Reflections on AdventureWomen’s Botswana “Wing” Safari

by Susan L. Eckert, President, AdventureWomen Inc.

“How can I put into words what I have seen and felt on this trip?”  “How can I possibly describe my trip to anyone?” “Pictures just don’t do it justice!”

These are just a few of the questions and responses that I heard most often on our last flying safari in Botswana. [For that matter, ANY trip that AdventureWomen does in Africa generates wondrous remarks and awe-inspiring comments like these!]

15 AdventureWomen traveled 3 days from the U.S. to get to our first remote tented safari camp in Botswana. We hardly stepped out of our small, chartered airplanes onto African soil before being whisked away in open-topped safari vehicles. Racing through the tall grass at top speed, we found ourselves smack in the middle of a pack of rare and endangered African wild dogs. The pain of our long travels instantly dissolved and our adventure became real. HOLY COW! WE’RE IN AFRICA!

19. kwara wild dogs playing iStock_000016184925Maybe it’s the “real” that’s so difficult to put into words. You can stand in a zoo close to lions and elephants, and cheetahs and giraffes, but seeing these same magnificent animals in the wild —sometimes so close that we could actually hear a baby cheetah “purr” and could almost reach out and touch her—IS difficult to put into words, or capture in a photograph. It IS real, it’s their home, and we are there to share a moment in our lives with them, see where they live, watch how they spend their days and nights, in the wilds of Botswana’s Okavango Delta.

4. Kwara cheetah DSCN0038 WPAbove all the other places in the world I have traveled (and that includes all 7 continents!), I’ve learned on my dozens of trips to Africa that being on the continent always helps me gain a new perspective. I reclaim that feeling of wonder when I look out over vast herds of animals and all-encompassing, huge blue skies. There are no lights from any major city to interfere, so the Milky Way and stars are so bright that they light your way in the dark, and the Southern Cross is easily visible in the black night sky.

silhouettes of elephantsOur sense of wonder is so often lost in our everyday lives, and I find it again when I am in Africa. It IS hard to put into words, but when I come home I understand, as I am bombarded with the news, the seriousness of our lives at home and the world situation. Not everyone feels this way, but I love NOT having access to what’s going on at home, … if only for 2 weeks.

Being in Africa makes me want to talk less, to be quiet and just listen to the sounds of hippos grunting, birds singing, frogs tinkling like tiny bells, lions roaring in the distance to claim their territorial rights. When we awake in the wee hours of the morning for our first game drive, there is absolute silence—a quiet so powerful that it often makes us uncomfortable because we are so accustomed to noise and idle chatter in our daily lives.
23a. lebala lions squareAfrica, a continent so vast that the United States fits into it 4 times, and so diverse with its thousands of different tribes and languages. The continent where humankind was born and animals still live in the wild the way they have forever.

Yes, it’s VERY difficult to describe a trip to Africa. How do we put this into words and explain it to family and friends? Maybe just keeping it in our hearts, realizing how lucky we are to have been able to have such an incredible experience, and trying to live our lives in more meaningful ways for ourselves and others—one moment and one day at a time—will suffice.

See our 2016 Botswana “Wing” Safari and live YOUR dream!