This epic poem was recorded by one of our safari-goers, Irene, to capture our African memories! Thanks Irene …

Our African Wildlife Adventure

02 Safari blog logo

 – by Irene Campbell

Fourteenth of June, just can’t wait
Off to the airport, must not be late
With bags full of stuff, Deet, pills and potions,
Midlife madness was set in motion.

We all met in Sydney, and greeted the Cooneys
With a marvellous song, like a bunch of loonies.
We checked out the name-tags to see who was there,
A couple of Jans and Margarets to spare.

We flew forever towards the west
And arrived looking jaded, well past our best.
Dubai was busy, steamy and hot,
A New Zealand winter, it sure was not.

We boarded the bus to see the sights,
Then next day we left the Arabian Nights.
Landed in Kenya to start the big plan,
To see all the beasties wherever we can.

Nairobi gave us a wonderful night,
And we all tasted camel and croc delight.
Amboseli and our first game drive
Like a TV doco except it was live.

We spotted a Cheetah making a kill,
And a randy elephant getting a thrill.
As we moved on, it just got better,
Great lodges and food, and we’re all getting fatter.

There’s lots of birds, from storks to flamingos,
Buffalo, wildebeest, and big bulky hippos,
Warthogs, impalas, zebras, giraffes,
And the baby baboons that made us laugh.

Tanzania: “Don’t forget the yellow card!”
“Get that visa!” – it shouldn’t be this hard.
“Buy my wooden animals, what will you pay?”
Feeling guilty, we look the other way.

The four-wheel-drives gave us some thrills,
Not to mention stomach cramps – where are the pills?
Elephants, gazelles, mongoose and dik diks,
To spot them you must be very quick, quick.

A mass of zebras running, oh cripes
Have you ever seen so many stripes?
A leopard feeding in a tree,
Just how lucky can we be?

Down in the crater the lions are found,
And the hippos made their grumpy sound.
On our left we have the brown spotted thingy,
To our right is the rare bird with only one wingy.

The beautiful vistas of Serengeti,
Is not a thing we will quickly forget.
Back to the border: “Get into a line!”
“Take no photos here, imprisonment or fine!”

Rumbling along the rutted dirt track,
Dislocating knees, necks and back.
Then the cry goes out “We simply must go!”
Into the bushes, white bums in a row.

Once again, out on a drive,
Seeking the horned-one, beast number five.
We followed the dust to the river and found
A trillion hooves were pounding the ground.

Plunging in one side and out up the bank,
Zebras and wildebeest swam, but some sank.
The hippos snapped at the floating beasts
And crocodiles lay in wait for their feasts.

An early morning and up, up and away,
A hot-air balloon ride to start the day.
Followed by brekky out on the plain
Our Weetbix at home just won’t be the same.

We were charmed by the Masai who treated us well,
And we listened intently to what they did tell:
The F’kawi tribe could not be found
We think they’re still wand’ring around.

Kids at the school with imploring looks,
Sharing their pencils, paper and books.
They have so little, we have so much
Not many hearts did they fail to touch.

Naivasha, and a ride on the lake,
Colobus monkeys, quick, photos to take.
Hippos grazing on the front lawn,
But still no sign of the beast with the horn.

Nakuru: a leopard hauling its kill
Searching for a tree to fill.
Then suddenly, quick, “Where’s the binos?”
There’s mother and offspring, two white rhinos.

Yelling excitedly “There it is!”
The one with the horn sends us into a tizz.
We’ve seen the big five, what can we say,
It’s just been another wonderful day.

Across the equator: “Ten dollars please”
Now we’re off to see the chimpanzees.
Rescued from a life of despair
Now they have freedom, life without care.

One last game drive, and what do we see,
A few more rhinos, protected, but free.
We saw Baraka, the rhino that’s blind
And fed him grass, he didn’t mind.

Then a parade of eles, a marvellous sight
Completed for us a wonderful night.
Jumped in to bed – my God, what’s that?
A hot water bottle, stuck in my back!

Now it’s back to Nairobi for one last fling
With incredible memories of everything.
We’re near the end of this magical trip
With thousands of photos as proof of it.

Expanded waistlines, bags under our eyes,
But no more mosquitoes or tsetse flies.
Wee yellow duckies for those who have erred
Caught in the act, the honour conferred.

Kwaheri to Kenya, its magic within,
Kwaheri to drivers, their white toothy grins.
Fly back to Dubai, still steamy and hot.
Repack the suitcase, review what we’ve got.

Pressies for grandkids, neighbours and friends,
A zoofull of carved wooden critters that’ll send
us through the declarable queue when we land.
But there is no problem, it’s all in hand.

Time to relax, then off we go
to the desert in 4 wheel drives, in a row.
With flattened tyres, we sweep round the dunes
enjoying the right to be middle-aged hoons.

A snap with a falcon, a camel ride,
A whirling dancer with skirts flung wide,
A bedouin feast, then back to town
to the Dubal Mall, and there we found …

… an enormous aquarium stocked with fish,
sharks, rays, eels, whatever you wish.
Then a magnificent display in the fountain outside
of water and light in patterns spread wide.

The Burj Khalifa, head-spinning high
reaching up to the top of the sky.
“The heart of the city: its people,” it said
on the board at the bottom, quickly read.

We jumped in the lift and were whizzed to the sights
from the top, on the platform, a maze of lights.
A bonus treat of one more show
springing up from the fountains far below.

The Arabs wearing long white sheets,
Exposing only sandaled feet,
Raise the question: “What is there?
Like, have they got on underwear?”

It is widely discussed, to no avail,
To touch up an Arab’s bum would mean jail.
So we’ll never know, can only wonder,
If they wear anything at all, under.

Back to the hotel, a few hours’ sleep,
Get up early, flight times to keep.
Some people said goodbye and stayed,
others said goodbye and strayed.

Most headed home to nice soft beds
with wonderful memories filling their heads,
Ready to bore those at home, and delight
with endless tales of amazing sights.

So goodbye to Robyn & John and all –
Haven’t we had a fantastic ball?
So: when we get home, if you can’t sleep,
Try counting stripes, instead of the sheep!



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

Over and out – JOHN

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