Traveling together as a couple can be a wonderful experience, sharing adventures, visiting exotic destinations, and spending time together without the day to day demands of work and family life. It can also create strain when interests differ, you’re traveling to strange countries with foreign languages, and you’re two-up on a motorcycle!
For Craig and Bronwen Thompson, both in their 50’s, the Waterfalls and Wildlife Tour was an incredible experience. A few years ago, friends of Craig travelled with Renedian on a more rugged tour. The guys got together and asked Rene about a trip that would be more suitable for them to bring their wives on and Waterfalls and Wildlife was the result. It was Craig and Bronwen’s first trip to Africa and their first outside of Canada or the U.S. on a motorcycle.
The couple refers to themselves as ‘summer riders’ and adventurers at heart. Craig is a CEO and Bronwen an Executive Assistant for a Credit Union CEO and they like to get away and enjoy each other’s company when they can. Introduced to motorcycles 30 years ago, Craig rode for many years, then took a 15 year hiatus and returned to riding a few years ago. That’s when Bronwen started riding with him.
Bronwen was concerned riding as a pillion in Africa might be scary—fears that proved unfounded. Even after being reassured she wasn’t the only one, she still wondered how her riding experience compared with the other woman who was sharing the ride with her husband. Both women were relieved to discover neither had a lot of experience and enjoyed learning together.
Craig and Bronwen were looking forward to different aspects of the trip. Craig loves adventure and getting off the beaten track, so he was going with an open mind, not needing a clear day-by-day outline, knowing that was looked after. “I never want to go on a vacation where it’s not off the beaten track,” says Craig. Bronwen was happy to sit back and enjoy the scenery without having to organize accommodations, research points of interest, or plan the route. “Everything was “wow” because you knew you were in good hands,” she says.
Each recalled a different highlight. Craig was impressed by wildlife in the Okavango Delta and Etosha National Park. “Herds of elephants, impalas, water buffalo, and zebras mingled and displayed their lives, unperturbed by our presence. We were really surprised to watch symbiotic relationships and natural order play out—like a leopard mom with a 3-month old cub eating a fresh kill, or coming within 10 feet of a rare black rhino. You read about it and hear but to watch different species interacting was terrific.”
He adds, “Traveling through the countryside in rural areas of Botswana and Namibia and seeing the kids and women greeting us wherever we went was pretty special and unexpected.”
While Bronwen was in awe of the animals, she was also fascinated by Victoria Falls. “We walked the meandering trail right along right along the Zimbabwe side, feeling the spray from the Falls, observing people standing in the Devil’s pools seemingly at the brink on the Zambia side. It was also fun to watch the baboons cavort. The Victoria Falls Hotel is like going back to a different era, with old photos on the walls, high tea, silverware, and everything served the old-fashioned way. A beautiful dinner followed by local entertainment capped off an outstanding day.”
As much as they enjoyed the time together on the bike, they also appreciated free time where they did their own thing and hung out with others.
When it comes to their evaluation of the trip, they’re unanimous. “ It was so awesome, that we wish we were there now. We’d do it again in a minute.”
Photo Credits: Craig and Bronwen Thompson