Do perfect trips exist in the real world? As a seasoned traveller, I’d have to say, there is no such thing as a perfect trip. Things are meant to go wrong. On the eve of your departure: you will forget your debit card at the ATM, a thunderstorm will ominously circle over clear blue skies, a dormant wisdom tooth will erupt, or you might almost miss a flight during a short nap in a layover.

Now, if the perfect trip is an extremely rare occurrence, then the perfect wildlife sighting is probably even rarer.


Sometimes, you know you’re really close. You can feel it in the air. It’s still with anticipation and the smell of fear. The deer have sensed something they don’t like. Oddly enough, it’s exactly what you would like to see. They try to mask their nervousness. And then, out of nowhere, a distress call. The monkey has spoken. Up in the tree, the monkey has a view you aren’t privy to. Within moments, the grassland is empty again. Was it a ghost or a tiger lurking in the thin blades? You’d never know.


Nature commands patience. You can spend hours, waiting for a Humpback Whale to appear, whilst braving that queasy feeling. Secretly, you begin to imagine, the pictures you would show your friends and family. The happiness of seeing something few travellers do. And then, minutes turn into hours. You try to be hopeful, maybe you’d spot a puffin. No! It’s just not your day. You’d just have to make do with seeing a fin and appreciating the experience of sailing in the ocean. Turns out, fresh air is an excellent placebo for disappointment.


But, we’re human after all. We don’t give up easily. We try walking in a forest reserve. The forest ranger warns you of big cats prowling or wild elephants. But, you’ve come to see the Hornbill. What are the odds of seeing anything else? So, you put those feet to good use. You walk and try to feel one with nature, and almost fool yourself into believing, that you might just belong in this complex ecosystem. You hear a roar. It’s not what you think. A group of three wild elephants (including a mother and calf) have gathered ahead. You don’t belong here. The forest ranger nods his head and you change our course — to turn back. In the far distance, the hornbills put up a show. And strangely, you are happy with just the shadow of the birds and a hazy sky — in the distance.


By now, you’ve had your fair share of disappointments. You begin to understand how nature truly works. How zoos don’t make sense. And as a reward, nature decides to be benevolent. Fortunately, you haven’t given up. Standing before you, is one of the most beautiful animals, you could ever set your sight on. The wait was definitely worth the effort.





Posted by:twobrownfeet

Writer-Photographer Duo. Now in Seoul.

39 replies on “The Perfect Sighting

  1. Stunning photos and equally captivating words Cheryl. A perfect entry for the Rare theme this week. You made me feel as though I was there with you.

  2. Great post in response to WPC rare! What I liked about this one? It wasn’t predictable wrt the heading! Good one Cheryl! πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks, Arvind! πŸ™‚ I’m so glad nature isn’t predictable. The experience of watching animals in their natural habitat is fantastic. The fear and the vulnerability (our own) is something that makes you appreciate nature all the more. πŸ™‚ Glad you liked our post! Have a great week ahead!

    1. I’m so glad she doesn’t. I don’t like the thought of chasing an animal for a perfect shot. Many times, wildlife authorities/tour operators are under a pressure for a sighting. Most enthusiasts want to see a tiger or a whale. I know, I would as well. But, the chase doesn’t appeal. In rare cases, it cause the animals to retaliate. And if I was a tiger, I would have preferred to stay away from the chaos! πŸ™‚

  3. Know exactly what you mean. But those blips always seem to be the moments you most remember and the subject of fond memories and numerous stories later! Beautiful captures.

  4. You are right. So many things can go wrong before and during a trip. A lot of the time we have to deal with it as best as we can and move along. There is always another path or a different kind of trip we can take. Beautiful up close shots on the safari πŸ‘Œ

    1. You say it well, Mabel. Quick thinking saves the day! πŸ™‚ Most of the shots have been shot at long range. Rhinos are gentle animals, but poaching in the national park tends to make them wary of humans. It’s best to maintain safe distance. πŸ™‚

  5. A very unusual and interesting post, Cheryl. It would never have occurred to me to write about this subject matter. In any case, the photos that Basil took are just awesome. Images and experiences to remember in the years to come. Over time, you will come to view these pictures as perfect sightings! πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Helen! So good to hear from you! How have you been? I’m so glad for the experiences we’ve had. They make for a drive-full of unforgettable memories! πŸ™‚

  6. When nature is involved, difficult to predict what’s going to happen. You may not spot what you were looking for but it does not mean the experience won’t be good. It’s difficult to not be disappointed if you were expecting to see some wildlife but I always try to see the bright side of life πŸ™‚

  7. Beautiful look at such splendid wildlife and nature ~ I think the things that go wrong on trips usually make it a “perfect trip” because of the added chaos, and when the peaceful zen hits as you outline above, it all falls into place πŸ™‚

    Wish you continued safe travels

    1. Much before we started travelling, I’d have hated for things to go wrong. And yet, now I do look back at all of those trips with a fondness. I agree. You can only appreciate a trip when you’ve worked for it. And then, it’s bliss. πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by, Randall. Have a great weekend! πŸ™‚

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