Be Back Whenever


“A few of our favorite things …”

Now that the trip is coming to an end, we reflected over a gin and tonic about the good and the bad of the last 8 months. For what it’s worth …

  • Favorite “normal” places we visited – Seychelles (Mark);  Split (Susan)
  • Favorite adventure – Rwanda trekking with gorillas
  • Least favorite “adventure” – hike across Le Curieuse Island in the Seychelles
  • Least favorite town – Bundi, India
  • Least favorite “things” during the trip – Food poisoning (Susan); Bad tour guide in Bundi and Kota

Best place for a drink

  • Beer in Serengeti
  • India Pacific train
  • Catamaran to MONA in Hobart
  • Beer while watching the total lunar eclipse from the rooftop in Bundi
  • Wine on the twilight sailing yacht in Fremantle

Best place we stayed (Other than with friends)

  • Meridien in the Seychelles with an oceanfront room
  • Sheraton in Koh Samui – best A/C of all!
  • Meridien in Koh Samui with a plunge pool

Worst Hotel – Bundi Vilas Halewi

Best Hotel Lounge – Bangkok Westin

Best flight – Munich to Bangkok in First Class on Thai Air

Worst travel day – Port Macquarie to Hobart – 4 hours of flying time turned into a 14 hour trip

Best restaurant

  • Steak at the Jail House Inn, Launceston
  • Mexican food at Terminal 21, Bangkok after 5 months of no Mexican food

Best restaurant view – Indique in Jodphur

Worst food – Colonel’s Retreat, Delhi – Susan’s food poisoning location!

Worst roads – India, hands down!

Rudest person on the trip – UK couple on the train in India

Weirdest person we ran into on the trip – the Indian guy who stared at us for 4 hours on the Indian train

“Glad it wasn’t me” event – Aileen not getting her luggage for 5 days on the safari

Great coincidence –  Aileen didn’t have her phone charger and she used her phone to take pictures. Mark had his camera since he used his phone for pictures.  He loaned Aileen the camera but didn’t have the charger for it.  Annie from Tennessee had a charger that fit the camera! All was well in the photography world.

Unexpected experiences

  • Twilight sailing in Fremantle on a yacht and dinner at the Fresh Water Yacht Club
  • Seeing 2 kills in Serengeti by 3 lionesses. They killed 2 wildebeests
  • Landing in Mwanza, Tanzania, to clear immigration leaving Tanzania
  • Food Walks in Delhi and Jaipur

Little too close for comfort – the airline we flew in Tanzania crashed a plane into Ngorongoro Crater National Park just a few days after we used them

Illnesses – 4 colds (2 each) and 1 case of food poisoning and 1 sprained wrist

New friends and acquaintances

  • Avijet – Indian in Ranthambore NP from CA – works for EAS
  • Ana – met in Split – anesthesiologist from Singapore/Malaysia/Cambridge
  • Nora and Juhis – Finland met in Seychelles
  • Rob and Justin; Sonya and Graham – Australians met in Split
  • Peter from Melbourne via Rob and Justin
  • Gayle and Mark – Sydney
  • Margarida – Sydney Sheraton clerk from Portugal
  • Ben and Belinda – from Geneva – met in Golden Monkey trek
  • Uta – from Germany met in Tanzania
  • Ryan from Malta – met in Edinburgh
  • Clifford – from Madagascar – doing laundry in Bangkok
  • Suchin Shah – from South Carolina – sells RV’s
  • Per and Lise – from Norway
  • Debbie and Tim – from London

Safari Tales #7 and #8

Safari Tale #7 Dancing Hyena – On Day 2 we had an optional walking tour in the Serengeti in the morning with the guides and a park ranger.  We chose to do the walk along with Lee, Aileen, and Russ.  The tour was very interesting because the camp guide and ranger pointed different things like scat (translation: poop).  Hyena scat is white because they will literally eat anything, bones, glass, metal, etc.


This guy was out for his own walk and posed for some pictures.


The wildebeest migration was on from north to south and millions were on the move.


During the walk, we saw packs of zebras just hanging out.

As we were walking, Mark asked the guide, “Can we see a Hyena den?”.  Mark thought the guide replied, “I will show you the Hyena dance”.  Mark said to Lee, “Are they really doing a dance later?”  Lee said “No, he said we will see a Hyena DEN, not DANCE.”  That became a source of amusement every time we saw hyenas and most likely it becomes a t-shirt when we get back.  In all fairness to Mark, some of accents were a bit hard to understand.


This hyena, known as the scavenger since they eat anything and everything.

 hyena den

This den was created by aardvarks, used by warthogs, and then became a hyena home as it is abandoned sequentially and taken over by the next animal.

Safari Tale #8 Favorite sayings of our guides – Willie was the oldest guide on the trip and had been doing this job for 37 years.  When we would be stopped next to lions or cheetahs, Willie would say to Mohdy (a young guide), “When I was your age, I would run out there and grab one of cubs and bring it back to the vehicle”.  Or “When I was your age, I would run out there and grab one of the lion’s tails and run back before I got caught. Go ahead and try it”.  One time Mohdy replied, “You should go try it now because you have lived a long time.  I still have many years to live.”

Cheetah and baby

Momma cheetah and her cub just looking at us.  No one was getting near her.  She’s the fastest land animal, no matter how calm she looks here.

Safari Tales #6 – Take down by lionesses

Safari Tale #5 Take Down – Mark and Susan normally rode with JoJo, Ann, Lee, and Aileen in the safari vehicle. Mark kept saying that he wanted to see a “Take Down” (e.g. a lioness kill a Wildebeest or an Impala).  Mark knew it is pretty rare to see a kill, but he was still hoping for one.  Our guide, Willie, said people hope for a kill, but often when they do see a kill they start crying.  The joke for several days whenever we saw a lioness was, “I want to see a take down”.

On Day 5 in the Central Serengeti, low and behold, we saw one lioness stalking a herd of wildebeest. Then two more lionesses got involved in the hunt.  Suddenly, the first lioness takes off and everyone thinks she started too early, but the other two lionesses cut off the wildebeests’ escape route and the hunt was on.  We saw two kills in the same hunt.  Willie, the head guide, said one kill was rare; you almost never see two kills in the same hunt.  No one cried when the kills happened, but JoJo and Ann were hoping the wildebeests would all escape the lions.  “Take Down” was our motto after the kill.

This was definitely the highlight of the entire safari!

lion stalking

Lioness #1 was carefully and slowly stalking the wildebeest.

lioness getting ready to attack

The lioness was poised to start the attack.

Lioness chasing the wildebeests

This lioness is chasing one of the wildebeests. You can see the herd in the background.

wildebeest running away

This wildebeest was getting out of the way.

lioness missed

This is the lioness who missed the wildebeest she chased.

lioness with dead wildebeest

This lioness was successful on her take down. She’s standing next to the dead wildebeest in the grass.

After the kills, the lionesses headed back to their cubs to bring them to the kill.  We followed around to watch.  The lionesses and cubs didn’t appear at all phased by the vehicles watching them.

 lioness next to truck

This is out of focus but you can see how close the lionesses were to the vehicles.

Lioness and cubs next to safari vehicls

Mom found all the cubs and they started down the road.  These cubs belonged to all three of the lionesses but only one lioness went to retrieve them.

lion parade

They all calmly walked down the road with Mom taking a swat every once in a while to keep the cubs in line.

Lions on parade.

Lions on parade.

Lion cubs are just too cute!

lionesses and cubs in field

They all hung out under a tree or in a field for a bit before the lionesses sent the cubs off to the kill.

cub scratching the tree with family

This little guy needed to scratch the tree.

cubs playing on kill

The cubs were clearly not hungry since they played with the dead wildebeest, rolling over it and climbing on it.

lioness and cubs with kill

Mom finally tried to show them what to do with the kill.