Donna Carlson

Roseland, New Jersey Travel Agent

Amazing Kenya

Seeing the annual migration in Kenya was truly one of my most memorable life experiences. We flew into Nairobi and went to the Serengeti and saw more lions than could shake a stick at. The birds were amazing. And there were lines of wildebeests that stretched for miles—as far as you could see.

It was very dry, and we’d be driving along and suddenly, a group of animals would come into focus. For example, one time we came upon some hippos. In the water they look adorable, although they can be quite dangerous. Another time, we came upon a group of elephants. Their size takes your breath away. And they are right there--not behind any barriers! We could almost touch the lions. They just look at you and go back to their lives.

It was reassuring to see how protective our guides and the locals were of the animals. Poachers are a problem. Tourism supports the foundation that protects the animals, so you can feel good about being there.

One of the most amazing things was stargazing at night. You’re in the southern hemisphere and sky is lousy with stars that feel so close you think you can reach up and pull them down. I can still picture that night sky!

Another highlight was meeting local people. We were given a list of things we could bring before leaving home: tee shirts, pencils, paper... everyone in our group brought a backpack of stuff which we brought to a local village. People were so curious about us, they actually wanted to touch our skin because they didn’t know how white skin felt!

We also got to see Maasai perform those dances you see on TV documentaries. It was amazing. The men danced, and then the women. I got pulled in by the women and joined them in what I believe was a fertility dance. I’m not sure if there’s anything to it, but two months later I was pregnant with my first son!

I love South Africa as well; you see amazing animals up close and Cape Town is beautiful, but there’s nothing like the overwhelming numbers of creatures you see during the migration in the Serengeti. 

Wherever you go and however you do it, being in wild, “in the African bush,” is incredible. I would like every single person to experience that. And you actually can do it on almost any budget.