A John X Safaris experience for over 100?
Contributed by Cindi McNair, proud new member of the She Safari Sisterhood
I have not hunted game my entire life. So I was certainly not a lifelong hunter who dreamed of going on safari as the ultimate adventure. My husband Mike and I were introduced to “safaris” through our good friends Chris and Martie Petersen. Mike and Chris met in a goose blind many years ago, and they have been hunting together ever since. While sharing drinks by the fire in their trophy room, the Petersen’s have spent many a night retelling the tales of their African adventures with John X Safaris.
The sessions in the Petersen’s safari room always seemed to end the same way: “You guys should go on safari … why don’t you join us!” While the trophies and tales of their safaris created visions of Africa, my husband always responded the same way: “Africa is just too far … I can’t stand a plane ride that long.” And this was a hunter talking … one who quite literally grew up hunting as a kid.
What my husband Mike did not know is what I have on my “Bucket List”. On that list of lifetime achievements, one of my top things to do was: “Ride an elephant in the wild”. After four years of “drinking about safaris” with the Petersen’s, they began to get the upper hand. When Chris mentioned that John X Safaris customize their safaris to visitors individual needs … and can even book elephant rides … I was hooked! Let’s just say, when wives set their sights on Africa, they have ways of convincing their husbands that no flight could be too long, especially when there are elephants to ride on the other end.
So plans were made for the Petersen’s and McNair’s to go on that mystical adventure called a “safari” in the US summer of 2013. And I have to admit, a major part of the fun was all the planning and preparation. Of course my husband had to practice shooting from “sticks” and plan which trophies to hunt. They even convinced me to participate in shooting practice. I have done some target shooting, so it was fun to learn how to shoot a rifle. Although, I was not convinced I would actually hunt in Africa.
“Wilson” goes to Africa …
Professionally, I am the Director of a large senior living community, where 150 independent, educated seniors live. Once the story got out that I was going on safari, all the residents wanted to “participate”. They were insistent that I brought back plenty of photos so we could re-enact a fun Safari Night together, and they could experience our safari through pictures.
I’m not exactly sure how I came up with the idea, but as I began to picture our Safari Night, I didn’t want it to be just a bunch of pictures running as slides. I wanted a story to tell, with some fun and from a different perspective. So, by sure coincidence I found a little bendable figure symbolizing “Joy”. He was it … he would be my African safari and photo buddy.
A special shout out to my PH, Carl van Zyl, who was more than our guide … he and his family became our friends. Ranger, Kelly, is simply the “best” who will show you Africa like no other. Thanks to friends old and new who made our first safari to South Africa a trip of a lifetime. And finally, I thank my husband Mike, he was my true champ! He gave me my elephant ride, and didn’t complain for one minute about the length of the flight home!
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