Prior to starting Wild Rainbow African Safaris, I had only traveled to Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Uganda, Madagascar and South Africa. These were all destinations I explored on my own, soaking up every single bit of flora and fauna tidbits I could in 2-3-week periods of time. Then the fateful July of 2004 was upon us and Wild Rainbow African Safaris began to take shape with 20 trusting first guests to Tanzania. Since then, I have taken over 400 guests to 14 countries, the above plus Rwanda, Mozambique, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo and the Seychelles.
I continue to be blown away by the spirit of the people and resilience of the wild areas. Human populations and governments aren’t always the kindest nor forward thinking toward wilderness areas or the very wildlife they are so dependent upon for tourism dollars and other resources. However, my observation is that nature is her own best advocate and forgives repeatedly. This is one of the many aspects that I not so subtly share with my guests thankfully, I have met countless individuals who are profoundly dedicated wilderness and wildlife advocates.
People have asked me over the years how on earth I got into guiding guests on safari. My best and only answer is “completely by accident”. It was a dream I never knew I had, but all the clues were there from my youth onwards. My desperate need to “be” in nature for reflection and escape have been part of my life from my early formative years. Playing with my childhood friend behind the boxwoods in the yard, to hanging out with the cows at my family’s farm. My Mama would get so upset with me when I went out to the pasture with my coloring books and just lie in the grass near the herd. ‘Cosco’ the bull never, ever seemed phased by my presence. I simply could not understand my Mama’s concern until I learned in my adulthood that bulls can be very aggressive. Ha! Not to me.
There are countless stories of my connection to the refuge of nature. It is this connection that I hope to (re)awaken in my guests. During the past 15 years as a company and 21 years of personal travel to the continent, my intent to send guests home fulfilled and as ambassadors of Africa has continued to grow. And if not recognized while on safari, I often receive notes from guests long after the trip sharing an anecdote of how they did something completely out of their character regarding something “naturish”, which to me is really actually natural, and a major “win” for nature. Sometimes, it is simply that they are more deeply engaged in their own backyards and curious about the wilderness in everyday activities or perhaps by being more present and more inquisitive about the 4, 6 and 8 legged guests that visit, uninvited.
As we share our reflections in celebration of our 15 years, I invite you to share your own stories with us or just take the time to contemplate the role of nature in your life. What is that feeling you have when in nature? What was nature to you as a young person? Where is nature in your current life: the yard, the park, the patch of soil near your office, etc.? And of course, share with us some of your favorite memories of Africa, pictures too. We love hearing from you.
Thank you for being a friend to Wild Rainbow African Safaris.