Posted by Emily Block | 1 comments

Safari!

   When I think back on today, it seems like it was a whole week!  It's amazing how much one can get done when they wake up at 5am and stay up until 11pm!  

    I had two flights and an awesome car ride to get to the safari resort.  And I do mean resort.  I was worried because the description said we would be staying in tents, but these are luxury tents with air conditioning, bath salts, and chocolate on the pillows.  I don't think I've stayed in a nicer place in my life!



   Backing up, the flights were pretty standard.  Get on, take off, fly, land.  There was some confusion about me being in a wheelchair, but it all worked out and we got to the flight on time.  An interesting thing about airports here is that it is perfectly acceptable to show up to the airport 40 minutes before a flight.  Security takes about a minute and there aren't any crowds to contend with.  It made for a very relaxing trip.  The airlines also gave us a meal, even on the flight that was only an hour long.  (Take note, airlines in the U.S.)





   The second plane was a tiny one with propellers!  It was quite bouncy but fun.  The airport we came into was in the middle of the South African bush and very small.  Within ten to fifteen minutes of landing we were already meeting with our guides who would take us to our lodge.  I was expecting a bus, like for most of SAS transportation, but we got to ride in a safari car right away!  And what a trip it was!  We saw lots of different kinds of antelope, warthogs, and even rhinos!  

The way they run with their tails straight up in the air is endearing beyond words.  I want one.

You can just barely see the bum of a baby rhino behind the big ones.

Unfortunately also lots of spiders that were bigger than my open hand.  They are like everywhere and it is terrifying to me.




     We were greeted at the lodge with a cool cloth to wipe the just off of our faces and guava drinks.  After a brief overview of our accommodations and the schedule for the next few days, we headed to our rooms to unpack and get ready for afternoon tea.  Instead of numbers, the rooms were given animal names.  I stayed in giraffe.  :0)   I spent probably 80% of that time ogling at the room and taking pictures and about 20% actually unpacking and getting changed.  

Our camp.

No doors or blinds for the shower!  Hope there weren't any peepers. haha


The most comfortable bed in the world.

Our luxury tend from the outside.  


   Afternoon tea was as quaint and fun as it sounds.  There were some sweet and savory snacks accompanied by hot and cold coffee and tea.  After some chatting and noming, I checked out the beautiful beautiful internet on my phone.  It felt strange and wonderful to be connected to the world again.  I did have to check myself though, because I quickly could have slid back into my anti-social internet habits.  

   At 4:30, it was time for the first game drive!  Somehow I managed to get on the least crowded jeep so we all had a "window seat."  The ride in itself was really fun.  Think Indiana Jones ride in Disneyland but without seat-belts and everything is real!  I expected the game drives to be lots of driving and a few lucky spottings of animals.  The rhino we saw about two minutes into the game drive told me my expectations were going to be very much surpassed.  

A rhino blowing kisses at us.  Or smiling.  With rhinos it's always hard to tell, you know.

  Our guides were really funny and loved to mess with us and play pranks.  One of the things the tracker did was to say he smelt something if he knew we were close.  It took us forever to figure out that he knew we were coming up to an animal because of the radio.  We were driving a long and suddenly stopped and he said that he smelled something.  He had us all try to guess what he smelled but none of us did.  We slowly pulled forward and saw...


  Amazing!  There were two lionesses and three cubs!  They were quite active for this time in the day with the little ones playing and nursing and the adults swatting at the cubs when they got to annoying.  I couldn't believe I was seeing real lions in the wild!  It's an almost spiritual experience.  I was in awe as I watched them carry on with business as usual, not giving a single care that we were there.  Even if I ever made it to a safari, I never thought I would be lucky enough to see something like this!


  Eventually, we had to move on to give other groups a chance.  There were tons of antelope, birds, and warthogs to see.  Part way through the game drive, we stopped for a drink and a snack.  I took the opportunity to take some memorable photos. 


Day turned into dusk which turned into night.  Still there was more to see.  Our guides somehow spotted this little guy in a tree by the side of the road.  It's a baby camelian!  




We got another sighting in of the lions before we headed back for an 8:00 dinner as well.
The cubs are nursing.  :0)

Dinner was fantastic as was the setting.  We were at beautifully set tables surrounding a central bonfire.  

By the end of dinner, I was stuffed and sleepy.  I stayed up a bit longer to get in some skype time with my family and then fell asleep the instant my head hit the pillow.  It was an awesome day!

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