Published: February 23rd 2012February 23rd 2012
Many thanks to all of you who comment on our blog. Not only is it a connection to home, but it makes it easier to write the next entry! I have heard a rumour that our daughters even look at it- but refrain from commenting........Kids!!!!:)
To respond to some of the comments: Yes, I 'll be sure we spend some time at home, even if Mark could stay on indefinitely......and yes- I was worried about the safety issue over here in Africa. We heard MANY stories of how scary it would be- and mostly from the native South Africans. We have seen NOTHING to be worried about. WE are careful not to travel at night, and to use common sense-we don't flaunt our electronic devices or money. The people have been nothing but friendly, some more helpful than others of course- but that is the same everywhere. There are not too many North Americans over here- mostly Europeans, and lots of South Africans traveling the way we are. We have not seen too much begging for money- mostly in Zimbabwe-
Altho the standard of living here is very low, we have seen worse in poverty in the Caribbean Islands.
We are astounded by the distances these people walk! Every day, we see people walking on roads that seem to have no sign of life around for miles. Young kids- around 5 years old- are walking home from schools that are at least 5km away. No adults in sight. It's amazing. The houses on the hills have no roads into them- so the people have to walk forever just to get off the hill and out to the main road. We should all have to walk so far each day!!!!!
Now- on to our next major attraction- Kruger National Park. We spent 4 nights in the park- traveling from the north to the south. It is customary for everyone to get up at 5am- and head out by 5:30 am to go on a “game drive” . This is suggested in order to catch the animals out and about. During the heat of the day, most animals aren't moving around as much. We would return to the camp around 2:30 and relax until time for the second game drive which is done around 4 pm- returning by 6:30- NO LATER- as the gates are
locked tight into the campground.
We had one VERY close call getting back- someone had told us about the group of lions that you see in the pictures- and of course, we had to go see for ourselves! It was a bit further then we had planned, and so Mark had to drive very fast to get back on some pretty rough roads. Luckily, we did not get caught as the speeding fines are very steep in the park! That was a bit hair-raising!
Our home on wheels has allowed us to picnic in unusual places. In the park, you are not allowed to get out of your car unless it is a designated “get out” area. So- we often just stopped at a viewpoint, opened up the windows, and made lunch while inside. WELL-
on this particular occasion, as we were eating- doesn't an elephant start heading straight for the camper. As their eyes are on the side of their heads, and they walk trunk down anyway, he didn't notice our camper. We debated trying to move the camper- but were too afraid to anger him with the noise and commotion. So we calmly
did up all the windows- hoping that he wouldn't smell us or our food, and just sat tight. Once again- I know these are passive animals- but we had just been to an elephant museum with descriptions of how angry they can become- they made mince meat of one unlucky visitors car when he came between momma and baby.......
Luckily, in our case, the elephant finally noticed us- and moved to a different path- walking about 20 ft away from the camper instead. Whew!!!!!
No sooner had we opened all the windows and started to relax, when out from the brush came another elephant. All in all- this happened 3 times! Yikes!
OH- and FYI- an elephant eats for 18 hours a day, and poops around 155kg- yes- kg of poop every day.
Most elephants die of starvation in their old age, due to their teeth disintegrating! Their ears flap to move blood through their body, cool them down, and chase off flies.
WE saw tons of elephants, many giraffes- buffalo, water buck- some lions- and a cheetah. No leopard. That was our mission- to find the leopard- but we weren't successful. We were surprised
by how close to the road the lions choose to lie!
Again- I'll say no more- enjoy the pics!
There are more photos below