Posted: November 2, 2011

Name: Erica Buckwalter
School: Purdue University
Major: Animal Science/Zoology
Program: Wildlife Management Studies, Kenya + Tanzania

All senses were on high alert as I took in my surroundings in the Serengeti. I wanted to commit every detail to memory. I could almost reach out and touch the zebra as they ran past our car. I could hear the lionesses and their cubs breathe while they lounged in the shade. I could imagine feeling the wind created when the leopard jumped from its high perch in the tree or the huff of air blown from the cape buffalo’s nostrils. I could feel the hyenas laugh in the pit of my stomach as I lay in my tent at night.

Camping in Serengeti yielded the most unbelievable experiences of my life. I was fully immersed in the wilderness of Africa and it has left me awestruck. I saw four African cats in the same day: the cheetah, the lion, the leopard and the serval. Hundreds of zebra surrounded the car as far as the eye could see. Birds of brilliant plumage flew overhead. Matriarchal elephant herds trooped across the landscape while giraffes browsed on tall acacias.

I feel like Africa is a dream but I know that I won’t wake up with these memories out of reach. Each moment, ever precious and so impactful, will never to be forgotten.