Exhilarating, exciting, unexpected… And yes, peaceful. All words Michelle Holmes used to describe her tour of Africa. (Which included getting within 18 inches of a leopard while bouncing down a ravine in a Jeep. Peaceful, indeed!)
Holmes, Senior Director of Loyalty & Leisure at Travel and Transport, took a two-week Micato African safari to Kenya and Tanzania and found adventure travel in Africa to be quite amazing. With local, knowledgeable guides, Holmes traveled by plane, hot air balloon and truck to visit Aboseli National Park, Samburu National Reserve, Massai Mara National Reserve and Serengeti National Park.
Each stop on this unforgettable African safari brought its own character—new ecosystems, animals, campsites and adventures.
Making Unforgettable Memories is Easy on an African Safari
Each overnight site has its own vibe, from magnificent gardens at the Hemingway Nairobi to the unparalleled views of Larsens Camp in Samburu. The African safari party got up close and personal with dozens of different species.
Holmes laughs as she remembers resting outside while watching the animals drink at a nearby river, only to wake as her husband shooed away the baboon that had wandered over to her chair for a visit.
Within each reserve, truck drivers communicate over two-way radios they locate the animals. The experience is highly personalized, as the drivers focus on finding animals that safari-goers haven’t yet encountered.
Hearing about a nearby pride of lions, including some cubs—a slightly more difficult item to cross off the African safari bingo card—Holmes’ truck raced to the scene only to find fifteen trucks already there. Luckily, this part of her adventure travel in Africa wasn’t ruined as the mother lion didn’t seem disturbed by the attention. The appearance of safari trucks is an everyday occurrence in her life.
Holmes, however, rarely felt the presence of other safari parties. Partly due to her decision to travel in the low season, the lack of other tourists led Holmes to develop a heightened sense of the vastness of Africa, both as a continent and as a phenomenal location for adventure travel overseas.
Adventure Travel in Africa Offers Opportunity for Rare Animal Sightings
Despite all the wonderful animals — the rare Rothschild giraffes, forgetful warthogs, wildebeests, red dust-covered elephants, grinning hyenas, Cape buffalo, baby lions and more — Holmes says her experience on her African safari was “all about the people and the culture.” Micato Safari profits benefit local communities. Safari-goers have the wonderful opportunity to participate in this giving-back first-hand by visiting a Massai village, schools and community centers.
Among her remarkable experiences, Holmes and her safari group visited a Micato-built community center in a crowded, run-down and impoverished area of Nairobi. Browsing the books of the community library, Holmes came across a compilation of inspirational images and messages from people all over the world.
Leafing through the book, she realized that the images were familiar. Four years prior, at a conference of travel and leisure specialists, Holmes drew a rainbow, accompanied with an inspirational message at a session. She knew her picture and words were going to Africa, but she had no idea that, in a community center in Nairobi, she would open the book to the rainbow she’d drawn years ago.
Holmes praised the Micato employees at every location. From locals hired to use their sling shots to keep monkeys from stealing their food to the knowledgeable guides, she felt their experience enhanced hers. After asking if he ever got tired of doing the same African safari, one guide said, “No, we see it different every time because we see it through the eyes of our clients. We see their sense of awe.”
After exploring four preserves Holmes maintained her sense of awe at the grandeur of African nature. She’s planning her return already, saying the following phrase is true, “You can leave Africa, but Africa never leaves you.”
For more stunning images of Holmes’ adventure travel in Africa and great photos from our employee-owners, check out our Instagram.
If you’re thinking about planning your own African safari, our experts at Travel and Transport are ready to assist. Call one of our vacation travel advisors to explore your options.