Story and Images by Gene Taylor
Since the mid 1990's I have made as many adventures to the African Savannah as time and circumstances would allow.
I'm frequently asked why I keep returning to the Serengeti Plains of Africa, for which I have an endless set of reasons. It usually holds true that anyone that asks my why has likely never set foot on the continent. Those who have been usually know the answer, so instead, they just point to my good fortune of having been many times. So when asked why I keep going back, my answer is rarely just a soundbite, which is also true in this blog post.
On Returning To The Serengeti...
"Acacia Tree" Wall Art By Gene's Journey
It's not just the sheer number or drama created by the wildlife in their natural habitat, the dramatic landscapes, or wonderful people I meet. And it's not just the fantastic safari camps, top-notch service, or truly unforgettable game drives. As remarkable as all of them are, individually they are all the best of the best; it is their collective appeal that continues to draw me back, time after time.
As the orchestra of the savannah comes together, they form a symphony of color, light, and motion under the vast Southern sky. It's brilliantly blue by day and sizzles with the electricity of a billion stars from the Milky Way as it cuts through the pitch black night sky.
It's a feeling, and when you are there, it's palpable.
Envision a flat plateau of tall golden grass. Water cut its way through the landscape to form an escarpment and steep cliffs leading to a dry riverbed. Imagine yourself standing at its edge looking down; a hundred feet below, you see meandering gazelle grazing the late afternoon away. Behind them, a bit further into the distance is a small herd of wildebeest. Their signature snorting and grumbling are unmistakable as they graze. By their side, zebra and impala forage for green shoots that make their way through the parched soil. Further in the distance, a family of elephants drinks from a small watering hole, their hitchhiker companions, snow-white egrets perched on the backs.
The golden hour is upon you as the setting sun casts brilliant yellow and orange streaks across the sky and deep shadows across the rugged land. A lone acacia tree stands tall over the gently swaying golden grasslands - all is at peace.
"Wildebeest On The Move" Wall Art by Gene's Journey
At the edge of the herd, you see a small cloud of white dust appear out of nowhere. Your guide looks through binoculars and then your safari vehicle begins to slowly drift toward the apparent commotion. The cloud of dust intensifies and rises sharply. Suddenly as if ordered by a drill sergeant, the entire herd begins to part. Your heart skips a beat. Animals everywhere seem to dart back and forth. There is no rhyme or reason to their desperate exit, just chaos.
Your guide screams, LION, and floors the gas.
You head toward the mass confusion of wild animals running in every direction as if their lives depended upon it. It does! You arrive at the center of the commotion in time to see a graceful male lion in full running stride, his outstretched paws raking across the hind legs of its intended prey. Your heart is pounding with excitement as he closes in. His first attempts miss the mark of his prey's neck, and the beast seems like it will escape with its life this time. But the lion is resilient and resolute. And then, just like it began, the commotion stops, and the dust settles. As you get closer, you see the lion lying in the grass, panting wildly. His chest heaving, the chase has him winded beyond any further movement. You look around to see if his hunt was successful, your heart still pounding in anticipation.
"Black Mane Male Lion On The Serengeti" Wall Art by Gene's Journey
Did the prey out run the predator, or will the lion and his pride eat well tonight?
There is only one way to know. You have to go!
And that is why I return to the African savannah as often as possible.
So camera in hand, this October I am headed back to Tanzania and the Serengeti for a unique and spectacular safari where we will, for the first time, spend a special three days shooting images with one of my favorite wildlife photographers and guides, Mohamed Hassan of Arusha, Tanzania.
The Walking Connection is hosting a 10-Day Wildlife Safari on the Serengeti on Oct. 27 - Nov. 5, 2021. We have blocked out just 3 days of the adventure to spend with one of my favorite nature photographers, Moodie Shots, a local resident, and a long-time professional naturalist guide. Most of our safari will follow our regular itinerary, and you only need whatever camera you plan to bring with you, so you don't need professional-level gear. Here is a link to the special page we set up for the three-day photography portion of the trip, along with all of the details of the itinerary during our stay.
I am available to answer any of your questions - or just to talk about travel in Africa - I love talking about our adventures there. If you are interested, drop me a line or give me a call. Gene Taylor: email@example.com or +1 623.561.0846.
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"Road To Shangri La" Wall Art By Gene's Journey