WILDS OF AFRICA

Africa has been a dream of mine since I watched ‘I dreamed of Africa” starring Kim Basinger.

It came around at a time of painful life transitions. Before my journey, I worried my trip would be tainted with heartbreak, fear, and anxiety.

And I was right. And I felt all of it.

But it conspired in the most beautiful way. From the lands I wandered to the beautiful humans I met along the way, to the stories I heard, and the experiences I felt. Africa taught me there is beauty in the struggle.

travel africa

Africa can’t be captured by words or a lens. It can only be felt. 

It broke my heart. It healed my heart. It mended parts of me I could not see.

I found myself eye to eye with the magnificent of Africa.

I embraced the breath of elephants, touched the horn of a rhino, gazed into the eyes of a lion, held the African sun with a tower of giraffes, followed the shadow of a leopard, peed next to lion poop, explored with anti-poaching rangers, kissed a giraffe named Edd, listened to the music of zebras, fell in love with a cheetah, feared the crazy hippos, and witnessed the Great Animal Migration.

africa rhinos ole pejeta

Staring in awe as giants grace past, hearing roars in the night, smelling the dust from the golden soil … the poems earth writes upon the land. Vast swathes of the gently swaying grass and umbrella acacia trees form the habitat of the earth’s most captivating species.

we are all connected

Half an hour before sunset when the sky is ablaze golden and the air is fragrant of their kingdom.

The moment when your skin scents of dust and sun and your mind replays the day like an orchestra of the wild. You feel small and powerless as you see the stars shine out.

You are certain this is the way life should be.

lions conservation

With the rising of the sun, a magical beast appeared.

Majestic mane, powerful claws, and steely eyes accentuate their tenacity and prowess. The gaze from their golden piercing eyes will elevate your soul to acknowledge their kingship.

Symbol of valor, nobility, strength, and royalty. They are in deep peril. Sought after as a head on a wall, a skin on the floor, and bones for medicine.

The sun is setting on the survival of this species.

Lions have vanished from 26 countries where 200,000 use to roam. The current population is less than 20,000.

grevys zebra africa
africa giraffe rothschild
leopard africa
africa elephant Tim amboseli

How can more beauty be found in broken tusks than the grace of these gentle giants?

Why is our life more valuable than theirs? Because they don’t have hands to build roads? Because they can’t declare war? Because they don’t impose religion?

Their crime is that they exist.
Cursed for wearing ivory.

100 elephants are slaughtered a day.

Two-thirds of all animal species have been wiped out. Humans are rapidly destroying wildlife in a blood-soaked pursuit of false-power, ego, greed, and ignorance.

We are witnessing the Great Animal Extinction.

Light and Dust

A bond they hold so profoundly. Lead. Courage. Monumental. Born amidst the unforeseen.

I lived my entire life for this. Some journeys take you farther from where you come from, but closer to where you belong.

wild africa
wild africa

Light and Dust

A bond they hold so profoundly. Lead. Courage. Monumental. Born amidst the unforeseen.

I lived my entire life for this. Some journeys take you farther from where you come from, but closer to where you belong.

elephant aware rangers

Rangers are the crucial line of defense against poaching. ⠀

Every week, two rangers die in the line of duty protecting the wild. They work in harsh environments and hostile conditions. Often killed by the very animal they are trying to protect.

This is Ranger David who protected us while walking the vast landscapes of Africa. Fast friends, we became. He protects what he loves and his allegiance to the animals is beyond charming.

One of nature’s most awe-inspiring shows

Crocs in the water under the blazing sun. Tensions run high between the hungry crocodiles, nervous zebras, and the undecisive wildebeest.

It can take hours before the wildebeest cross the river. There will be many false starts. Maybe they saw a log that looked like a croc. Or the hippos gave them a dirty look. Their weird behavior can’t be defined.

When they finally cross, panic sets in. Trampling over one another mad-dashing for the bank, all awhile hungry crocodiles await … until finally … they all safely cross.

The Great Animal Migration

the great animal migration
the great animal migration

One of nature’s most awe-inspiring shows

Crocs in the water under the blazing sun. Tensions run high between the hungry crocodiles, nervous zebras, and the undecisive wildebeest.

It can take hours before the wildebeest cross the river. There will be many false starts. Maybe they saw a log that looked like a croc. Or the hippos gave them a dirty look. Their weird behavior can’t be defined.

When they finally cross, panic sets in. Trampling over one another mad-dashing for the bank, all awhile hungry crocodiles await … until finally … they all safely cross.

The Great Animal Migration

reticulated giraffe

Silent Extinction

A group of giraffes is known as a tower. Their grace and ungainly charm have you mesmerize of their every move. Did you know they sleep with their eyes open?

Giraffe populations have plummeted by 40% over the last 30 years. The US imported 40,000 giraffe parts over the past decade. There are fewer than 80,000 giraffes remaining in all of Africa.

save together rhinos
elephant nursery nairobi

Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Crowned for their 40-year work of protecting and rehabilitation orphaned elephants and successfully reintegration them back into the wild. All the keepers wear green and become the elephants new family. Elephants are color blind and only see red and green.

For $50 USD a year you can foster an elephant. You’ll have access to year-round viewings and receive an adoption certificate, and monthly updates on your elephant’s progress.

Adopt an Orphan
Mara Bush camp

Mara Bush Camp

Sleep under a tented canvas in the heart of the Maasai Mara Game Reserve overlooking pods of hippos. The camp is a silver-rated eco-tourism camp and fully solar powered. You won’t find any single-use plastic here.

Every day was like watching a theater of the wild. In the evening you can unwind at a campfire under the African stars listening to stories of faraway lands.

Umani Springs

Glamping at picturesque Umani. Private chef, monkeys, no wifi, crocodiles, and elephants. Relaxation delivered at a new level.

umani springs africa

Ithumba

Middle of nowhere. Wifi, phones … forget it. The beauty of being surrounded by vast untouched lands is indescribable.

ithumb africa

Africa, thank you for hiding poetry where you knew I would find it.

Words can barely narrate my encounter with Africa. I never actualized how profound it could be to see the shadows of the majestic until I found myself as a visitor in their natural world. Capturing their way of life.

We travel to lose ourselves so we can find ourselves. Memories are made and stories are written. There are moments that stay with you forever. Leaving a mark on your memory. You leave something behind and take something back.

Not all great voices are human. Every animal plays an integral role in the eco-system. Biodiversity is the health of our planet.

It’s our Planet. It’s their Planet.

deanna deshea wildlife photography
puff adder africa

AFRICA TRAVEL PACK LIST

When packing for a 2-3 week stay in Africa, pack light and neutral colored loose clothing. Bright blues and dark colors can attract mosquitoes and the deadly Tsetse fly. Every day, I would wash my clothes out in the sink or shower … so I always had a clean suitcase. Africa can be cold in the morning and very hot by afternoon, so dress in layers. I have provided some links below to the items I purchased or had for my trip.

CLOTHES
4 jeans/pants
1 short
4 long sleeves shirts
3 tank tops
4 t-shirts
yoga pants
2 dresses
1 skirt

light jacket
medium jacket (I packed a two-way bomber jacket – lululemon.com)
rain jacket
fleece or sweatshirt

flip flops or sandals
sneakers
high top hiking boots (covers the ankle)

4 hiking socks
2 bamboo socks (Boodywear)
3 light ankle sock for sneakers

safari/sun hat
warm beanie hat
swimsuit
2 large head scarfs (1 heavy, 1 light)

HERBS/MEDICATIONS
B1 (I started taking this two weeks before my travel 400mg a day)
Charcoal
Probiotics
Zinc
Ashwagandha root
Sleep aid (Melatonin)
Vitamin D (5,000 a day)
Magnesium
Loose leaf herbal teas
Pain reliever
Antibiotics (just in case)

TECHNOLOGY
Digital Zoom Camera (you can rent equipment from Lens Rental)
Walkie talkie
Extra phone charger
Extra camera batters
Laptop and extra hard drive (back up your photos every day!)
Charge bank
Travel Adaptor (Buy Here)
GoPro 4K for video

MISC
Hand sanitizer
Insulated coffee/tea mug
Life straw or water purifier bottle (Buy Here)
Comfy travel blanket
Travel utensils and food storage containers (I love Seed & Sprout)
Reusable shopping bag
Clothes washing soap
Backpack (lululemon.com)
Travel Insurance (I used World Nomads)
Insect repellent (I used Proven Repellent which is DEET free but has Picaridin which is just as effective as DEET without the neurotoxins)

BODY
Lavender oil
Tea tree oil
Coconut oil (I use Conscious Coconut – comes in a recyclable tube)
Body/cleansing wipes (I use biodegradable & toxic free from Beautycounter)

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