Super Safari: Lions, Leopards and Elephants, Oh My!

armchair adventure safari

By Evelyn B. Kelly, PhD 

Many people are fascinated by safaris, Prince William and Kate Middleton being among them. However, their interest in the environment differs from legendary hunters like Theodore Roosevelt and Ernest Hemingway, who were interested in big game for trophies. Hemingway, an adventurer at heart, helped popularize the idea of a “safari.”  

Various national parks in Africa offer safaris, including the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, and the Masai Mara National Reserve in Tanzania. We are in the Kruger National Park in South Africa.  

One key to a successful safari is seeing various wildlife in their natural habitats. The ultimate goal is to spot and observe the “Big Five” animals in the wild: lions, leopards, elephants, rhinoceroses, and Cape buffaloes. These animals are the most popular among hunters. Luckily, we spotted all five! 

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We climbed into the jeep; the natural beauty of the landscape was striking. The savannah’s vast expanses of golden grasslands, scattered clusters of trees such as the acacia and baobab, and the play of light and shadows against the horizon made the trip come alive. Our guide talked about the behavior of different animals, such as a herd of elephants or a placid Cape buffalo at a watering hole. Photography is also important for a successful safari, as it allows for capturing incredible wildlife shots. During this safari, we spotted animals interacting with each other. Zebras and wildebeest hang out together; giraffes spread their front legs to drink from a pond alongside hippos and their babies. We have a shot of a lion enjoying its prey after a successful kill.  

To plan a successful safari, research the best options available, as it will be a significant investment of time and money. Look up “best safaris for seniors over 65” in a search engine to find suggestions and request brochures from different providers. You can also speak to your travel agent about your options.