Fabled for being the five most dangerous and difficult animals to hunt, the Big Five are now the most sought-after animals to capture on a point-and-shoot. Whilst sitting firmly at the top of every safari checklist, nature’s most magnificent animals are as elusive as ever before, making tracking them an exhilarating and unforgettable adventure. Home to all five showstoppers, the national parks of South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia and Botswana, are excellent destinations for a chance to see them all. On foot, by horseback or in the comfort of a 4x4, traversing the plains of sub Saharan Africa in search of these celebrated animals is the undisputed original safari experience.
Blog: Safari from a first timer’s point of view
Capturing the spirit of adventure that Africa is famous, our Marketing Executive Suzie recounts her first time on safari in Kenya’s famous Mara Reserve. Read how Suzie caught the safari bug…
Flying in over the plains of the Masai Mara on a 16 seater plane, I was filled with anticipation for my first safari – a moment I had been dreaming of since I first set foot in the Imagine offices. I was not disappointed; our whirlwind weekend at Saruni was a completely different experience to anything I had done before and quickly shot to the top of my travel hall of fame!
We were met on the airstrip by a gaggle of Maasai warriors, whose enthusiasm to introduce us to their world was evident from the off. A spread of tea, coffee and delicious pastries was laid out for us under the shade of an acacia tree, giving us a chance to regain composure before the real adventure got underway. As we piled into the open vehicles, I had the good fortune of sharing my first safari with a dozen of Imagine’s most passionate Africa specialists, not to mention the Maasai guides too.
As a team we had clocked up more weeks on safari than I care to count, but for the few of us that were novices, we couldn’t have asked for a better or more knowledgeable group of people to join us on our voyage of discovery… And the Maasais had nuggets of knowledge to impress even the most seasoned safari-goers.
What followed was a perfect first taste of safari, which left me both overwhelmed and wanting more. There were three things that really struck me about the Masai Mara. Firstly – it was so green! Of course we were there at the start of the emerald season, but nonetheless I had never seen sub-Saharan Africa look so, well, lush. We basked under the hot African sun but the vegetation that surrounded us looked like the heavens had been keeping it well watered too.
Secondly – the sheer volumes of wildlife. Everywhere we turned, there were zebras grazing, giraffes towering or warthogs waddling. We did not have to search for animals; we were simply surrounded by them. Finally – the freedom. In the Mara you are not restricted to driving on certain tracks, so long as the guides remain respectful to the animals and bush, they can drive anywhere. We roamed around the endless plains, pulling right up next to lions to get an intimate insight of a lioness caring for her cubs. And what’s more, the whole time we were there the only vehicles we saw were those of our team. It felt as though we had the whole Mara to ourselves – absolutely magical!
After a tiring day out on safari we were welcomed to the lodge with a refreshing cocktail and we just had time to squeeze in a massage before the evening’s entertainment got underway. We were joined at the campfire by a dozen Maasais, who charmed us with their traditional songs and dances. Over dinner we discussed the day’s game and planned our early morning start to catch the best light the next day. Retiring to our tents at the end of the evening, we climbed into bed to find a hot water bottle that had been warming the linen for our arrival. It is touches like these that made the whole safari experience so wonderful and unlike any other holiday I had been on. Flying home at the end of the trip, I had experienced my first taste of safari and had caught the bug!