African safari

I was never really a “zoo kid” growing up. We would go see the animals on occasion, and I took a couple classes there as a kid – that’s how I learned I really like snakes, of all things. In sixth grade I spent a night at the zoo in Colorado Springs with my Sunday school class and it was basically a nightmare – peacocks running around while I sleep? No thank you.

Needless to say, going on a safari wasn’t something I ever gave much thought to. In addition to Africa just seeming so far away, the idea of being out in the wild, with these creatures in their natural habitat, didn’t appeal to me at all. But when I heard we’d be doing two three-hour outings at Kruger National Park before our mission trip to Swaziland, well, I started getting excited. And as soon as we entered the park, you’d think a safari was all I’d ever dreamed of.  This is one so-called once-in-a-lifetime experience I’d do again in a heartbeat.

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That giraffe and this pack of elephants were spotted on the drive to the hotel – still in the van, not even on safari, crawling all over each other to get the picture-perfect shot. (On a related note, a lot of these photos are pretty poor quality, but I was going for subject matter here.)

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This was the moment I realized this would be very different from those zoo trips: Just some monkeys casually eating the leftovers of some guests who’d left the table.

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It would seem lions appreciate a beautiful sunset just as much as humans do.

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If you look closely on the branch to the right of that tree, you’ll spy a cheetah resting after chasing down its breakfast. (I do also have photos of cheetahs eating said breakfast, but I’ll spare you).

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Another cheetah spotting: Can you see it?! Finding these animals was like a giant game of Where’s Waldo, and I’m forever grateful to our experienced guide, Clive, who was ridiculously patient in pointing things out to us.

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It’s called Crocodile River, but it’s full of hippos! It’s also a rather lovely spot to enjoy a morning coffee.

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Warthogs! Or as I like to call them, pumbas. Those suckers are much faster than I ever imagined!

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And finally, not from safari but still a favorite: A peacock at a shopping center in Swaziland. I suppose they’re not all bad – so long as they’re not keeping me up at night!

Which animal would you be itching to spy on a safari? I found myself most excited about the zebras!

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