One of my favorite aspects of travel is going off-the-beaten path and in doing so to meet locals and experiencing the culture from their eyes This past May when I traveled to South Africa with my family it brought a whole new meaning to meeting ‘locals’. Sure, I’ve been to the zoo, I’ve gone to Disney and watched plenty of movies but there isn’t ANYTHING that prepares you for the experience of meeting these beautiful animals in their environment. I was most surprised how close you are (of course with an expert ranger guiding your every move). The lion in the photo above was literally about 5 feet from me (in our open-air vehicle) as he walked very close to my camera lens. But what really found a place in my heart was maintaining eye contact with them. The lion, zebra, rhino, elephant, monkey, wild dogs, giraffe and so many more! I swear I could hear what they were trying to tell me, and it made me feel how happy they were. Their lives were not easy, danger lurked, yet they were happy, just as the children played in that Irish pub many years ago. The cackle of hyenas and the pride of lions were together living their best lives! We observed them play, run, and engage with each other. So many lessons for us all.
We discovered this baby hyena along with his brothers and sisters being playful with each other just outside their den. No adults were in sight, and they were taking full advantage. This little guy stopped playing for a moment as we made him a bit nervous.
At first, we thought these zebras were going to give another birds and the bees lesson as the lions did earlier that day but our ranger explained it was just 2 adolescents goofing off.
It was very special to encounter so many rhinos. The lodge we stayed is a strong supporter of conservation. To protect from poacher activity the rhino’s tusk is cut off.
A common question to me is ‘what has been your favorite trip?’ and while every trip I have taken is amazing in its own way an African Safari is something I wish everyone could experience in their lifetime. It is truly life changing! If you have an interest in visiting South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, or any of the other amazing countries in Africa reach out to us as we would love to help you. It will truly change your perspective on life!