Travel Diary: Devan Linus' Hunt For The Big 5 In The African Wilderness
From National Geographic To Real Life
For his mother's 70th birthday, Devan Linus Rajadurai embarked on an adventure with his family to Africa to see its wildlife up close and personal. The reasoning was simple – his mother loved nature and animals and none of them had actually been on a trip like this. As someone who loved travelling, it was easy for him to choose Africa as a holiday destination, partly due to its popularity and ease of ability to do customised tours.
Since the objective of his trip was to see Africa's most well known creatures (gorillas, lions, zebras, etc.), Devan planned his trip to start off in Kigali, Rwanda, a country known for their gorilla sanctuaries. He had to drive up into the mountains to stay the night before waking up early the next morning for a two hour hike to make it to the gorilla's sanctuary. Hard work and determination paid off, as Devan and his family were fortunate enough to find these majestic primates merely one metre's distance away from them without the need for a long trek. He even has the photos to prove it.
"It was pretty impressive to see such a big animal so up close, especially in the wild. I was in awe. We were quite lucky to see a baby gorilla interact with its mom!" said Devan.
On his second day in the mountains, Devan got the chance to see golden monkeys and even managed to get an upclose shot with the cute critter.
The next part of Devan’s journey took him to Arusha, Tanzania. He and his family travelled in a Toyota Land Cruiser to Serengeti to see the animals from The Big 5 – the lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and cape buffalo.
"Everyday we drove for around 5 hours in the wild, and it wasn't the most comfortable of rides because it was bumpy, to go to a new area to try to spot some of the creatures we came here for," said Devan.
Given that they were travelling in the wild to find these animals, there was a probability that they may not even see these creatures because it wasn't a safari and therefore the animals were free to roam as they pleased.
"One day we may see giraffes and zebras, but no lions. Sometimes you may even go your whole trip without seeing a lion," he added.
Throughout his ventures into the Serengeti, Devan and his family had the opportunity to stay at a lodge complete with modern amenities.
During his downtime, he would enjoy the local cuisine, drink a beer and unwind with a good book.
Devan's time at the lodge allowed him to indulge in dinners that had an amazing backdrop of the African wilderness.
"Our lodge, called Kati Kati, was in the middle of the wild and had an great swimming pool where you could have your breakfast and see zebras nearby. The lodge would make an artificial puddle for wildlife to come and have some refreshments while guests could still see animals in the comfort of the hotel," said Devan.
While Devan tells us that the number of lions in Africa are dwindling due to poaching and being hunted for sport as a rite of passage for some native tribes, he managed to see a few, even getting the chance to witness one that had just made a kill.
"Although the lion is the king of the jungle, they can actually lose a fight. Once we saw a fight between a group of buffalos versus five lions and I saw them losing the battle. According to our tour guide, lions aren't very efficient killers and would only win every three or four fights out of ten," he explains.
"I even have a selfie with the lion. It's not the best photo of me but it's the best photo of him," he joked with a chuckle.
The last part of the Serengeti tour had Devan and his family stay at a real camp, although he admits that it was more "glamping" than actual camping.
"When we wanted hot water, we had to call for one and a system of levers and pullies would bring a bucket of hot water for us to shower," said Devan.
"My mom actually got to live Nat Geo and she was very happy," he added.
Quite the successful trip, perhaps Devan's experiences will inspire you to go on your own African adventure to witness some of the world's most majestic animals.
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