Our day started early again with the Rangers knocking at 5:15am to get us up. These were our rooms:
Our game drive started at 6am, so at 5:45 I went to check on the 3 older kids who were in their own cabin beside us (once you are in your cabin at night, you can’t leave without the rangers escorting you. If you do have to leave, you have a walkie talkie to contact the rangers. So, I had not checked to make sure they were up. In true teenage style, they were fast asleep. I went in their room (there are no locks on anything around here – and it just feels right), and said, “You guys slept in hurry up we have to go” in my really loud Mom-is-mad voice. You should have seen them jump!!! They were ready in 5 min….
The view of the water hole in the early morning^^
We had two goals today: elephant and rhino to complete our big 5. Halfway through the morning drive, our driver got a call that a herd of elephants had been spotted. Our driver put the pedal down and we sped off (seriously, half the fun). We found them and parked the truck and snapped away. One elephant came up behind our truck. She was curious – but she came really close. Zach and Zandra were in the back and they could literally reach out and touch her.
Of course, they didn’t. The ranger banged on the car a bit to get her to back away. She shook her head at them (the ranger said she was letting them know how powerful she was). We tried to be really still AND take some good photos without moving our arms too much. It was awesome.
We saw lot of other stuff too:
After the morning drive we had breakfast and then several hours to just chill.
We went on a bush walk – which was soooo hot!! But we learned about trees and bugs:)
We swam, read, napped, and some of the kids and I worked on a little scrapbook of all the Africa things we had (airline ticket stubs, bills) and write little things so we won’t forget. We had lunch, and then just chilled some more.
At 3:45, under the beating sun, we went out for another drive. Our goal was to see Rhino (although Zandra surprised us all by saying she wanted to see a kill!!!). Part way through, they saw tracks for a male leopard, and then another truck called to say that they found him. We went chasing after him too, but no luck.
However, in passing a water hole, what did we find? A rhino with her little 2 month baby (so cutey!). They went to a mud bath and the Mama bathed, and then the baby copied her! It was incredible!! We also learned a ton about the serious poaching problem – especially with rhino. They figure it won’t take long before the rhino is extinct:((
We spotted some elephants again, including a HUGE elephant (but my pics of him didn’t turn out). We stopped for a drink and snack as the sun was setting and the sky was turning all amazing shades of pink, purple and orange. They we noticed the darkness on the other side of the sky…a storm was brewing.
We witnessed the most incredible lightening storm! We put ponchos on, but it really didn’t rain much, but the lightning was just unreal. It was so beautiful.
Our ranger, Dean, mentioned, “This is true nature”; this a moment after Rob had said to me, “We have witnessed the majesty of the animals, and now Mother Nature is letting us know her power.”
Riding along those bumpy roads, the sky lighting up, feeling raindrops, looking around at my family dressed in a goofy poncho, each of us trying to capture the lightening – and the majesty of everything on camera, I just sat in awe. You can not capture any of that in photos or movies; just impressions left in my memory and heart.
Dinner is great at this lodge. Feels like you are eating at someone’s home. We had to eat indoors because of the lightning.
People always told me a safari is such an unbelievable experience, but I wasn’t sure what to expect.
I understand what they meant now. But still, I could not put it into words. Our first ranger (at the other lodge), Andre mentioned that he did not believe in evolution. It’s not surprising — this experience really brings heaven and earth together. Truly a thin place, with lots of thin moments.
The world and all its creations is such a beautiful place.