SLIDESHOW — The gift of travel

Many Masai tribes throughout Tanzania welcome visits to their village and in September, Kerry McKenzie of Delburne found himself in a place he had long dreamed of being — sitting inside a traditional Masai boma visiting with a tribesman.

Many Masai tribes throughout Tanzania welcome visits to their village and in September, Kerry McKenzie of Delburne found himself in a place he had long dreamed of being — sitting inside a traditional Masai boma visiting with a tribesman.

McKenzie was fascinated with the primitive lifestyle of the tribesman and found that the tribesman was equally curious about life in Canada.

Perhaps the most surprising question McKenzie fielded was an inquiry about how much he had paid for his wife.

Visiting Africa had long been on McKenzie’s bucket list, but he wasn’t sure if he would ever really make it there until last December, when his wife gave him a trip to Africa as a Christmas present.

Since she did not have an interest in travelling to Africa herself, the gift was for a trip to Africa with their son Shawn.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to visit Africa and see the wildlife and experience the culture of the people who live there,” said McKenzie.

“For me, it was the perfect gift.”

Over the course of three weeks, McKenzie and his son travelled on a custom tour through Tanzania, Zambia and Cape Town. The pair experienced three game drives and saw all of the animals that are classified as the Big Five, and many more.

“I am a hunter but on this trip I was shooting with a camera,” McKenzie said.

“To see these animals up close was a dream come true.”

The game drives were real highlights of the trip, but the pair also had the opportunity to experience a canoe safari along the lower section of the Zambezi River.

Travelling many kilometres by canoe, they saw hippos, elephants, crocodiles and many different species of birds, and camped for two nights along the river’s edge.

“We were on the Zambezi for five days and it was amazing,” McKenzie said.

“I’ll never forget coming around a corner and seeing a herd of elephants at the water’s edge. It’s really something when a Medicine Hat boy sees a wild elephant.”

The pair also had the opportunity to meet Hadzabe tribesmen and experience a traditional hunt for small bush animals using bows and poison arrows.

Anthropologists believe that this nomadic tribe will not survive many more generations in their primitive hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

The tour ended with a visit to Capetown, followed by a drive to Simon’s Town for a cruise to Seal Island to see the massive population of cape fur seals and their main predators, great white sharks.

From their boat, they were able to observe both the seals and the sharks feeding on those seals unlucky enough to enter the “Ring of Death.”

Shawn also took the opportunity to go into the water in a shark cage to see a great white shark up close.

“Though Shawn had never expressed a desire to go to Africa, he had an amazing experience there,” McKenzie said.

“The trip was a wonderful gift for both of us and something we will remember fondly for many years to come.”

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