We are grateful that one part of our jobs is to stay on the cutting-edge of what’s going on in our African (and other) destinations, meaning that we have the chance to travel to the continent multiple times every year. As 2019 draws to a close, we reflected on some of our travel highlights and we are sharing some of the top sightings from our journeys. Read on for a little armchair adventure!
I had the chance to visit Tanzania and Madagascar with my family this year. We went chimpanzee trekking while staying in one of my favorite camps, Greystoke Mahale. In Madagascar, we saw a lot of endemic wildlife including giant chameleons, exotic birds, weird snakes, and of course, many types of lemurs. The overall highlight for me was trekking through dense rainforest and hearing the calls of the indri indri lemur echoing through the forest and seeing the diademed safika jumping from tree to tree, both in Madagascar.
My top sighting this year was seeing a wild dog pack in Botswana! Wild dogs are on the move a lot so they can be hard to find. We were very lucky to spot the pack and follow them for a while. I love wild dogs because they are so active and their interactions are playful. They also look out for one another. One dog had a broken leg and the rest of the pack made sure he ate first and would continue to care for him until he recovered.
Seeing Victoria Falls in full force for the first time was my favorite sighting of 2019! I got completely drenched (which I loved!) and saw multiple dazzling rainbows. I had only seen the Falls at their driest before, so it was AMAZING to see them at their fullest!
It’s hard to choose, but I’d have to say my favorite sighting this year was seeing a large herd of elephants moving across the plains directly in front of South Africa’s Phinda Vlei Lodge. They stopped to drink at the pool, rummaged through the foliage and even performed a trumpet!
My favorite travel experience of the year was seeing a 3-day-old elephant in Samburu National Reserve in Kenya. We had the opportunity to watch the baby elephant stumble around, still learning to use its legs, and then take a nap. After the nap, the mom put her trunk under the baby’s backside and helped pull her to her feet.
Seeing the Northern Serengeti was something out of this world – the vast views, the wildlife and the rivers all awed me. I visited during the short rainy season and witnessed some phenomenal afternoon storms and even got caught in one! It was worth the wet game drive back to Sayari Camp, as my guide and I spent most of the afternoon and into the evening viewing a beautiful leopard mom and her two cubs. I would recommend everyone visit the Northern Serengeti during any season!
One of my favorite sightings on safari was when we were eating lunch in Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe and one of the enormous trees on the outside of the main tent broke and fell to the ground (an elephant had been pulling hard on the branches the day before). Because all of the leaves were easy to access, a whole herd of elephants came rushing over and began feeding on the leaves right near where we were eating lunch!
Angie – Seeing a baby echidna in Australia using its short beak to capture termites and ants was wonderful. I love how they wobble and move!