Out of Africa by Rebecca Heflin

Fair warning: This post isn’t about the movie by the same name. Nor is it about writing. It’s about taking the time to experience life. We often get so caught up in day-to-day life, eyes focused on our goals, our obligations, that we put aside dreams and aspirations with a ‘someday’ dismissal.  Someday, I’ll . . .

Well, I took one of those ‘somedays’ and made it happen—before it was too late.

IMG_4256Hubby and I took a dream vacation this summer to a place that has been on my bucket list for a long time: Tanzania. He’s been numerous times, but we could never get the trips to work with my schedule. This year, we made it work. And what started out as a bucket list trip turned out to be a trip of a lifetime.

Our itinerary included three of Tanzania’s game reserves and national parks for a photo safari. I love animals and nature, and seeing the African animals in their natural habitat was beyond my wildest imagination.

Our first stop was Tarangire, which is the sixth largest national park in Tanzania, andIMG_4182 my personal favorite. It’s known for its herds of elephants, and I couldn’t wait for my first elephant encounter in the wild. The experience didn’t disappoint.  In fact, we got pretty up-close-and personal when a herd that had been grazing several yards away turned and made their way toward our safari vehicle. My heart was pounding with both excitement and fear. After all, any one of the large adults could tip our vehicle over like a child with a Tonka truck. After a couple of breathless moments, they went about their business like our vehicle was just part of the landscape.

Tarangire is also famous for its baobab trees. The broad trunk and comparatively spindly limbs look like something out of Dr. Seuss.

IMG_0576We also spotted plenty of zebras and wildebeests, and the odd hippo. We even came across the elusive leopard!

The next day’s destination was Ngorongoro Crater. The crater, all that’s left after a massive volcanic explosion millions of years ago, is two thousand feet deep and 100 miles across. Scientists speculate that the original volcano stood at some 19,000 feet above sea level. Kilimanjaro (which is also in Tanzania) stands at 19,340 feet. There is an abundance of game in the crater, including zebras, Thomson’s gazelles, Cape buffalo, impalas, and more, and a dense population of lions.

One of its inhabitants is the rare black rhino. We only spotted a couple a great distance away. When you’re some of the last of your species and you’re a favorite of poachers, it’s no wonder you’re extremely shy.

The last park we visited was Serengeti. Roughly the size of Connecticut, it would takeIMG_0701 two weeks or more to see the entire park, and we only had five days. But we made the most of those five days. On one particular day we witnessed two Nile crocodiles take a baby Wildebeest. It was a fearsome display, but awesome too, in its own Circle-of-Life-kind-of-way.

At the end of one day in particular day, we stumbled upon a giraffe (they being a IMG_4291bit shy) and the light was perfect!

And on another equally awesome day, we had forty to fifty zebra visit the watering hole outsideIMG_0788 our room.

Every day offered its own bit of ‘awesome,’ until the trip had become legendary. I’m still riding the high of the experience, and will for some time to come.

You can see more of the photos from my trip of a lifetime on my Facebook page.

How about you? Do you have that ‘someday’ on your bucket list? Have you experienced that trip of a lifetime?







About Rebecca Heflin

I've dreamed of writing romantic fiction since I was fifteen and my older sister sneaked a copy of Kathleen Woodiwiss' Shanna to me and told me to read it. Now I write women's fiction and contemporary romance under the name Rebecca Heflin. In case you're wondering, Rebecca Heflin is an abbreviated version of my great-great grandmother's name: Sarah Anne Rebecca Heflin Apple Smith. Whew! And you wondered why I shortened it. When not passionately pursuing my dream, I am busy with my day-job at a large state university or running the non-profit cancer organization my husband and I founded. I'm a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), Florida Romance Writers, RWA Contemporary Romance, Savvy Authors, and Florida Writers Association. My mountain-climbing husband and I live at sea level in sunny Florida.
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9 Responses to Out of Africa by Rebecca Heflin

  1. Wonderful! I’m so jealous! Good for you knocking one of those bucket list dreams off your list. Loved your photos! Thank you for sharing.
    Writing as Belle Ami

  2. sueberger3 says:

    I am so happy for you. Nothing like knocking something off your bucket list. I visited Kruger National Park and Hluluwe Park in South Africa when I was Twelve. 1955 was a long time ago, but I still have very clear memories of it.

  3. Beth Carter says:

    What amazing photos and trip of a lifetime!! I don’t know. I’ve always said I wanted to go on a safari trip but I’m slightly fearful–and I’m pretty brave. I swam with sharks once, rode a bicycle down the tallest volcano in Hawaii, have taken helicopter rides, spelunked in many caves, and have caught 50-pound fish at sea. I’m pretty adventuresome, even though I appear prissy. Lol. But seeing lions in the wild with little protection…I’m still deciding. I loved Greece, Venice, and Florence, though. 😉

  4. viola62 says:

    What an amazing trip! My husband and I also get wrapped up in our day-to-day activities. I always insist we take time to do something that helps us de-stress. Our most amazing trip was probably Alaska.

  5. Pingback: A Look Back at 2018 by Rebecca Heflin |

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