The possibility of pulling off a safari on our own was zero. We needed a group if we were going to do it the way we wanted. Mark Thornton Safaris was featured in an article in “The New York Times” several years ago and we wanted to go with him. So, friends stepped in.
Ellen and Jo, book group chums, agreed right away to join us. Ellen added her husband, Craig. Betsy and Jack, old friends from many years ago, hopped on some months later. Our group formed, and — we couldn’t believe our good fortune — we got to realize our dream and take an amazing safari in Africa!
You might wonder – what actually happened on that safari and what did our friends have to put up with?
First off, we admit to being worried how everyone would do camping. Not everyone loves camping in the bush. Despite hearing weird animals’ noises in the night, camping turned out to be one of the group’s favorite aspects of the safari.
We had requested that bird watching be included in the safari. Everyone agreed but, it turned out, Jack and Craig had no idea what that meant. How much time could possibly be spent looking at birds? They found out. More than they would like. Yet, to the birder-lovers’ enjoyment, even our two non-birders learned the names of some of the birds by the end of the trip.
We worried about weather (great, not hot, and cloudy which was good for photography); how active – or inactive – the trip would be for our group (our guides assured a happy range to suit all); the food (always very good and the homemade cookies in the Range Rovers were a hit); and would we learn enough (our guides, always knowledgeable, did a great job on filling us in on what we were seeing).
We expected that a safari would be the experience of a lifetime for us, and it was. Thanks to our friends and our guides Chagamba and Mika (and Mark Thornton) for making it possible!