Covid or No Covid – I’m Traveling. But How?
This trip happened in the summer of 2020. That’s right, in the middle of Covid! We decided to travel anyway, with our Red Oxx bags in tow.
After wanting to go to Africa since I was a little girl, I finally got the chance. My hubby and I decided to go on a private safari in Tanzania during August of 2020. It was one of the best decisions we ever made. Not only because we had the most incredible adventure of our lifetime, but also because we were still able to travel during Covid because everything about our journey was private and secluded.
Africa, Here I Come! (NOTE: Hot Pink and Lime Green where Special Edition colors).
If anyone is thinking of doing a trip like this we highly recommend using Africa Dream Safaris. They specialize exclusively in private safaris to Tanzania.
We chose the Hemingway Experience. We stayed in tented camps and lodges instead of hotels. I would go to sleep at night hearing the Wildebeest snorting all around my tent or hearing lions roaring in the not-too-far distance!
Best Safari Bag Criteria
So, in preparation for this epic journey, I researched the best duffel to take.
My Bag Criteria:
- It had to be small, but roomy, since the African bush planes have a limited size and weight limit for all bags.
- It had to be rugged to hold up on the long, bumpy rides in the safari jeep.
- It had to be "made in the USA".
- It had to be easy to use, easy to clean and easy to spot.
- It had to be extremely well made, but affordable for the average person, like me.
- Oh, and it had to be pretty. No ugly bag for me, no matter where I was going.
Well, you can imagine the trouble I had meeting my bag criteria, that is, until I stumbled upon the Red Oxx website. Wow! I hit the jackpot.
And the Best Safari Bag Award Goes to Red Oxx
Once I saw the Safari-Beanos PR5 duffel bags I was hooked. They were everything I wanted and needed. I ordered two for our Christmas presents – a bright pink* one for me and a lime green* one for my hubby. (* Denotes Special Edition Red Eye Collective colors that were available only for a limited time. ~ Ed.)
There was even a hand-written thank you note included when they arrived. What personalized service!
I couldn’t wait for my Safari trip to begin. I would sing the song "Africa" from Toto over and over again. Sometimes I got a bit silly when changed some of the lyrics to this:
"It’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless my bag from Montana
Red Oxx took some time, to make, this bag just for me (ooh, ooh)"
Well, I guess you had to be there to hear it, but it was really cute!
Red Oxx Collective Special Edition Colors Stand Out From the Crowd
How did our bags do when flying? Excellent, of course. They look deceptively small, but we were able to fit in everything that we needed for our two week trip thanks in part to the side pockets and deep end pockets. The bags easily made the weight and size limit for the flights, too.
Packing our Safari Tour Truck.
Another enjoyable part in owning these bags was when we collected them from the airport baggage carousel. We watched other travelers as they would pick up a bag, look at the name tag, realize it wasn’t theirs, then put it back down and continue looking for their elusive, indistinguishable bag.
We, however, had none of that. As soon as our unique and colorful Red Oxx bags came out there was absolutely no doubt they were ours. We had many envious looks come our way.
Not Just for Carry-on – For Road Trips, Too.
Our bags did great on our road trip in the Serengeti, too. As we went on our long, daily game drives, and drove to various bush camps, our bags would get all dusty and dirty in the back of the land cruiser. But all I needed to do was a quick wipe and they cleaned up great. And not a bit of dust got inside the bags either, thanks to the good workmanship with the zippers and buckles.
One time a big, bull elephant stopped at the rear of our land cruiser and peered in. Since we could tell that the elephant was in musth (urine was dribbling down the back of his legs), our driver/guide was concerned that he might become aggressive and rock our vehicle. I had a feeling that he was just showing interest in both us and our brightly colored luggage.
My Elephant Friend.
Luckily, the encounter ended peacefully and he ambled away as we watched in awe.
The Circle-of-Life Before My Eyes
What a life-changing trip this was seeing tons of wild animals in their natural habitat. The circle-of-life was right in front of us as we saw a variety of antelope, wildebeest, zebra and warthog try to elude the lions, leopards and a cheetah.
We watched a lioness take down a warthog and then have to give it up to the male lion who just had to eat first – after all that work.
Boss Lion Eats First.
The vastness of the African landscape amazed us as we watched the tens of thousands of wildebeest and zebra make their annual migration across the Savannah.
We also became enamored with the African birds. They were beautiful and had such unique names, such as the "Go Away Bird", the "Bee-eater" and the "Secretary Bird".
Beautiful Little Bee-eater.
And I swear there was a Cape Buffalo who was making it his life mission to kill me if I dared to set foot too close to his habitat. His beady eyes and arrogant attitude told me so. What a scary fellow!
Stay Away from this Arrogant Attitude.
Back to the U.S.A.
So far this year, our bags have also been with us on smaller road trip adventures here in the U.S. – to Wild & Wonderful West Virginia, and to Bar Harbor, Maine.
West Virginia, Take Me Home
I totally recommend visiting our nation’s newest National Park in West Virginia – The New River Gorge National Park and Reserve.
We had been there before to white water raft, and I’ll never forget that experience. After spending most of the day on the rapids in the New River, one of the oldest rivers in the world, my legs were shaking from the exhilaration and terror of it all.
In my defense, at one point I was tossed into the rapids when my kayak flipped after hitting a rock, so I think that my fright was justified.
Porcupine Islands at Sunset, Mt. Desert Island, Maine.
The Best National Park is Located Down East
While in Bar Harbor, Maine we really enjoyed exploring Acadia National Park. Here are some highlights of that trip:
- Hiking Beehive Trail – don’t go if you are afraid of heights.
- Exploring Cadillac Mountain. Due to a storm the night before, we saw gorgeous unexpected waterfalls from the flash flooding.
- Watching an exquisite sunrise and here was also a partial solar eclipse during the sunrise – wow!
- Rock climbing by the sea on Otter Cliffs. This was the first time I ever rock climbed – what a place to start! Now I’m hooked.
- Hiking around Jordan Pond. You have to eat the "world famous" popovers at Jordan Pond House afterwards – delicious.
Top of Beehive Trail, Acadia National Park, Maine.
After all of these adventures, my bag has "informed" me that it wants to go on even more trips.
Flash Flooding on Cadillac Mountain, Maine.
Moral to this story: Listen to your bag!
I hope that you can tell how much I love my Red Oxx bag. I have lots of other pieces of luggage in my closet, but haven’t used them since I got my Safari-Beano PR5. This is my "go-to" bag for everything. Whenever I get it out I think, "Adventure, here I come."
~ Penelope I.
As you stated in your post script Penelope, a picture is worth a thousand words. And I love pictures. Your Serengeti sunset is nearly identical to one I took in Africa over a decade ago. Tree, sun, lighting, everything. Life on the African plains can be brutal and shocking to us civilized folk, but it’s the way nature’s been for a millennia. Hopefully your Big Bull Roll-up Prize Bag will join you on future escapades, despite being basic black.
~ Cheers, Jim Markel CEO