I am my mother’s oldest. She is no longer here with us and I am not about to tell you she was some kind of saint or romanticize her existence. She was just as flawed as every other human walking this planet. She was, however, my mom and she was awesome! (Leigh here-wifey, I can attest to that. His mother was awesome. I miss her so much) Her words, via my memories, still inform me to this day. They set my feet upon this path whether it is the popular choice or not. She gave me the freedom to explore who and what I was to be without being judgemental. The thing I miss most about her is our many talks. We would dream big dreams together and one such dream was a trip to Africa!
We have been here for just over six months now and there are days we are still blown away by the beauty and grandeur of this place. It has been all that we have imagined it to be and then some. While it is stocked with precious metals, stones, and many other valuable resources, to us…the truest and most wonderful resource is the nature and hospitality of its people. There is an abundance of warmth and welcoming everywhere you look here, in our experience. We are very grateful each time we think of the lifetime friendships formed with those we have met (Some we met before we arrived. Couchsurfers ROCK!).
We were planning to take a trip at some point to Kruger National Park and Wildlife Game Reserve. As fortune would have it another couch surfing friend, Prisca and her sister, Lydie, were going around the same time frame so we combined our trips. We would like to thank them again for the invite and having them there made an already awesome trip even more special!
Kruger… I have run out of superlatives for this place. The well is dry so-to-speak. It is difficult to convey properly what you feel inside when there is an animal as majestic as an elephant ten feet from your vehicle with calf in tow, not to mention an entire herd! How do you describe the wow factor of a Blue Wildebeest standing in the road with coat shimmering in the mid-afternoon sun as he grazes with absolutely no regard for traffic whatsoever? We were amazed at the sheer enormity of the giraffe in the wild as they gracefully strolled alongside, then in front of us. Almost as if they were floating on air instead of earthbound with cloven hooves.
I can only describe to you the giddiness we felt as we photographed and filmed Hippos as they playfully frolicked in the river. Happy to just catch them surface from time to time rewarding our patience and determination to see more than just the eyes and ears at the tops of their heads peaking just above the water’s edge. It is maybe possible through pictures to see the soulfulness in the eyes of the Impala. They look as though they want to walk up to your car door but think better of it as they know big cats are lurking and a moment’s distraction could be their last.
PSA: Should you decide to take this safari trek please keep your windows up and for goodness sake stay in your vehicle at all times.
We would much rather talk to you than about you!
I guess the best way I can relay the feelings of the day to you is the word connected. That is how I felt. I have visited many Zoos and while they do a decent job of displaying the animals I can’t help but feel a bit awkward (I feel more than awkward. As a child I enjoyed a zoo. As an adult, I don’t much care for putting animals in cages solely for the benefit of humans voyeurism…ijs). I mean those animals, while cared for, are still essentially in cages for our viewing pleasure (Exactly!). I fully understand that most do a good job and it is for the greater good (Not to me). It all plays a part in the preservation of wildlife and such (And money). I have to tell you now that I will probably never visit a zoo again, though (Me neither!). I prefer this feeling that we are the ones on display in our little metal boxes at the mercy of the animals. It becomes readily apparent should an elephant decide to charge that there are limited options for your escape. You are simply tolerated in their world … as it should be in my humble opinion (I love you, Boo). Also, should you decide to ignore the PSA, the risk of becoming a victim of natural selection somehow added to the experience? This became clear with the excited echoes of “you are too close” that could be heard while I was driving…I won’t tell who you are lol! Just know the car was in first gear, the road in front of me was clear and I raced manual transmissions a lot in my youth! #nofear #8000rpmredline #Icouldgetaway .
Africa has had a profound effect on me. It connected me to my mother and our dreams of this place. I have no idea of what happens in the afterlife (If there is one). Suffice to say that I hope that in some way through our visit that she has seen through the eyes of her oldest child, a portion of this magnificent continent and all the wonders it possesses. There have been times I feel like she was there right beside us taking in all its glory (She was, honey). I wish with all that I am for this to be true. There is a place that I felt this more strongly than others, but that is another blog. For now, this feeling is more than enough.
Yes, that is the word … Connected!
We are on the serious countdown! Twenty (19 baby, 19) days left til we depart for home…Bittersweet. Love this place but missing home. Very anxious to get our life as full-time RV’ers going!
Till next time
Peace and Blessings!
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