Shenton Safaris

UK teens' safari story

Written by: Abi Baker & Chloe Moran

Every year Dane Court Grammar School takes a group of lucky students to Southern Africa to experience an adventure of a lifetime. The students are also involved in supporting the conservation work of the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation.

Abi Baker and Chloe Moran were 2 of these lucky students who share their African safari story with us:


For a group of 20 teenagers to willingly get up at 4.30 am, something very special must have been in store. Our parents would not have recognised us as we sprung off our 1-inch sleeping mattresses, out into the almost minus conditions of the dark early morning desert. But then again, we were in Africa. Tasks that usually took us a while we did in minutes, in fear of being the last ones on the safari truck and having a rubbish seat. Chloe and I never usually bothered about where we sat, but today was important, because today was a day on safari in Etosha!

The usual desires for breakfast vanished, clouded by the thought of animals. An unannounced competition began of who could spot something first. As the truck rolled to a halt our eyes scanned the bush. Without the scenery moving by we were able to appreciate the true craftsmanship of Africa. Trees we originally thought that just had some strange foliage on, turned out to be coated in weaver birds’ nests; bright yellow birds that wove basket like nests or the termite mounds, with their air conditioning systems keeping them cool in the ever-increasing heat. We waited. We moved on and then waited again… a gaggle of springbok went by, impala swaggered past as they grazed in the distance.

 A weaving weaver

A weaving weaver

The beauty of Africa was unfolding in front of us… and then a stretched neck graced the window. We stopped and teenage eyes expanded as they gazed over to that side of the truck. With camera’s at the ready, we saw our first wild giraffe. It looked so chilled and relaxed chewing on the spiky branches of an acacia tree. It looked as if it was chewing gum, an impressive skill that is seriously underrated when you look at the size of those thorns. Immediately we fell in love with such an oddly shaped animal. Not the sort of ‘superstar’ or ‘celebrity’ most teenagers would crane their heads out of a window for or get up early for either.

Giraffe Chewing Gum

Giraffe chewing gum

Arriving at a waterhole we prepared ourselves to wait patiently. There was nothing to distract us here; no mobiles, no computers, no nothing. But even if we had those things, I doubt we would have even glanced at them. A springbok appeared and started to drink but the springbok was only the warm up act, and it pays to wait. Because then a lioness appeared.  Her muscles tensed, and eyes focused purely on the springbok on the other side of the watering hole… and it is then that we appreciated the power of the lion. Not the physical strength, not the killer claws and teeth, but the power to capture 20 teenagers’ attention and leave them completely speechless. Anything that can do that has the right to have the title of King. Over the next 15 minutes the lioness slowly made her way across the 80 meters separating them only to find as she entered the strike zone of an onlooking bok that had appeared and barked an alarm call. The tension had been released but we had a yearning for more…

Lioness on the stalk

Lioness on the stalk

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