Bronny Africa 2014
I have the privilege of having the most amazing and humbling problem………..I can’t remember if my last trip to Africa in January this year was my 17th or 18th visit ………yep, that’s a pretty BIG problem to have – hmmm! What a lucky person I’ve been to have so many experiences on this magical continent.
On this occasion I was able to travel with a friend, Pam, who had never been to Africa. This added a whole new dimension to my journey – seeing the look on Pam’s face as this amazing destination unfolded for us. In particular as she sat in an open vehicle in the African bush watching a large male lion fix his stare upon us as he walked towards us not two metres away. In hindsight, I realise I should have warned her that we would be perfectly safe. I’d forgotten about my own first thoughts many years ago when it first happened to me. What a delight to be reminded of that flutter of your heart before you realise that all is perfectly OK. As important as you feel you are in the world, you are not the ‘plat de jour’ on the Serengeti menu. That is IF you stay INSIDE the vehicle.
Gorillas in Rwanda
On this year’s trip I revisited the mountain gorillas, but this time in Rwanda. In 1984 I’d visited them in Uganda and had always longed to go back to relive the wonder. As with every visit to Africa, each visit is very different. It may be the time of year, season, or animal behaviour you encounter. This time the gorillas were looking pretty laid back, lying around snoozing and not really going out of their way to put on any performance for the few permit holders lucky enough to be allowed each day to trek to meet them. So we sat quietly, mesmerised still by the huge dimensions of the dominant male silverback and his family members taking a rest in the dense mountain forest and, as before all those years ago, marvelling at how safe and calm we felt in the presence of this gentle giant with an undeserved fierce reputation. However, shortly a change of his mind saw the male sit up, alert and now obviously looking to be on the move…………and suddenly the calm mood I was in was mixed with a frisson of alarm as his move was directed to exactly where I was standing. It was Pam’s turn to describe the look on my face as the huge primate brushed my leg in passing by. She said it was hard to tell if I was going to faint or run……I don’t recall either thought occurring to me as both my mind and body were totally paralysed.
Peregrine Safari – East Africa Discovery
A 10 day Peregrine safari followed, combining the vast tracts of land set aside for wildlife in Kenya and Tanzania – areas with those exotic names we read about, the Masai Mara, the Serengeti, the Great Rift Valley. And with excellent guides, the most important ingredient to the success of your African experience, our small group was soon in close proximity to predators, herds of plains game, elephants and birds of all fantastic colours and sizes.
Botswana Tented Camp
A visit to an exceptional tented camp in Botswana gave us the opportunity to take that iconic African dream photograph of a leopard lounging in an acacia tree, all four legs and a tail hanging down and gently swaying in the breeze…..not once but FIVE times! And just to top it all off, as if we were not entirely overcome with awe, two of them decided to come down to the ground for a romantic rendezvous that saw a lot of deep and fierce growling and a lot of fur flying. I’m afraid courting leopard style looks more like the beginning of a very messy divorce! Not surprisingly I’m counting down the dayths to my 18th ……or is it my 19th ……… visit to Africa.