|After three years of planning, including a pandemic delay and replanning, I was finally able to bring a group of nine people on a safari adventure to Botswana and South Africa. Every worry about possible delays and covid dysfunctions vanished the moment we arrived. We spent nearly every moment outside or in tented camps. Also gone were any worries about wildlife being scarcer after so many disruptions. It was as though these fantastical animals had been waiting for us! We had extraordinary sightings, rare and critically endangered creatures, and in numbers that exceeded all of our expectations. We found ourselves in and among herds (Impalas and Elephants), packs (African Painted Dogs), prides (Lions and more Lions), dazzles (Zebras), towers (Giraffes), bloats (Hippos) and flocks (around 80 different bird species). If you have never been within an elephant herd while in an open safari vehicle, I can tell you that it brings people to tears. Tiny, iridescent Bee Eater birds snuggling on a branch on a cold morning can stir people to a tearful awe as well. The calm, beautiful moments balance well with the spine-tingling excitement of being next to lions that nearly brush up to the vehicle or a luminescent leopard on the hunt. We also found out that that our guides, the lodges, and tented camps in Botswana and South Africa, have weathered the tourism drought these last few pandemic years and we were welcomed with beaming smiles and excitement about being able to use “the long dining table again”. While we filled ourselves up with wonder, we also spread hope by just showing up.