Go for the Wildlife, Return With Friends

Written by Thomson Safaris

Most people embark on their first safari with some pretty high expectations; it’s a trip into a different world, where the landscapes, wildlife, and people are like nothing you’ve ever seen before.

For most people, though, those expectations don’t include “making several lifelong friendships.”

But that’s exactly what happened on one Thomson safari back in September of 2009. Though all 14 travelers got along well, 10 of them—Pete and Judy Rubin, Michelle George, Chris Brown, Trudy Marsolini, Ann Dickerson, Gary and Jen Devereaux, and Shelly and Jerry Fisher—just clicked. According to Pete, “we really had the right chemistry; we all loved to travel, loved wildlife and the outdoors, and just enjoyed each other’s company. We may have met by chance, but we became friends for life!”

Once they returned to the states, they didn’t want to see those new friendships fade, so everyone stayed in touch via e-mail. That led to a reunion at Jerry and Shelly’s home in Chicago, a whale-watching trip in Boston, and a sunny stay in Jupiter, Florida. While not everyone could attend every event, at least a few members of the original safari group got together almost monthly.

But there are reunions and there are reunions. And as these friends knew firsthand, nothing compares to the experience of a safari.

So they planned another with the help of (who else) the Thomson Safaris team!

They designed their custom itinerary to return them to favorite parks in the north before heading to Ruaha and Selous further south. The second safari was different, in that they knew exactly what they wanted to see. According to Pete, “all our expectations were met. We got to see endangered black rhino in the Ngorongoro crater and a wild dog pack in Selous, we saw a cheetah chase and a newborn giraffe, and even went boating with hippo in Selous!”

They also got an opportunity we only offer to repeat customers, our famous animal-riding safari:

Ride a zebra in Tanzania!

Trudy demonstrates the preferred steering method when riding zebra bareback

Ride through the Great Migration on a Wildebeest!

Jen (left) preparing for her famed “elephant-back handstand”
Judy (right) really wanted to experience the migration up-close

Ride a giraffe in Tanzania!

Shelly wanted to get to an even higher vantage-point than our pop-up roofs offer

Pet Waterbuck in Tanzania!

Ann hanging out with some defassa waterbuck

Okay, as you might have guessed by now, there isn’t ACTUALLY an animal-riding safari. But it’s clear from these photos (doctored or not), that this crew had as good a time on their second safari as they did on their first!

Pete speaks for everyone when he says “some of our best travel memories have been with each other, and we really look forward to many more!”