The Lion Sleeps Tonight: South Africa, Day 4
The occupants of my treehouse joined me in waking early and eating a hearty breakfast. We picked out our safari vehicle and climbed in the back. I was disappointed as they were not the same ones as last night, where we could hear our guide explain things about the flora and fauna. I commiserated with Perri and Alyssa as we drove open-air the 45 minutes to the Orpen Gate of Kruger National Park. The drive was cold and dusty, and we all put our sunglasses on and drew our sweaters around us in an effort to be more comfortable. When we arrived, we went through the gate and the African bush was all around us in its wild glory. The guide immediately drove us to an area with a restroom that was protected with a fence of sticks stuck upright in the ground. This reminded me that the threat of wild animals was real and around us at all times. There were no fences separating me and animals that could kill me with one motion.
We bounced around for a while as we passed more and more wildebeest and impala. We came across a large herd of zebra and impala and drove amongst them for a while, watching the light animals bouncing across the savannah. Eventually we came across a large bull elephant bathing himself in a river. We stopped for a while and intruded on his private moment. He splashed about and sprayed water on himself, just having a jolly good time. After that, we saw more elephants, more giraffes, so many zebra and impala that it became boring, hippos, baboons, and a bevy of birds. All I really wanted to see, however, was big cats. I searched that park high and low for signs of a lion or an elusive leopard. No luck. We drove around all day and still I never saw my big cats. Although I had seen many other large, beautiful animals in their natural habitats, I have to admit that I was sorely disappointed by the lack of lions. I swore to myself that one day I would go back to Kruger and see lions, and not stop going back until I saw lions, a leopard, and a cheetah. That may be unreasonable, but it gives me an excuse to go back to South Africa multiple times.
After we had had our fills of the herbivores, the safari vehicle headed back for our treehouses. We had yet another delicious meal cooked by our hosts, and we climbed under our mosquito nets and went to sleep. Mission Safari in Africa: complete.
Photo by Alyssa Wenzel