It’s now been a few days since I returned home from my rather epic journey to Africa. I’ve had a chance to regale my daughter and friends with additional stories and time to gather some thoughts about the trip.
Doing an African safari has long been on my bucket list, so I was thrilled to have to opportunity to go and do as much as we did. And we certainly crammed a good amount into each and every day. There were many times as we sat in the evening, chatting about our day, when we couldn’t believe that what we did in the morning was that very same day, as it didn’t seem possible to do and see that much. Even as long as we were away, there still is never enough time to experience everything you’d like. One does have to pick and choose. I think we did that extremely well.
Africa, at least the parts we saw of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana, was a feast for the senses. It wasn’t just about what we saw, which, of course was amazing, but it was also about what we felt, what we smelled, what we tasted and what we heard. The land itself, the mountains, the sea, the rivers, the bush, the gorges, the waterfalls were as beautiful as I imagined and the sunrises and sunsets were nothing I imagined. With cloudless skies the sun was a huge orange ball that rose and set with such beauty that you couldn’t pull your eyes away. The animals, oh, the animals! The proximity was mind boggling, the ability to watch them in their habitats, to see them interact with each other was incredible. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go to a zoo again. Their sounds still resonate – the roar of the lions, the bellow of the hippos, the voice of the elephants and the flap of their ears, the multitude of bird calls, the wind as it whipped through our hair as we drove in the crisp morning air or the oven-like heat of the day, as we zipped through the forest in Hermanas, as we rafted the Zambezi. The heat of the sun on our skin as we drove through the bush, as we climbed up and down the gorge, as we sat drinking the delicious South African wine. It’s all emblazoned on my mind and in my memories.
The people we met along the way made the trip even more special. We were fortunate to have terrific guides everywhere we went, who obviously loved their land and their work, who willingly shared of themselves, their lives and what it was like to live a bit in their shoes. We had wonderful accommodations, including lovely hosts who made us feel welcome and at home. We also met a good many fellow travelers who added delight to our days, hearing their stories and sharing our adventures. I like to think some will remain friends. And of course, I have to thank my traveling companions, Dar and Dana, who, even after four weeks of travel, remain my friends.
For those who are curious about my rafting injury, the shoulder remains problematic. I saw my doctor the morning after I returned and had xrays done. Tomorrow I have an MRI scheduled. We’ll see what it shows. Still, it was an amazing day on the river despite the spill on rapid #18. The video is as thrilling to watch as it was to experience it.
And so ends another journey….this retirement life isn’t half bad! Stay tuned for whatever the next adventure brings – you can be sure that I’ll share it with you.