Skip to site content
Group Travel Leader Group Travel Leader Group Travel Leader

Staff Sound-Off: Wildlife Encounters

We asked our staff, “What’s the most memorable wildlife encounter you’ve had while traveling?” Check out our wild memories in this month’s Staff Sound-Off.

A couple of years ago, I had the bright idea of going camping in the Everglades in late spring, a time when most people avoid the area because of the heat and mosquitoes. I quickly realized that my small head net and thin flannel shirt were not adequate cover against the 10,000 mosquitoes that materialized the instant I left my car or tent. The mosquitoes were so abundant that I could hear them outside my tent at night. On the plus side, I did get the chance to see wild manatees up close in the river, which almost made the trip worth it. Almost.

— Savannah Osbourn, staff writer

When I was in Greece, I got to help a local shear one of his sheep. It was hard to wrangle it, but in the end, it was cool getting to experience that and help the animal.

— Kyle Anderson, account manager

Years ago, I joined a group on a safari in Kenya, one of the world’s most spectacular wildlife destinations. We went on various game drives each day and saw lions, giraffes, zebras and other animals from the safety of our safari vehicles. One afternoon, though, the guides got us out of the vehicles to walk about 100 yards away, where a rhinoceros family was quietly grazing. We got close enough to these large animals to touch them… but we didn’t touch them. I was amazed by these creatures; they seemed completely unimpressed with me.

— Brian Jewell, executive editor

For my husband’s 30th birthday, I surprised him with a trip down the coast from Charleston, South Carolina, to the Golden Isles in Georgia. Graham loves sea turtles, so the highlight of the trip was the Ride With Night Patrol experience at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. We went up and down Jekyll Islands beaches half the night looking for nesting sea turtles, new nest sites and turtle tracks. We even got to see a huge sea turtle up close as she came out onto the beach to scope out a nest site before turning and heading back into the water.

— Ashley Ricks, circulation manager

When I was 9 years old, my father woke me one day at dawn and told me to get dressed. We were in a beach house at Crescent Beach in South Carolina, which is now part of Myrtle Beach. We drove with my older brother and our uncle to the pier at Cherry Grove and slithered through a throng of people to stare at a world-record-size tiger shark stretched out in the back of a truck. It was 14 feet long and weighed 1,780 pounds. A local fisherman had caught it and managed to land it on the beach. It stood as the largest ever until someone caught one slightly larger 40 years later in Australia. The best part for me that day was that my younger brother did not get the wakeup call. What can I say?

— Mac Lacy, publisher