One of the best things in life is getting to live your dream and Intrepid’s Lisa Rollinson got to do just that on the Road to Zanzibar…
“I’m an animal fanatic! I have dreamed of travelling to Africa since I was a little girl and while growing up I wanted to be David Attenborough. By my late teens I realised that a career in wildlife documentaries was unlikely, but I could still travel through Africa and see all the animals… and continue my dream.
It might be hard to put into words what it’s like to spot your first wild animal, but Intrepid’s Danielle Jeffreson still can’t stop talking about her South Africa experience…
“It’s 5.30am and the temperature is hovering around a fairly chilly 10 degrees Celsius (50F). We are about to set off on our first game drive in search of the Big 5 in Kruger National Park. The open backed safari vehicle definitely gets the cool wind rushing through your hair and everyone is excited with the prospect of sighting their first animal.
Surrounded by Africa’s most incredible wildlife and completely caught up in the wonderful moment, Intrepid’s Zoe Rees felt like she was seeing the world through rose coloured glasses in Kenya…
“Pink? Not my favourite colour, but I have to admit that there are occasions on which I’ve enjoyed the colour immensely – brilliant sunrises and sunsets, the rosy hue of Uluru and stepping out of our safari vehicle at Lake Nakuru in Kenya.
Before me was literally a sea of pink flamingos that stretched as far as the eye could see. It was amazing to witness these unique birds frolicking, feeding and splashing around in the soda lake. Apparently it is Lake Nakuru’s abundance of algae that attracts the millions of flamingos, though I was even more amazed to find out I was there at a slow time and usually the flock is double the size!
Think Africa and it’s likely to be the incredible wildlife that first springs to mind – impala, ostriches, zebra, gorillas and of course the ‘Big Five’, elephant, rhino, leopard, lion and buffalo. Creatures big and small add to the appeal of Africa as Intrepid’s Ellen Sziede discovered…
“All the animals of Africa are astounding, but I have to admit that I also find some of them quite threatening. While working for a lodge in Malawi it wasn’t all that unusual for a hippo to lose its way into our village. I soon became wise to checking before I used the outside bathroom at night, as hippos graze on land after dark, and this also happens to be when they are at their most aggressive.
Indian tigers are known for being stealthy, beautiful and almost impossible to spot. That didn’t deter former Intrepid leader Kate Whitton when she went searching for this illusive giant cat in the north of Rajasthan
“Being a mad cat lover I couldn’t possibly visit India without including one of its many National Parks on my trip. So on trusted advice, I chose an itinerary that visited Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan in the hope that I might see a tiger.
As dawn broke I headed to the wildlife park (ironically, this park was once owned by a maharaja for hunting purposes). The scenery was stunning in the morning light – wildlife abounded in the form of monkeys, spotted dear, sambar, crocodiles, jackals, peacocks and more.
Seeing your country battle it out on football’s world stage is one thrill, but when Micah Demmert got so close to an elephant he could smell its bad breath, he thought all his birthdays had come at once on Intrepid’s Southern Explorer…
“The trip started on a kind of night that was to become increasingly common – around a camp fire with a drink in hand, telling stories and laughing. We met our tour leader, Johan, and our driver Sedrick, and were briefed about all of the amazing things that we were to see and do. After 8 days of World Cup shenanigans, what I was hoping for was a nice relaxing sleep in, a leisurely drive, the odd elephant or lion or two, and a chance to become a participant in southern African culture. Well, 3 out of 4 aint bad!
The wonders of Rwanda suddenly become very real when you trek through the jungle to come face to face with the noble mountain gorillas. This real life experience left Intrepid’s Jo Edgley almost lost for words…
“I always knew that it would be amazing to see the mountain gorillas of Africa, but I wasn’t quite prepared for what an impact they would have on me.
Our small group of seven headed off on the walk up the mountain with much anticipation. We were accompanied by our guide, two army personnel (in place to protect us and the gorillas from poachers), and some local porters to help carry our wet weather gear and water. Whilst it’s not really necessary to have people carry things for us, the employment of local porters helps lessen the amount of illegal logging and reduce poaching because it provides an alternative source of income.
Travel tips aren’t only about where to go and what to buy – sometimes the best advice is how to behave. You can check Intrepid’s tips on how to be be a responsible traveller and here are ways to help you enjoy harmonious wildlife viewing in Africa…
Respect the ‘personal space’ of the wildlife, this is their habitat. If a visitor/vehicle causes an animal to alter its behaviour, then the visitor has invaded its space and influenced its normal behaviour. Observe nature as it occurs naturally and not as to how it responds to your presence there.
Speak quietly – do not call out, whistle or in other ways try and attract the attention of animals. Noise disturbs them and may antagonise fellow visitors.
If there was an award for being on the most Seven Wonders lists, then Galapagos Islands could get that gong! Natural travel wonders, underwater world and a New Seven Wonders of Nature finalist, Intrepid’s Daniela Palacios gives this amazing archipelago her seal of approval…
“Having recently spent time in the Galapagos Islands, I must say that I was fascinated by pretty much all the wildlife there, but one of my favourite things was to watch the sea lions in action.
First of all, in the Galapagos you find fantastic beaches where the sea lions relax after the excitement of fishing. A white sand beach in Espanola Island, called Gardner Bay, is a great place to see a sea lion colony. The dominant males are around with their harems and you can always see lovely sea lion pups.