• Kathryn Schutz

The Must-Have Travel Experience

The photo above was taken by my then 13 year old son. I'm not saying he's not a good photographer, but it is SO easy to capture wildlife on an African safari. The running joke on our trip was that my son had received a nice camera for his birthday but no telephoto lens! "How am I going to get good photos of the animals with a telephoto lens, Mom?" When the leopard walked within two feet of him, paused and looked right at him - we were dumbstruck! These are not tame zoo animals. This female had been lounging in the middle of the road, her belly full after a recent kill.

Words cannot describe the wonder and amazement during an African safari. Whether it be in Kenya's Mara Triangle, Botswana's water-based Okavango Delta or Zambia's Luangwa Valley - the experiences are beyond belief. With the accompaniment of excellent guides and spotters/trackers, you are in a state of perpetual amazement. You find yourself asking questions that you would never have imagined. How long are elephants pregnant? (around 22 months - ugh!), how many hours a day do lions sleep? (20), what do you call a group of elephants? (a parade). Your guide becomes an interpreter of nature with an incredible breadth of knowledge that is obtained and refined through continuous studies. Your spotter becomes a translator of animal tracks and droppings. Did you know that hyena droppings are white because of the calcium obtained when they eat their prey's bones? They eat everything! And amazingly, the guides and spotters are almost as excited as you with each new sighting.

Even if you are an experienced traveler, you've never seen anything like Africa. The cultures and wildlife are like no other on earth and the natural beauty is diverse with everything from grasslands to mountains to stunning beaches and waterfalls. Some of the native tribes have been around for hundreds of years with traditions and an understanding of nature that is beyond comprehension. You will see world-class wildlife: cheetahs, elephants, giraffes, zebras, sprinbok, hippos, an array of magnificent birds, the Big Five (lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard and rhino) and many countless others. As you travel through the private game reserves you will see very few other people and the animals flow freely in and out.

A typical day on safari consists of a sunrise and sunset drive, stopping for coffee and pastries in the morning or wine and hors d'ouevres in the afternoon. There is a full breakfast after the morning drive, an opportunity for a midday walking safari or lounging at the pool or spa, lunch and incredible dinners. The entertainment during pre-dinner cocktails consists of guest comparing their day's exploration and sightings.

Accommodations can range from fancy safari lodges to luxe glamping. Ther is no "roughing it" here! Suites may have infinity pools, outdoor showers, wraparound viewing decks, luxurious bathrooms with soaking tubs - all with an escapist wilderness feel. The main lodge usually includes a bar, library, gift shop, spa and barbeque area for traditional dinners and local entertainment.

To say that an African safari is life-changing, is an understatement. We encourage everyone to put it on their bucket list and make it happen. It is the ideal multi-generational trip. We will tailor a trip that answers all of your questions: when to go, where to go, what it will cost, what does it include, etc. And we will assist in creating life-long memories and big smiles when you recount this incredible adventure.

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness".

Mark Twain

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