It’s been a great year with global travel roaring back to life! Our team was back on the road exploring old favorites and discovering new experiences. We asked them to share some of their travel highlights from 2022 to inspire you in planning your next adventure.
My favorite wildlife sighting for the year was a group of three cheetahs (one of my favorite safari animals!) in the Naboisho Conservancy near the Masai Mara in Kenya. We spent hours with the three brothers as they hunted, rested, squabbled, slept and more. Our patience was rewarded when we got to see them take down a gazelle after an amazing burst of speed.
My favorite wildlife sighting of 2022 took place on a sunny afternoon while relaxing at Somalisa Camp in Zimbabwe. Toes dipped in the pool, I could only hear the sounds of the bush as we watched herds of elephants excitedly running down to the watering hole in front of the camp’s main area to drink and play an arm’s reach away!
Game drives are so exciting but there is something so very special about viewing wildlife right from camp. An armchair safari presents that ‘wow’ moment of realizing without even a single movement, you are 100% immersed in the African wilderness.
My top highlight from 2022 is seeing wild dogs in the Timbavati in South Africa! It was my first time seeing them in the wild. We found the huge pack of endangered canids after they had just eaten a big meal, so they were lazing around (which is fairly uncommon to see). We were able to watch them for a full hour before anyone else arrived. It was truly spectacular!
Cruising the Nile in Egypt from Luxor to Aswan on board a classic Dahabiya sailboat was the highlight of my year. The tranquility, intimacy and elegance offered on board made me feel like Queen Nefertiti! Our sailors and guides made everything feel exclusive, exceptional and authentic! With no other tourists in sight, we explored fascinating temples and tombs, met local people, and indulged our inner Egyptologists at various stops on idyllic islands that the large hotel-like cruise ships sail right past. The icing on the cake was taking a swim – my favorite activity anywhere and everywhere – in the Nile!
The baby gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda were the cutest darn things I ever did see and a big highlight of my travel year! I had to keep rubbing my eyes to believe they were real. The baby hippo (along with large herds of elephants, incredible bird life and more) we saw on the Kazinga Channel in Uganda was also beyond cute! Can you tell that baby animals make my heart melt?
My favorite wildlife moment this year was when two inquisitive baby sea lions came close to say hello when I was hosting a multi-generational family group in the Galapagos Islands. They were swimming in the safety of a small tide pool while their mothers went out to hunt. I was crouched down on a rock to take some photos when the two curious little ones approached to say hello and see what I was doing. I stayed still and quiet, so I didn’t bother them, and it was such a magical moment to witness these playful juveniles’ sense of curiosity and exploration.
A close second was witnessing a juvenile orca whale hunting while in the ocean on a small dinghy. The orca swam around and under our boat and it was a breathtaking moment having such a large, majestic creature so close. The birds helped us track the orca as he swam around and covered his hunting grounds as they were hoping for some of the scraps for a free meal. It was truly wild nature at its finest.
My favorite wildlife sighting of 2022 was of a lioness and her two four-month-old cubs in Botswana. My two favorite things on safari are the big cats and babies, so watching the cubs play together and watch us with inquisitive eyes was such a special moment.
However, no Botswana safari is complete without a mokoro (dugout canoe) ride. With only a pole propelling our traditional canoe, our local guide helped us spot the Delta’s wonders – the smallest, most colorful frogs; beautiful birds; aquatic antelope; hippos and more – as we peacefully passed through the ancient channels of this natural wonder. Our guide also shared about his background growing up in the Okavango Delta and wonderful stories of his dad teaching him the art of poling through its placid waters.
Photos courtesy Kent Redding, African Bush Camps, Hilary Walters, Nell Pollak, Clara Moore and Beth McCabe