Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Day 31: African Lion Safari

So today was a big day, it was time to see some iconic African game on the open planes! So we had to get up before dawn and start to drive back to the park. What was real funny is that the silly park didn't open its gates until 7:00am, its probably some scam to keep the suckers in the expensive park hotel. But we made a deal with the park guard; we gave him a little token of our appreciation for some “efficiency enhancement” and he let us in no problem. So we got where we wanted no problem, and we caught the ferry to the other side of the river to start the game drive. We then got a guide to ride with his trusty AK-47, I don't think the gun will do much to stop a charging elephant, but whatevs. The guy told us a crazy story about a previous group of tourists that got to close to a lone bull elephant, the car got trampled pretty bad, but fortunately nobody died.
What was real magical was that we saw a big herd of giraffes right in front of the rising sun. That was a real impressive sight! Those animals are real tall and they move so gracefully across the savanna. There was a ton of buck running around in the park, they came in all shapes and sizes, which was good because they attract the most famous of predators, lions! Yep we saw a couple of lions lazily lying down under some shade, all females, probably getting ready for the hunt. It was pretty impossible to get a good picture with that little camera that I had, but I got a pretty good view of the predators with my binoculars. So we parked right in front of the lionesses, we stared at them, they stared at us, then they disappeared in the bush.
We got a little bit of a scare when we drove unexpectedly right in the middle of a whole lot of grazing water buffaloes. Those animals are real killers, you dont want to mess with. So we were pretty on edge, we kept moving very slowly, ready to floor it if need be. We were so close to the buffalo, that was pretty cool. At the end of the ride, we were lucky to see a huge bull elephant walking around alone, at the exit. Kinda saying goodbye, ha.

This time on the way back we saw another equally memorable sight, it was the remnants of the vast array of refugee camps for displaced people in the north. It was a pretty sobering sight, there were little huts as far as the eye could see. It was sad, but their was solace in knowing that the situation wasn't as bad as it once was. The northern rebels are less active as they once were, but we were still in dangerous country.

We arrived at the compound in the afternoon. The good thing is that my sunburn is wearing off, I will be grateful for that when I'm squeezed in economy class on the flight home on Thursday.

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