Safaris are often described with visuals of the magnificent sights to be seen, but it is the sounds on safari that bring the experience home.

There are the innocent sounds I call them of the hippos blowing bubbles in the river, the birds chirping to one another, or the snorting of the rhinos as they inhale their way through a smorgasbord of grass, but it is the other sounds, the primal sounds that become your compass and help remind you where you really are.

Out on our first game drive in the Shaba Reserve we came upon a lion who was devouring the ostrich she had taken down the night before. As we were only 6 feet away and although the rancid smell of the ostrich was overpowering, I became completely focused on getting some good pictures from this amazing moment until that sound. The sound accompanying the visual I saw through my lens of the lion ripping apart the rib cage of the ostrich. That bone ripping/cracking sound woke me up to the realization we were not in a zoo, there was no fence, and we were only 6 feet from one of the most dangerous carnivores in the world! That sound brought it all home.

Just a side note but you can’t help but learn so much about the wildlife and social hierarchy of the animal kingdom on a safari. For example did you know elephants are not only vegetarians, they eat Acacia trees? Acacia trees are nothing other than spiny looking bark covered with long thorns and teeny tiny little leaves that the Giraffe’s eat but it’s the sound of the elephants eating them that is something right out of Jurassic Park! Elephants also can’t digest their food, so it is a little known fact that if you plan to run your car tire over their dung, you will need a spare tire.

Moving on, a few days later we arrive in the mecca of wildlife, scenery, and a spans of space truly out of this world, Kenya’s Maasai Mara. Our camp was perched up in the hills of the reserve and as the animals wandered freely in and out of the camp, we are promised an intimate and unique wildlife experience and stay. That night while fast asleep I am awoken by a Jurassic Park sounding crunching/munching noise that sounds like it is right beside my bed. Frozen in fear, I whisper to my friend, “psst, psst…is ‘that’ in our tent?” The whisper came back “no”, rather it was right outside our tent; a zipped piece of canvas. Once again, I am reminded I am not in a zoo, there is no fence and that acacia tree eating wild animal is just steps away. Ahhhh, the amazing sounds on safari 🙂

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