Thursday, 28 March 2013 16:39
Navarre resident Pat Quinn is no stranger to Africa.
The founder of the Gulf Breeze Zoo has traveled to the vast continent about 70 separate times and has led a majority of those trips as the tour guide. He said his ultimate joy is introducing Americans to the eye-opening experience of the diverse animals and landscape.
“My greatest pleasure is taking people to Africa and see their reaction,” Quinn said. “It’s such a different world.”
Africa is the “cradle of mankind,” Quinn said, and simply cannot be reproduced anywhere. It’s a land of great beauty and extremes.
It is 12 million square miles and consists of 54 independent countries and more than 2,000 languages, he said. Kenya alone has about 30 languages. Quinn said it is home to the tallest people and the smallest people, the biggest, fastest and tallest land mammals and the world’s largest bird.
“People don’t really understand the beauty and majesty of wildlife on this Earth,” Quinn said. “To have a bull elephant take bread off your table or have a lion sleeping beside your tent is a thrill. It’s a real adventure.”
The first stop on the adventure is the Lewa Safari Camp, a 65,000-acre nature reserve with a mission to restore endangered animal populations. They also educate the community about the animals and hire locals who need jobs. Travelers will have three days to explore the reserve and see elephants, giraffe, zebra, both white and black rhino, cheetah, lion, leopard, hyena, jackal, ostrich and 13 species of antelopes.
Navarre residents Nell and Jim Potter have traveled on Quinn’s safari 14 times. Nell originally didn’t think she would go because she’s not a camping-type person. But Quinn’s trips are far from roughing it, she said. There are beautiful canvas tents, hot showers, amazing food and about a one-to-one employee to guest ratio.
Nell Potter said it’s impossible to imagine some of the sights they experienced on the safaris. Some of her unforgettable moments were to see the migration of more than one million wildebeest, and skies so clear she could see stars touch the horizon.
“It’s hard to describe it,” she said. “The best National Geographic picture doesn’t touch it. It’s almost an emotional experience to see so much wildlife and see elephants come right up to the vehicle.”
The total cost of the trip is $10,475 per person based on double occupancy. If traveling single, the cost increases by $1,815. The cost doesn’t include airfare because Quinn said many individuals choose to use frequent-flyer miles or other promotional airfare awards.
For more information or to book a trip, contact Quinn at