Nicole points to a pride of lions during a wildlife drive through Serengeti National Park
In a way, safari is impossible to sum up. It’s not just any one thing, it’s a series of amazing, unforgettable moments, each rich in their own specific ways.
When Nicole recently returned from her African safari, we asked her not to sum up her trip, but to tell us more about her absolute favorite moment.
Imagine you’re back in Tanzania, in the middle of your most amazing memory. Where are you?
Oooh, it’s hard to pick just one favorite place. Okay, I’m in the northern Serengeti, near the Kenyan border. The land there just spreads out forever.
What do you see?
The landscape is lush, greener than I expected, and teeming with life. And the sky! It’s huge—everywhere you look, it’s wide open space. I can see for what feels like hundreds of miles in every direction, which is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before (I’m a city girl).
In the distance, a pride of about 20 lions is relaxing in the shade of a huge acacia tree.
I’m cheating here, but in another couple hours, I’ll see two male leopards fighting over a kill, and about a hundred wildebeest pounding across the plains. Everywhere you look, the world is truly wild, in a way that’s just breathtaking.
What does it smell like?
You wouldn’t think it would be noteworthy, but the whole Serengeti smelled clean. Fresh, kind of, with just a trace of dust on the wind.
What sounds are in the air?
I can hear the lowing of a far-off herd of wildebeest; it sounds almost exactly like cattle mooing. As we get nearer to the pride of lions, I hear one of them sneeze. And all the while, the wind is rustling through the grasses, making a sound almost like rain on pavement.
What’s running through your head?
The main thing is this sense of how small you are. The sky is so huge, it makes you realize that you’re a tiny little speck, which is actually a really peaceful realization. This sounds corny, but it made me feel really at one with nature.
The majesty of the Serengeti
Photo: Thomson Safaris staffer, Nicole Giuliano
What made you choose this as your most memorable moment on safari?
I think a huge part of it was everyone on the trip’s energy that day. We’d spent a couple days in the Eastern Serengeti Nature Refuge already, but this was our first glimpse of Serengeti National Park, and it’s what we’d all been waiting to see. Everyone was excited, and full of positive energy, and with Mohammed and Leonard as guides, all of us were laughing pretty much nonstop. Those guys are so funny.
But beyond that, the park just took my breath away. It’s everything you’re hoping it will be and more. There are so many animals everywhere you look, and the land feels never-ending. You have this realization that you’re really and truly in the heart of the wild, and for me, at least, that was awe-inspiring.