Friday, January 3, 2020

The Safari Experience is Beyond Words

How do I even begin to express how amazing this part of the trip has been?   One of the great things about travel is it allows you to learn and experience different cultures.  It gives you a whole new appreciation for the people in this world.  But with this trip it is like we’re in a totally different world.   I think most of you can imagine what a safari would be like.  You’ve seen movies, read books and/or seen pictures, so you have this idyllic version of what it could be.   I know I did.  But let me tell you, it really delivered on that idyllic picture.  It was everything I thought it would be and more.   You’re driving on a dirt path in open air (not all safaris have open air vehicles) all-terrain vehicle (in our case, a Toyota Land Cruiser)
and turn a corner and there’s  a giraffe, maybe two or three.  You watch in amazement, excited like a little kid, as this giraffe nibbles on the tree.   After appreciating the beauty and goofiness of the giraffe, you continue on and suddenly there’s a herd of elephants walking through the trees or playing in a water hole.   Or you might see a lion or a pride of lions napping in the afternoon sun.  It’s literally like a scene out of Jurassic Park, but with animals that still exist!   I mentioned before how this experience brought me to tears and think it’s because I became so overcome with emotion and excitement that tears were the only way to express what I was feeling.  It is just too hard to put into words. 

In just a few days, we saw lions, elephants, zebras, giraffe’s rhinos, hippos, impala, buffalo, leopards, hyenas.   It was simply incredible.  Not only did we get to see and appreciate these amazing animals, we got to see them in this beautiful land.   There were stunning vistas, beautiful sunsets and amazing, warm people. The people of South Africa are inviting and friendly.   They want to make you happy and go out of their way to ensure you are having a good time.  They have a love and appreciation for nature and conservation.  Maybe that is not the case at every lodge, but it certainly was at ours. 

But this trip is about more than just the people and their culture.  It’s also about the animals.   It gives you a whole new level of appreciation for the animals on this planet and how they, just like people, have adapted to different environments.   You truly are in the wild and getting a chance to witness animals in their natural habitat.  While our guide wanted to make sure we had the adventure of a lifetime, he was always very respectful of the animals and ensured we didn’t “overstay our welcome” if they seemed to be bothered or agitated by our presence.

The Traveling Hillbilly highly recommends taking that safari trip you’ve been thinking about for a while, or adding to your bucket list if it isn’t already on it.  I doubt you’d regret it.   However, one piece of advice, don’t make it just about getting that perfect photo for your social media accounts.   Yes, of course you are going to want to take pictures (and lots of them), but don’t forget to put down the camera for a bit and actually be in the moment and appreciate the amazing experience you are having.

It truly is that epic adventure, you’ve imagined in your head!