first-hand. His whole journey has been facilitated by the support of local communities and their welcoming spirit. This is part of his message: resources and money are not at the core of his mission. Love, empathy and communal support have made his adventure as fantastic as it is. “It’s all about what kind of person you are and how you are accepting and respecting your surroundings and people.”
Ansh is trying to promote sustainable and community-based tourism in Africa. In his experience, even strangers are willing to help out. From sleeping in police stations, national parks and filling stations, he has seen multiple facets of the African continent, and he sees beauty in it all. He urges West African countries to expand and focus on the tourism industry in their countries.
Along with struggles due to limited infrastructure, one of his biggest challenges was his diet. As a vegetarian, getting a suitable hot meal is sometimes difficult, especially on a small budget. But the abundance of fresh fruits and veggies allowed him to keep going, even after 48 hours without food. As an Indian passport holder, getting across borders is also an expensive task sometimes. At the height of the Covid pandemic, Ansh did over 100 corona tests to be able to continue his adventure.
After the Gambia, which he describes as a tourism-friendly country, Ansh continues to Senegal, Mali and Mauritania and then towards the Northern African countries before rounding back to South Africa and eventually returning home to India via Mauritius and Sri Lanka. Needless to say, Ansh Hishram is a true adventurer, and his experiences will be sure to shape him for the rest of his life.
We at MyGambia wish you good luck and safe travels as you continue this amazing odyssey. Check out his interview below.