Dear Dawn, I don’t want to offend you, but how could you have allowed your young kids to go on a Safari in Africa? Just the thought of it freaks me out! Was it some sort of kid-safe safari or did you do the camp-on-the-savanna thing?
Dear Freaked-out, thank you for your candor. Ron and I did a lot of research before we chose the right family safari. We wanted the genuine experience but Colton, our eight-year-old, had a tendency to wander off so child-safety was a huge factor. We didn’t want to dummy the wild experience down to an amusement park where large men dress up in Wildebeest costumes either.
With every adventure comes risk. Often, I wrestle trying to be the best mom I can be while making sure other parents think I am. And that just doesn’t work. You have to be true to who you are while giving your child life’s best experiences. Ron and I had always loved traveling and wanted our sons to find the joy we had found meeting people from other countries, living life as they did, and surrounding ourselves by strange and new experiences.
You cannot imagine the thrill of seeing a herd of gazelles charging across a field, spotting a rare black rhino in a group of white rhinos, the overwhelming feeling of knowing there is a majestic lioness prancing around your car, or feeling the ground shake beneath you at the approach of wild elephants.
We found the perfect family-friendly safari in a private reserve. Thousands of acres of natural land filled with thousands of wild things, including the Big Five. Those who own these huge reserves are diligent to make certain these animals are cared for and well fed. We stayed within the compound, cooked our own food, and twice each day they drove us out to see what the savanna had to offer.
No matter how hard we try to protect our children, they still can and do get hurt. But don’t miss the experience of a lifetime because you are afraid to take steps out of the darkness into the light of God’s world. You will return with enough great memories to see you through life – and your family’s stories grow better with each telling!