Posted on Wednesday, February 14th, 2007
Our riding safari in Kenya is certainly the trip of a life time. The horses are magnificent, the rides are exciting, the staff is always willing to help, the camping is luxurious, the terrain is beautiful, but more than anything the wildlife viewing is unparalleled. Witnessing the enormity of life in East Africa from the back of a horse is a pleasure that can not be put into words. When on horseback I always get a feeling of being alive and a part of the environment that I do not get while riding in a vehicle. Maybe it is the slight element of risk; of not being separated from life by a metal door, fences, or a television screen that makes it such a magical experience.
Every safari brings its own special wildlife memories and on my recent trip our peaceful encounter with a large herd of elephant stands out. When we first spotted the herd we were upwind and the smell of horses (not a familiar scent to them) can scare elephant so we carefully circled around until we were downwind. Elephant have a keen sense of hearing and smell but horrible eye sight so once we were in the right position we quietly rode towards the herd until we were within one hundred meters.The group then stopped and both horses and people watched as the elephant quietly moved from tree to tree picking at branches here and there as they went. The elephant had no idea we were near and carried on with life as usual. We just watched for a few minutes until they slowly disappeared into the bush. I am always fascinated by how quiet a herd of elephant can be. These creatures weigh as much as 14,000 pounds and yet they move so gracefully and effortlessly that it is actually quite easy to overlook them, despite their size. With time and patience you notice amazing things and just watching that herd of elephant will certainly remain a fond memory for years to come.