A Certain Kind of Tourist

When we went on an African safari trip to Tanzania we had quite an eye opener when we were told that we were not the typical tourist. Let me explain, safari for us is all about wildlife viewing and maximizing our time out so we can see as much wildlife as possible. This meant leaving the lodge at 6:30am taking a box lunch with us and not coming back to the lodge until 6pm. The booking agent told us that most people want to do one game drive, after breakfast, for 3-4 hours and then come back to the lodge for the rest of the day.  Admittedly the lodges are all wonderful but there are nice lodges everywhere, you can only see African wildlife in Africa!  We saw this mentality again at the bear viewing platform in Hyder Alaska, we spent five days there and most of the day on the platform (6am-10pm). We saw people come, wait maybe an hour and then leave, we saw people ask the ranger at the gate “any bears, no?” and leave without even walking on the platform and we even heard of people coming to the gate and seeing that the platform was 600 feet long and saying “oh, I am not going to walk all the way out there.” What?!
We learned in Tanzania that wildife viewing requires great patience and more often than not that patience is rewarded. On the other hand I was very impressed with just how many people sat out on the platform for several hours. The viewing platform in Hyder is not just a fantastic wildlife viewing opportunity it is also a valuable opportunity to meet people, make new friends and great connections. We really enjoyed our time in Hyder and we will certainly come back.



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