I am 71 years old, so I knew this trip would be physically and mentally difficult for me. My children called Michael Wishner a saint for answering my 100 or so anxious emails. The bumpy roads, all the shots, brushing our teeth with bottled water, upset stomach, dust despite the fact that we purposely traveled in April, the so called wet season, which was dry, no make-up, no hair dryers at most of the camps or AC which I happen to like, 7 airplane rides and last but not least, proximity to wild animals!
But what an experience to share with my children and grandsons. My older grandson, at 16, wasn’t thrilled in the beginning because he only loves sports and isn’t particularly interested in animals. But our collective enthusiasm got to him in the end.
Ellison, our dedicated driver/guide was hard working and knowledgeable and could relate to all of us, even sports figures and teams with our sports guy. We all laughed a lot. We made up things like animal bingo which succeeded in capturing the boys’ imagination and competitiveness and Ellison even taught us a Swahili song.
We pointed out animals using a clock face- wildebeests at 3 o’clock (although I often mixed up 3 with 9), the kids often stood up in the jeep even when it was moving which I didn’t dare do.
We loved our accommodations, all very different from canvas tents in the middle of nowhere with netted beds and a shower that had to be filled with warm water, to a lodge on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater. There was champagne and fruit waiting for us at each different camp. But the animals were astounding.
We watched in horror as two male lions killed a hyena just for sport- the first time Ellison had ever seen male lions kill. We watched a couple pair of lions mate and a mother cheetah kill a baby gazelle which was only a snack for herself and her two nearly grown cubs.
I loved my grandsons’ laughter at the antics of Baboons and we got in line with other jeeps to watch a Black Rhino meander around looking for a break among the jeeps so he could cross our road. We were chased by an elephant and raced ostriches. We really bonded over “bush bathrooms,” peeing at the back of the jeep when our driver deemed it safe!
And the beautiful Massai people with their colorful clothing, crafty beaded jewelry and herds of cattle and goats shepherded by their children in lion country!
It was surely the trip of a lifetime, one we will never forget!
Safari Dates: April 10, 2017 to April 17, 2017