Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Day Like No Other!

Every once in a while you begin to feel your age and it really is so irritating, you know? I had planned this day for so long, knowing it would be a once in a lifetime deal (and it was), but make no mistake, I was not a happy camper with the weather! I’m in Africa, am I not? Where’s the heat?

Henk picked us up at 5AM for our trip to Skukuza Gate at Kruger Park. It’s a school holiday week here so he expected the lines to be long – they weren’t – and, because of the gray, drizzly, overcast, he told us we’d see a lot more animals – we did!
I’ll tell you that I’ve never been one for zoos or animal parks. I hated the circus as a kid, it terrified me, had a sinister feeling to it that I just couldn’t shake, and that watching Water for Elephants on the plane over here did nothing to dispel! Seeing caged or impaired movement in the animal kingdom goes against nature and causes me to be too depressed to enjoy it. Whenever I hear of an animal retaliating against its keeper I do a silent fist bump.
So it is with great joy that one experiences the animals in the wild in a paradise like Kruger, an animal refuge as large as the state of Israel. It’s difficult to comprehend. Even with an experienced guide like Henk your head is on a constant swivel, straining into the veld to catch a movement. One can only marvel at the creativity of mother nature and the way she shields her charges from harm, their coats of many colors blending so well with their surroundings and changing with the seasons.

An elusive Kudu spotted by Don. My  favorites, I thought were the giraffes until we spotted the herd of zebra!

But then how can you resist the Impalas who rove in large groups for protection, I’m sorry to say that mother nature has determined that they are the weakest link in the wild and are there to feed the more aggressive animals, in particular, the lions (of which we only spotted one elusive guy resting on a rock).

We left this area of the Kruger around 2 in the afternoon to meet up with a character right out of a novel. A rifle toting tracker, Magda, who prefers to be called Max, was to take us on the next leg of our day, to a private game reserve within Kruger where we would transfer to open top Land Rovers for a four hour game drive that would place us right in the middle of the animals’ territory. This was to be the highlight of our day – why oh why did it begin to rain with a vengeance? The temperature dropped to about 50 something and all I could think of were Ann’s last words to me as I left for vacation, “don’t come back sick.”


Kathryn Taubert said...

Incredible Sally. Your recitations on your trip make me want to go back to Africa..and see the parts of it I have not yet seen, and fallen in love with!!! Thanks for sharing this!

Sallyb said...

Oh Kathryn, We could have stayed so much longer. I feel we barely scratched the surface. Don is still yearning to see Ghana and for me it's Botswana. Guess we'd better start saving!