Why did you pick this program?
I love wildlife, and Africa has the best variety. The chance to see it on foot was quite rare.
What do you tell your friends who are thinking about going abroad?
Do it. The sooner the better. Some truths aren't obvious until you experience them firsthand. Then it's up to you to make them a priority.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
Please love to hike and be comfortable hiking hills. I live in Boston, and it's a wonderful city to stroll, dine, and people watch in, but it's pretty flat. To prepare for this trip, I marched up and down the stadium seating at the local football arena. The helpful thing is, you walk relatively slowly so as not to disturb the wildlife.
What's your favorite story to tell about your time abroad?
After my ranger and I had crested a hill, he motioned for me to take a breather under a shady acacia. I pointed out to him three white rhinos, two adults and a juvenile, that were not far from us. He was unconcerned. While we were resting, one adult crossed the path we were headed towards, looking for better grazing, I suppose. We got up to resume hiking, and as we headed along the path which proceeded through a thicket, I knew exactly what would transpire. As we approached, the lone adult rhino, now on our left, would become unnerved by our separating it, however innocently, from the other two rhinos who were to our right. Sure enough, as we came even to them, the rhino on the left did a little dance of agitation and charged right towards us. Knowing in my heart that it just wanted to be reunited with its buddies did not slow my sprint in the least. As the ranger and I were making our way with haste along the path through the thicket, I suddenly heard a large and shocking crash to my left. Was I wrong? Was this behemoth coming for us after all? My question was answered when a large male kudu, a huge antelope with spiraling horns, nearly fell on top of me. It too had been spooked by the rhino.
Do you have any packing suggestions for the expedition?
Layers of quick dry clothes, water-proof hiking boots, an anorak windbreaker/rain proof layer, and a fleece. Be sure to break in your hiking boots.