After her mother was diagnosed with stage four cancer in March of 2020, Melinda, her mother Cat, husband Adam and his mother Andrea moved up their African dream trip timeline to take an East African safari. They are long-time travelers – including enjoying adventures in Egypt and Italy – and travel has always been a source of bonding. They found planning a safari during a pandemic interesting but knew it would be the perfect escape from lockdown. They had to adjust their plans a few times as circumstances changed, but they were able to work with their Journey Specialist Diana to make updates to their plans as needed. They also wanted to be ‘all in’ for the trip and were willing spend the right amount of money to get the experiences they wanted.
The group had always wanted to go on safari, and with many reminders that life is short and precious, they wanted to travel once borders reopened in late 2020. They jumped right into planning their trip with Africa Adventure Consultants before departing on a three-week journey in Tanzania in December 2020. Their safari had them adventuring through Tanzania’s famed Northern Circuit, as well as the island of Zanzibar.
According to Melinda, each place they stayed had its own magic. In just their first few days in Tanzania, they went horseback riding, saw abundant plains game and even saw tree-climbing lions in Lake Manyara National Park.
“We saw SO MUCH the first few days we couldn’t believe it!” – Melinda Templeton-Duffy
Some of the highlights of their family safari include:
On the group’s last full day, they had seen all of their ‘wish list’ animals except for a cheetah. Their guide Ayub then made it happen! While in the vehicle, they approached four cheetahs – a mother and three juveniles that were 2-3 months old. They watched them play as the group ate breakfast in the vehicle. It was obvious that the cats were getting hungry – mother cheetahs have not only the challenge of needing to make the kill, but also to keep the cubs safe from predators. As they began to watch the hunt from a respectful distance, Melinda described it as a ‘delicate dance and balance,’ and that it was incredibly suspenseful. Eventually, the mother cheetah was able to kill a Thompson’s gazelle to feed her brood. The travelers felt like they were very privileged to be able to spend as much time with this cheetah family as they wished and that by doing so, they were rewarded with an incredible experience.
“Leaving Olakira Camp today was hard. The team there is pure gold and I left a bit of my heart in the southern Serengeti.” – Melinda Templeton-Duffy
Melinda had some good advice for first-time travelers to Africa. She suggests…
We think this is all great advice! If you would like to start planning your dream safari, contact a Journey Specialist to get started.