Our first really good sighting of lions was from the heights of our early morning hot air balloon flight over Kenya’s Maasai Mara Reserve. We were able to quietly trail these two female lions for a little while before they went into the brush and out of sight. Even from far away, it was easy to see that they were healthy and powerful and quite well fed. Clearly the top of the food chain.
In the first two hours of our first game drive in the Masai Mara Reserve in Kenya, we saw ostriches, zebras, a variety of gazelle, giraffes, cape buffalo, wilderbeests, a female lion and her juvenile cub, and my favorite, elephants. I would have been content after just this experience, but we still had ten more days of game viewing in Kenya and Tanzania. Could it really get much better?
Our first African safari – a dream come true. My husband and I had been planning this trip for over a year and had included all of our wish list items. The only optional excursion offered on our tour was a hot air balloon safari in the Masai Mara. We decided to opt in for this activity, though I was very apprehensive going into it. I have a huge fear of heights and I was not sure if I would be able to handle the ride without getting a bad case of vertigo. I was really torn, because this would be a once in a lifetime activity and there was no turning back once it started.
We started our first full day in Kenya’s Masai Mara Reserve with an early morning hot air balloon ride over the grasslands, floating softly over the landscape as the sun rose behind us. We looked down on these wilderbeests as they strutted along, their bodies half covered by the tall grasses that covered the landscape from horizon to horizon.
Such and amazing and memorable experience in an amazing location.
Ever since I watched the PBS Nature episode about Japanese snow monkeys, I hoped that one day I might be able to see them in person. When I had the chance to visit Japan in winter with my husband, we took the opportunity for a visit the Jigokudani Monkey Park from Tokyo The experience with the snow monkeys was as engaging and entertaining as anything I could have wished for. In many ways, it was like looking in a mirror.
I was on a mission. I was in Japan again for the third time in two years, and I wanted to see – and photograph – the perfect cone shape of Mt. Fuji. I hoped that on my planned one day Kawaguchiko itinerary, I would get my wish.
Mount Mitake in Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park is a green and peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of nearby Tokyo. Only 90 minutes away, it is easily accessible and provides a non touristy cultural experience as you hike with the locals past shrines, waterfalls and a natural moss covered rock garden.
If you love waterfalls like I do, then Pennsylvania’s Ricketts Glen State Park should be at the top of your hiking list. With 21 named waterfalls along Kitchen Creek, you won’t find a more gratifying hike in the state, especially in the fall when the leaves start changing color. Hiking Ricketts Glen is my choice for the best state park in PA experience.