Safari Adventures

Growing up on a farm in the countryside, I always had a fascination for wildlife. A treasured gift when I was eight years old was a book by John Holland called ‘Bird Spotting’. Nearly sixty years later, it now sits proudly amongst my extensive collection of bird books.

The Observer Book of British Mammals was another childhood favourite. Foxes, badgers, moles, deer, polecats, and many more were a source of great interest and delight for me.

Then along came TV programs about Tarzan in the African jungle, and Daktari who had a cross eyed lion called Clarence. The film about Ailsa the Lioness and early David Attenborough documentaries fuelled my passion for African wildlife in particular. Although for a child, the idea of ever going on Safari was the stuff of dreams and fancy.

It took a long time, but in 2005 that dream did come true. That year, I found myself passing through Kenya’s great Rift Valley, visiting Lake Nakuru with its 1.1million flamingos, Lake Baringo, Lake Naivasha and onto the legendary Maasai Mara. I was in seventh heaven and reverted back to being that young wildlife enthusiast who dreamed being amongst lions and elephants.

Flamingos in Lake Nakuru

Lake Nakuru flamingos

 

I promised myself that this would not be my last Safari nor my last trip to Africa. I kept that promise and to date I have visited Morocco, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Swaziland (now the Kingdom of Eswatini), Lesotho and, my out and out favourite, Botswana and the Okavango Delta.

Male and female Nyala, Kruger National Park, South Africa

The reality of being on Safari is quite different from the fantasies of an eight-year-old boy. At that age, and having only ever experienced rural Scotland, I never imagined the heat, the dust, the smells, the dangers, the sounds, the biting insects, the brutality of seeing an animal devoured by predators, the beauty of the night sky, the jaw-dropping and adrenalin fuelled sights and moments that become imprinted in your memory never to be forgotten.

Male lion from the Maasai Mara

Maasai Mara Lion

If you have never been lucky enough to experience what it is like to come face to face with some of Africa’s deadliest predators, never fallen asleep in a tent in the wilderness to the sounds of lions roaring, never seen the beauty of an African sunrise, then I hope reading about my experience of camping Safaris in the Okavango Delta will give you a taste of what it is like.  It may even awaken a desire to try it for yourself.