Monday July 7, 2014


Well, it’s all over. We’re 39,000 feet above the blue Tasman Sea, speeding towards home aboard a big Emirates A380 Airbus. New Zealand is just a couple of hours away, and Africa lies a long way behind us, on the other side of the world. Our final few days went by far too quickly, and our wild, wonderful safari already seems like a dream.

Did we really do all that stuff, go to all those places, see all those animals? Pinch me please …

We enjoyed our last safari game-drive in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, a 90,000-acre wildlife reserve situated between the foothills of the Aberdares and Mt Kenya – and our last night under canvas at the luxury Sweetwaters Tented Camp. It overlooks a popular waterhole, and we had the pleasure of watching families of elephants and other species coming and going, drinking and bathing, foraging and arguing just across the ditch from us. Then, in big beds warmed by hot-water-bottles, we drifted off to sleep for one final time, listening to the symphony of the African night.

Ahh, yes …

Next day, we bid a reluctant “Kwaheri!” (goodbye) to Kenya’s amazing wildlife, and followed the main road south to bursting-at-the-seams Nairobi for lunch-with-a-difference: a ‘beast of a feast’ at Carnivores Restaurant, where every type of meat imaginable (including crocodile, ostrich, and camel) was roasted over charcoal and carved at our tables!

That’s appropriate, don’t you reckon? The animals hadn’t eaten us, so we now get to eat them …

The following afternoon saw us checking-in at Nairobi’s airport … then flying (four-and-a-half hours) to Dubai where we grabbed an air-conditioned night’s rest … before venturing out the next day for one extra highlight in the 43-degree heat. Belted-up in a fleet of four-wheel-drive Toyotas, we motored out into the surrounding desert, where we romped up and down the endless orange sand-dunes – before stopping at a mocked-up Bedouin Camp for some camel-riding and a Sundowner BBQ in the still-warm Arabian night. From there we headed back into the city to the world’s most-visited mall and a nearly-midnight ride to the top of the world’s tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa

Which just about says it all …

Our MAD MIDLIFE SAFARI has come to an end. We’ve had a wild, once-in-a-lifetime experience, plus we’ve made some great friends – and we’ve got stories and memories and photos to prove it!


It’s never too late to win a Midlife Madness yellow duck … and several more have quacked their way into eager waiting hands:

  • Trevor earned himself our ‘Dental Disaster’ Award … when he sneezed in the shower, blew out his bottom teeth, and broken them in two on the tiled floor. Fortunately, his ever-resourceful wife had packed a tube of superglue, so Trevor was soon back in action, chomping his way happily through more hearty meals.
  • Henry carried off our ‘Sex-Change’ Award … for coming down to breakfast wearing Anne’s pink nametag.
  • And Bruce is going home with our ‘Customs Confusion’ Award … for leaving his precious camera in one of those plastic trays at Nairobi Airport’s security x-ray machine. Fortunately, a panicked run back through the plane soon reunited the two.


You’re no doubt wondering: ARE WE GONNA DO ANOTHER SAFARI? And the answer is, YES, YOU BET! We’ve GOT to! And if YOU would like to come with us, please contact Roger Glynan (our booking agent) and ask him to pencil you in. The date has yet to be set – but if enough people are interested, it could be sooner rather than later. Phone 0800 277 477 – or email roger.glynan@lionworld.co.nz.

Over and out – JOHN

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About John Cooney

John Cooney and his wife Robyn have enjoyed more than their fair share of travel. They hesitate to call themselves ‘experts’ – but they’ve grabbed every chance that’s come their way to explore new countries, cultures and customs. They’ve had the privilege (both on their own and as the leaders of numerous successful group-tours) to sample many stunning destinations: Europe, the UK, Singapore, Vanuatu, the USA, Israel, Egypt, Africa, Dubai, China, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. And their recent (and most pleasant) memories are of the places ancient-and-modern that border the Mediterranean. John and Robyn are at-home in airports, hotels, cruise ships, and the like … and they know how to make the most of a unique travel opportunity. Travel, they reckon, is an all-five-senses experience – a chance to see, feel, smell, hear and taste the world. And they’ve done it often enough to know for sure: sightseeing with a group of laid-back Kiwis is DOUBLE the fun – lots of laughs, great company, and memories that last forever!


  1. Dear Robyn and John , just a quick note to say what a wonderful experience our African safari was. Thank you so much for your wonderful leadership and friendship. Loved it:) hope to catch up with you both again in the near future, big hugs from marg christie. If you feel like a break down south always a bed and warm welcome here. Love marg.

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