Swenson returns to South Africa to volunteer at Kevin Richardson Wildlife Sanctuary

(Editor’s Note: Sabrina Swenson, a 1986 graduate of Postville High School, is the daughter of Erma Swenson and the late Marlin Swenson. A world traveler, Sabrina is sharing her experiences in South Africa. Printed below is the first of a three-part series.)

I had heard of the Lion Whisperer, but since I’ve not owned a TV since the 90’s and having never looked him up, all I knew was that he was a South African that had a way with lions.

A colleague often posted pictures of him and his big cats on her Facebook page. As a cat lover, I always enjoyed looking at them. One day she posted a video. On it, the Lion Whisperer (aka Kevin Richardson) talked about the volunteers at his wildlife sanctuary. Volunteers? He has volunteers? That was it! That was what I was going to do!

One of my goals is to eventually travel every country in the world. I am in no rush. I’ve been plodding along at it for the past 24 years and have crossed 99 countries off my list. There’s no defined finish date, other than by-the-time-I-die, I would like to have traveled all 197 countries. As such, I generally never return to the same country twice. South Africa, however, is always my exception. My first trip to the country was two weeks after 9/11. A girlfriend and I were planning our trip when the tragedy occurred. We said “screw it, let’s go anyway!” and so we did. What ensued was one of the best vacations of my life. Everything about it was great, especially going on safari in Kruger Park. Being an animal lover, it was the highlight for me. Staying in a beautiful bush camp added to the experience.

And so, I’ve found myself on many occasions since then, returning to this great country. Sure, she has her problems, but what country doesn’t? This trip would be my sixth.

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