The Trip of a Lifetime

After 3 flights and more than 30 hours of travel, it’s fair to wonder, “Were we really there?”

But we really were.  And we have the pictures to prove it.

IMAGE_209The Mala Mala game reserve in South Africa.

My wife and I were privileged to be among a group of 24 people invited by NBC Connecticut President and General Manager Ric Harris to travel to South Africa (via London) to visit Cape Town and go on safari at Mala Mala.

We split into four groups, each with their own guide, and went off into the bush at 5:30 in the morning and 4pm for three-hour excursions.  Our guide was Bens.

IMAGE_246Bens is a native of the area.  When we asked him if he ever left, he told us he’d been to Johannesburg.  Once.  To go to church.

Bens and his wife, who also works at Mala Mala, have 2 children.  They work for 6 weeks straight, then go home for two weeks.

And no, the rifle was never used.  But it was loaded, because you never know.  Bens has the scars to prove it.  And he also had the expertise to get us five feet away from this.

IMAGE_234We asked Bens how safe it was to get so close.  He pointed to a carcass hanging in a nearby tree, and told us the leopard had just consumed another inhabitant of the bush, and was in the process of digesting its meal.  It wouldn’t be going anywhere for a while.  Bens found the leopard because he sees things we don’t see.  He senses what we can’t.  He is highly trained, and highly skilled.

He knows the order of nature.  For instance, that bird on the giraffe’s face?  It’s doing the big guy a favor by picking off parasites.

IMAGE_215We saw hippos in the drink, and rhinos taking a drink…

IMAGE_308IMAGE_322Zebras posed and lions lazed…

IMAGE_263IMAGE_282And always…always…befriend the guide with the gun.  Because you never know.

IMAGE_328Were we roughing it at Mala Mala?  That picnic basket you see at the bottom right of the picture is a hint.

To be continued.

About Gerry

I've been covering Connecticut news and sports since 1974. I know, I don't look that old.
This entry was posted in People, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to The Trip of a Lifetime

  1. Cathy Hattin says:

    Awesome! You are one lucky fellow to travel to these exotic places.

  2. Wendy says:

    Was wondering to what part of the world you had flown. Been missing you during the play-offs which have nearly done me in. What a thrilling trip for you and your wife! WOW!! The pictures are spectacular, too. Welcome back for the World Series! :)

  3. Jane Reinecke says:

    The trip of a lifetime is right! I am so envious, but so happy for you and your bride that you were able to go. Thanks for sharing some gorgeous photos. Hopefully there will be more?!

  4. AMAZING!! Thanks for sharing with so much insight!

  5. Barbara Hill says:

    Nice opportunity for you!! It’s one of my bucket list adventures ….Great pics!

  6. Geoff Crosley says:

    Thanks for sharing Gerry! Pictures are great, and what a wonderful experience. Have missed you on air. Hope there are more pictures to follow.

  7. Mark says:

    WOW, what a trip. Need more pictures

  8. amyparmenter says:

    Ger – Knew you would love this. So glad. Can’t wait to hear/see more.

  9. Diane Walsh says:

    As Oprah would say….this is “AHA ” moment to be there ! These pictures are spectacular ! Enjoy the rest of your trip & say hello to Kathy! ( her South Classmate )

  10. Jay B. says:

    It was for sure the trip of your lifetime. I bet you have some powerful and amazing stories to tell thanks to your expedition. Those pictures are just gorgeous. Wish there were more of them. Good luck in your next travelling experiences.

  11. Tony Castagno says:

    Very cool!

  12. sula1968 says:

    So glad that you enjoyed visiting our beautiful country, no doubt you will hold the memories dear always

  13. Diane Wales-Baillie says:

    WOW thats so cool – the images are brilliant – great moments enjoy!

  14. Rockwatching says:

    Wonderful place, just came back from south Africa – on a safari of sorts http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMFsH6TyClg

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