March 3rd marks a very special day, World Wildlife Day. Today we celebrate the animals of the world, many of whom you’ll be fortunate enough to see on safari. To honor the animals of Africa, we come to you with an incredible firsthand account from Thomson staffer, Brittany.
As is customary here at Thomson Safaris, when a staffer returns home from safari, they are immediately flooded with questions the moment they step through the door. For Brittany, the beaming smile on her face said it all – she had an extraordinary experience with Africa’s wondrous wildlife.
The Coolest Cats in the Serengeti
First up on Brittany’s list? The cool, calm and collected lion.
“The way I saw lions was really cool,” Brittany recalled. “We saw two male lions right in front of our truck; we were basically in the passing lane for 40 minutes, just hanging out with them. At one point, they were only about six feet away.”
Despite the sheer proximity to these ferocious felines, Brittany had no fear.
“I felt really safe, honestly; there was no point that I felt like we were too close in the vehicle,” she said. “These lions just did not care about us humans. They’re so confident, so ‘top of the food chain.’”
As she recalled, her safari group saw a pride of lions, cubs included. She also witnessed some pure relaxation moves from these cool cats, who lounged high up in the trees, dangling from branches.
Up Close and Personal with the Giraffes
Next up? The beautiful, graceful giraffe.
“We saw a ton of giraffes in the Eastern Serengeti Nature Reserve,” Brittany said. “We got to see them just walking around. They’re the most graceful things. It looks like they’re running in slow motion.”
Standing tall at approximately 18 feet, these are truly striking creatures to see move across the grass. Better yet? Brittany describes the true bliss she felt walking amongst these giants, something you can only do in Thomson’s 10,000-acre private nature reserve.
Hippos Out of Water
While of course, it’s hard to select a favorite animal sighting, Brittany says she was most excited to see a hippopotamus. Weighing in at 3,000 pounds, the hippo is approximately the weight of a small car! The sheer size of these semiaquatic mammals left Brittany speechless.
“When I went to camp, the staff was asking me what I really wanted to see on safari and my answer was hippos,” Brittany said. “The camp staff was quite confident I would see hippos, and that we did…Seeing hippos out of the water was a real highlight for me.”
Elephants: From Baby to Bull
Another defining moment for trip manager, Brittany? The largest land mammal on the planet, the elephant.
“We had some really amazing elephant sightings in the Serengeti,” Brittany said. “One was a baby elephant, just a few months old, reaching its tiny trunk up to its mother, who was crunching on the bark of an acacia tree.”
Brittany described another moment, where they saw an older bull elephant drinking from a puddle a few feet away from their vehicle, all by himself.
“He was huge and totally unbothered by us watching him! We had him all to ourselves—there were no other safari vehicles around. It was a pretty lucky, totally unbelievable sighting.”
A New Perspective
While witnessing Tanzania’s wildlife from both a safari vehicle and on foot were both life-changing experiences for Brittany, there’s nothing quite like seeing the Serengeti from the sky.
“Once you get to the balloon, you just realize how unbelievably peaceful it is,” Brittany said. “There are no other vehicles. You feel like you’re floating.”
From hundreds of feet up, she says she truly appreciated how incredible the world’s wildlife really is – so join us in honoring them on World Wildlife Day.