What’s your most memorable birthday? For Cory LaRoche and Cindy Preeper of Nova Scotia it was turning 45 during a trip to Africa. Cindy celebrated the day they landed. Cory’s big day began with breakfast in Namibia, followed by lunch in the Kalahari Desert on the side of the highway, and dinner in Botswana.
The couple loves to travel and got excited when they came across the Renedian Booth at the Moncton Motorcycle Show four years ago. Cory, who runs an aftermarket parts manufacturing facility, loves to watch nature shows and has always been fascinated by African wildlife. “The opportunity to ride a motorcycle and see in real life what I watch on the TV was irresistible,” he says. Cindy, a Registered Nurse and long time rider loves to ride but she also loves to sit back and look around. After a few years of research and planning, they decided on the Waterfalls and Wildlife trip in July 2014, because “it was heavy on wildlife viewing.”
“You just want to cry,” says Cory, recalling the beauty of seeing zebras, elephants, and giraffes in their natural environment. “I felt very privileged to be able to experience that in real time. Even relatively small highlights, like riding and seeing a group of six elephants along the road, were touching. That’s just what I wanted to do—be on the bikes and see that kind of wildlife.”
Seeing Victoria Falls was always on Cindy’s wish list. “It was amazing to see the rainbows over the gorge. At Nunda lodge where we spent the night, tents were set up on stilts overlooking the Zambezi River. Our tent was open to the air and cold, but the beds had heated blankets so we were cozy. We watched the sun go down on the opposite side of the river and were treated to hippos serenading us all night. And there were no flies!”
Another highlight was a flight over the Okavango Delta, landing on a dirt runway in the middle of nowhere, and then getting into waiting Land Rovers for a game drive. Outstanding in its own right, the biggest spectacle was saved for the evening—dinner and stories around a roaring fire, listening to animals you don’t hear at home, catching the glint of unrecognizable eyes in the dark, and viewing the Milky Way like you’ve never seen it. Getting up in the morning to find hyena footprints by the tent and a sumptuous breakfast waiting capped the experience at what Cory dubbed their ‘million star resort’.
A favorite memory for both Cory and Cindy was the Chobe River cruise. Lasting from late afternoon to sundown, they explored marshy areas and witnessed hundreds of elephants enjoying family time. Adults shared the feeding grounds with water buffalo, hippos, and crocodiles amidst elephant babies playfully pulling up grass and swishing it around. Just as it was getting dark, they observed a huge herd of Cape Buffalo returning to shore.
If you’re even contemplating an African motorcycle safari, Cory and Cindy will advise you not to think about it, just plan the trip and go. “Financially it’s a lot but we don’t regret a cent we spent,” says Cory as Cindy concurs. “It was well worth it. We’ll never forget those experiences.”
Photo Credits: Cory LaRoche and Cindy Preeper