Bush Dispatches From The Pinto Family

By Micato Staff September 22, 2021


The great migration has concluded… the great Pinto migration to Africa, that is.

Family explorers and fearless Micato leaders Dennis and Joy Pinto, along with their  children, Sasha and Tristan, recently got back from their annual migration from New York City to Africa to visit with the elder Pintos – aka Micato Africa founders Felix and Jane – for a fabulous three-generation exploration of Africa.

As their luxury safari unfolded, Joy and Sasha staged a takeover of the Micato Instagram account, sharing the family’s wondrous exploration of beloved old haunts and exciting new ones. If you happen to follow Micato on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, you’ll find the Pinto safari photos there, too.

We not only invite you to scroll through all of our social channels for a gander at the Pinto Family Safari… but it’s also our pleasure to recap Joy’s dispatches from the bush below, complete with her original captions. Enjoy!

Big Cats in the Bush

The safari we just returned from was perhaps one of our all-time family favourites. This past year — one of the most challenging the travel industry and the world has ever known — taught us a lot and reminded everyone of what matters most.

Not long after watching these affectionate lion brothers, Tristan showed me this image in his viewfinder and what came to mind was this African proverb: Where there is love, there is no darkness.

And when it comes to the big cats, we saw more this summer than ever before.

Rangers told us that prides relocated during the last year of quiet savannahs and we saw two pregnant females and several cubs. They were relaxed around vehicles as always and passed thrillingly close to us as if weren’t even there.

We were also rewarded early in our journey with sightings of the oh-so-elusive leopard. We watched two cubs frolic and tumble for hours in our favourite conservancy in Laikipia without another soul or vehicle in sight.

Their mama was teaching them to hunt and the cubs practiced by ambushing her tail, random rocks, twigs, and each other!

And even after decades on safari, the thrill of spotting the elusive leopard never goes away.

Spotting leopards — forgive the pun! — takes luck and skill, and fortunately, Micato Safari Directors have both in abundance.

We were also reminded of something I guess we always knew… cheetah teenagers are hams!
We were riveted by these sassy siblings as they wrestled and rolled like their playful housecat cousins.

Ellies Everywhere

We saw big cats in abundance, but as you’ll also note from reading Google Reviews from Micato travellers who have joined us this past year, the game lands are rich with many more magnificent creatures.

While we were on safari we marked World Elephant Day — but as far as we’re concerned, every day is elephant day! — and this gentle creature was a part of a gorgeous family group we observed for hours.

On another day we watched as the tiny tusker in the second shot below dogged his disinterested sibling for hours, trying to engage him in horseplay.
I’m sure anyone who’s ever had kids can relate to these antics!

A Word About Rhinos

For a moment I want to shine the spotlight on our dear friend the rhinoceros.

After a 15-month pregnancy, a black rhino mama will birth one calf, who will depend on her almost nonstop for nearly three years. Once big enough to avoid preying big cats, wild dogs, crocs, and hyenas, baby will leave mama’s shadow.

The only predator that really poses a problem after that is us humans. Poaching and horn trafficking keep the black rhino on the critically endangered list. According to our friends at the World Wildlife Fund only about 5,600 of these creatures remain.

So when we spend time with the grumpy but gorgeous black rhino in East Africa (they can also be seen on safari in Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe) we feel quite lucky indeed.

Up, Up and Away

On top of the world. That’s how it looks and feels on a hot-air balloon safari above the savannahs. Floating in space, disconnected in every possible good way. Sometimes it’s not until you’re literally brought back to Earth that you remember you’re mortal and that other mortals, namely your talented balloon pilot and crew, have turned this simple invention of basket and air into the experience of a lifetime.
Africa is a drama whose best seats are sometimes a thousand feet above the grassy savannahs, where elephants saunter and giraffes stroll and zebras gallop while you glide dreamily, silently, watching the show that never ends.
On safari you can also wing your way from camp to camp on your own privately chartered flights. And while spectacular views await if you peer out the window, should you need to catch up on schoolwork, that’s okay too!
Winging across the tapestry of the African savannahs is a great thrill… and privately chartered bush flights with Micato, a popular option these days, are more affordable than you’d imagine.

Resting Our Heads

If you relish your privacy on vacation (which many do, especially this year), you will have your pick of stunning private safari villas – all Pinto tested and approved! – with a private chef, butler, safari vehicle, and Micato Safari Director to yourself.

This private villa below knocked our socks off in every way and to awaken to that view every day, oh my! The home can accommodate a large family and Micato guests (and the Pintos!) have been swooning over it.

Often the most sublime luxuries on safari are the simplest. Here Sasha and Tristan’s girlfriend, Lily, opt to gameview from the comfort of their hammock.

Some summers, we’re so eager to see the animals that we never make it to the pool… and then we regret it. So my simple PSA (Pinto Safari Announcement) is this: Make time to swim. You’ll be happy you did.

Safari landscapes inspire reflection because so much literally lies before you. Possibility is easier to see. It’s no wonder travellers leave here feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world.

Family Time

The thought of sunset strolls along meandering roads through the savannahs this summer kept Sasha and Tristan going during long college semesters of Zoom classes. Dennis and I couldn’t agree more. The vast vistas, endless skies, and wildlife by the millions are a balm to the soul.

What do game drives, hot-air balloon safaris, bush breakfasts, and sundowners have in common? We relished them all in wide-open spaces, mask-free, with no other people as far as the eye can see.

And while it looks like we’re social distancing from each other, we’re actually just mesmerized by this bird’s eye view of sunset over the endless plains!

Sundowners in our secret spot, complete with a waterfall and elephants on the ridge behind us. It’s an idyllic corner of paradise for picnics, walking safaris, and horseback riding. We return here often and love sharing our secret with Micato guests in the area!

On safari you can hear the quiet. That may sound crazy, but if you’ve been in the bush, you know what I mean. And that eternal, almost palpable, delicious safari silence is more conducive to listening than anything I’ve ever experienced as a parent. Having not just the quiet, but the time and space to hear each other on mother-daughter morning walks, while the natural world unfolds around us, is perhaps what I love most about safari.

One final thought…

Our three generations of Pintos have been on safari, summer after summer, for decades.

And we promised each other long ago we’d never take it for granted.

We were grateful to be in paradise, and more grateful than ever to be together.

There’s a centuries-old Kenyan adage, “Jamii ndiyo msingi wa kila kitu,” which means, “Family is the foundation of everything”.

It’s one of the things we learned on safari. If you’ve been on safari with us, you know what we mean.

And when you travel with Micato, you’ll know it like never before.


We hope to see you in Micato’s Africa one day soon! Contact us however you like, request our award-winning Micato Safaris brochure, and we’ll get started.

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