Call of the Wild - Lion, Kenya

Your Words, Not Ours: The Call of Africa

For Exodus customer Sue Miller, a lifelong love affair began on her first Exodus trip to Kenya. It's entirely possible it could happen to you too. Prepare to be seduced...

"When I first went on safari in 2009, I wasn’t convinced that this was the sort of holiday I’d like. A once in a lifetime experience, then. No more. It’s safe to say they’ve become a significant and cherished part of my life – and this particular experience is something I've done seven times. And counting. Seeing an abundance of majestic African wildlife in its own habitat, having the privilege to observe these beautiful and endangered creatures at close quarters - that first safari was a magical introduction. I’d never dreamed that I would see elephants, lions, giraffes and cheetahs in the wild, but after my first game drive I was completely spellbound.

Masai Mara Cheetah Masai Mara Cheetah

 

Gazing at a pride of lions for the first time, watching a baby elephant walking underneath its mother while still learning to control its trunk - they were two of my abiding memories from my first safari. And I will never forget seeing my first cheetah, pink-faced from a recent feast, resting out in the open under a flat-topped acacia tree, completely oblivious to its astounded audience. I was also extremely fortunate to witness the wildebeest crossing the Mara River during the migration and running the gauntlet of the submerged crocodiles waiting to pounce. Thrilling stuff!

Wildebeest Wildebeest

 

When curated by people with real passion and expertise, African safaris provide far more than the opportunity to see animals in the wild - they offer the chance to experience a completely different world, where the excitement of the unknown combines with the warm hospitality and friendship offered by what’s become my extended Kenyan family!

Cheetah and cub Cheetah and cub

 

I have so many happy memories, but top of the list has to be celebrating my birthday whilst in Africa. The day began with hot chocolate and cakes delivered to my tent before setting off on a fabulous early morning game drive with a champagne picnic under an acacia tree on the Mara. During the afternoon game drive we saw Malaika, the famous cheetah who starred in the BBC series, ’The Hunt’, resting and playing with her cubs in the sunshine. The evening was spent around the campfire dancing and jumping with the Maasai people. It was truly a day to remember forever.

Safari jeep at sunset Safari jeep at sunset

 

Then again, each game drive brings new memories and is just as thrilling as the first. The exciting thing is that in nature the unexpected is a given. Sightings are not guaranteed, although the chances are greatly improved by the experienced and knowledgeable guides, and nothing beats the thrill of the chase. On my last safari I was incredibly lucky to see a pride of lions climbing a tree and saw two tiny cheetah cubs being moved to a new hiding place by their protective mother.

Lion Cubs Lion Cubs

 

My first sighting of a leopard was not until my third safari but seeing this magnificent creature out in the open was well worth waiting for. The more you go, the more you see, and as time has gone by I have taken great delight in spotting a wide variety of East African birds, a striped hyena, families of mongoose, Wild dogs, clouds of brightly coloured butterflies and heavily scented blossom trees. An experience not to be missed is the hot air balloon flight at dawn over the Maasai Mara. This optional extra enables you to watch the balloons being inflated and then clamber aboard to drift across the plains above herds of elephants, a lonely hippo wallowing in a mud bath, hyenas and lions stalking their prey.

Sunrise air balloon flight Sunrise air balloon flight

 

Since discovering Exodus, I’ve been fortunate to travel with them to destinations all over the world - quietly observing elephants at midnight at the floodlit waterhole in Etosha National Park, Namibia; washing an elephant in the stream in Bandhavgarh National Park, India, and camping on the rim of a volcano in the Galapagos. But the happiest and most memorable days of my life have been in Kenya." Sue Miller. Classic Kenya 4WD Safari

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