Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Aug 4: Chapter 8 - Lions, Rhinos and Elephans... Oh My!

Today was way 'funner!' After dropping Rob off at the S.O.S. Children's Village in Siteki the seven of us headed to Hlane in search of the Big 5 (Elephants, Rhinos, Lions, Leopards, and the ever popular Water Buffalo). With time to spare before the safari we spent some time bonding at the local watering hole, literally. In less than thirty minutes we were enjoying our morning coffee with the Rhinos (1 down, 4 to go). To not be out done several hippos decided to join the party as well. Even though hippos are not part of the Big 5 they are just so darn cute!

As we continued to pass the time watching the animals in their environment we were very much aware of the calmness and stillness of the experience. We commented to each other many times on the dichotomy of their beauty and the potential danger in their behaviour. For all of us we found ourselves in a more relaxed and peaceful state of mind.

Just before taking off on safari Mirella (aka Sunshine) came running to the group professing to have spotted the infamous Water Buffalo (2 down, 3 to go). With camera in hand and gunning for the Jeep Sunshine also called " Gun Shot!" To the rest of us this is also known as "Shot Gun."

With Johannes as our guide and Sunshine Co-Piloting we started our safari adventure. We rounded the first bend and boom, we spotted several female elephants and their young (that makes 3 down, 2 to go). Not far up the path we saw two giraffes. Interspersed we saw impala (the animal, not the Chevy car), warthogs, an assortment of birds (including the 'banana beak bird' and cape glossy starling), a crocodile, Egyptian geese, and many termite mounds.

We spent some time searching for lions but seemingly to no avail. As we were leaving the gated area the jeep in front of us had spotted a lion. And not just any old lion, but one with a huge mane and a huge attitude. We sat and admired his presence. And then we admired some more.

As we exited the park most of us checked off 3 of the Big 5. However, Sunshine is able to check off 4. Game on!

Lesson of the Day: Be quiet and keep your eyes peeled.

Disclaimer: Do not be fooled, the word Dichotomy was all Kelly. Definitely the word of the day.  No humans or animals were harmed in the writing of this blog.

Anya and Kelly
DWC Participants
August 2013, Swaziland

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