John and Kathy live in Canberra, Australia. In their mid 50’s, they decided to retire early and travel the world—a dream life for many of us. As a keen photographer and painter, and enthusiastic birdwatchers, remote destinations with unique wildlife offer the best experiences and they take full advantage of their time by escaping to the wilderness every year. Some of Kathy’s photos from their recent trip to the Kruger National Park can be viewed on the Leopard website and social media platforms.
But wildlife isn’t the only thing the couple look for in a destination. John and Kathy are constantly soaking up different cultures and venturing to less travelled areas in Africa where they can take in each region’s unique birdlife, spectacular mammals and local customs.
Their 2018 trip through Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda sits as one of their fondest. Being in April, when the region is at its greenest and most lush, many animals had recently given birth and they had the opportunity to witness and photograph Bat-eared Foxes and Jackals with cubs, Lions teaching their young to hunt, Leopards prowling in daylight, and thousands of Wildebeest on their migration through the Serengeti. In Rwanda, they hiked the dense forest to view Mountain Gorillas and had the great fortune of spotting an enormous male Silverback. The intelligence in his eyes was just breathtaking. Cultural aspects of the trip were another highlight, such a tour of the local spice farm and a guided tour of the old town in Stone Town, Zanzibar which taught them about the island’s slave trade history. A later visit to the Rwanda Genocide Memorial similarly offered sober reminders of a troubled past. Kathy and John found themselves reduced to tears by some of the stories that emerged. But for John and Kathy, a holiday isn’t always about relaxing and halcyon days, it’s a combination of wildlife, honest heritage and culture.
Because nobody travels quite like John and Kathy.
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