We checked in, tired from our very long flights and the 3.5-hour drive from the airport and were just going to rest. But then we found out there was a game drive leaving in about 15 minutes. So we lugged our luggage to our room and pretty much just threw it down so we could get to the drive. We grabbed our cameras and just wore what we had on the plane. Who wants to hang out in the hotel when you can get out into the land of South Africa! A country and a continent none of us had been to before!
This is a nyala, identifiable by the stripes. We also saw antelope, but I don’t seem to have take a picture.
Giraffes! I love them. So graceful, and very cool to see so close! I took lots of pictures of them (lots), but chose this one because it shows the open sides of the truck. Giraffes stay in family groups, with several families all traveling together. When I said, in the ranger’s hearing, that it was really cool to see a herd of giraffes, he stopped the truck and talked a lot about giraffes. And said that a group is called a line, a tower (is that cool or what!) or a journey. But not a herd. I think “journey” is my favorite.
This is the mama elephant who took issue with our distance from her and her calf. Shortly after I took this, she started shaking her ears, which the ranger had told us previously was a sign of unhappiness. He started the truck fast and moved several feet off. She settled down and we continued to watch them for several minutes more. I was very grateful several times during the week that the trucks were reliable and started up immediately!
Elephants have thousands of muscles in their trunks!! Around 40-50,000, amazing. They use them for eating, which includes grabbing grasses, tree branches and pushing trees over so they can get at the roots. They eat all day long, I believe the ranger said something like 250kg per day. They’re very noisy because of this–when it’s otherwise quiet, you can hear them ripping up the foliage.
I loved her eyes. Such a gentle, old, face. Unless she’s flapping her ears and getting ready to charge.
We were so fortunate to see so much on our first time out.
We came back to the lodge for a really nice dinner, then went to bed early so we could get up at, ack, 05:45 to go on the morning game drive.