.. but trust me on the sunscreen - 22 January 2005

South Africa: where I've seen thing you people wouldn't believe. The mighty hippo's nostrils. I watched mad taxis glitter in the dark near every stop. Sudden storms like tears from ten billions eyes. Beautiful people in a fantastic country. Time to remember.

Olaf versus the Lions

EntranceSunday morning. Time to see the big five, essential part of every tour in South Africa.
The big five are, in order from the postcard I bought : Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Buffalos and Rhinos. No hippos, though.
We drove to the Lions and Rhino Natural Park, with enough food to enjoy a late lunch in the braai area.
The dimension of the park was quite big, but, comparing of the map with the Kruger Park, was indeed smaller.
I didn't mind, cause seeing animals in a fake wild reserve (fake because they don't hunt, the rangers just leave dead cows to let them enjoy a good lunch) was much more exciting than seeing them behind sad cages in some sad zoo.

PumbaaSpringbokThe first animal spotted was my favorite farting hero: a warthog, just, well, pointing his arse to the sky and looking for something on the floor. I found easy enough to see all the animals from distance, and most of them weren't afraid at all of the cars, and were just laying or munching or sleeping meters away.
Ostriches, springboks, impalas, wildebeest. Just name it. All the easy going animals were free to do whatever they wanted around the area.
The predators (Lions, Cheetahs and Wild Dogs) were confined in a different area, probably to deny them access to the buffet of lazy animals. Lions

We were lucky cause when we get there was feeding time, so all the animals were sitting around some dead cow and try to snap some piece of meat and to enjoy it somewhere else.

Lions were quite ordered, with the males eating first and the females just waiting for their turn, while drooling at the sight of so much food. Wild dogs, were, well, wild about their way, attacking the carcass from different angles, at the some time.

The Wonder Cave!After the predators, we moved to the wonder cave, a big cave somewhere in the middle of the park with stalactites and stalagmites (one of them is the one attached to the roof, the other is the reverse) and some natural interesting sculptures.

Then, after trying to look for vultures, we decided to stop and have food in the braai area, where there was a animal nursery. All the babies or small animals or reptiles were there. I remember seeing a small rhino, and she was upset with people walking around her. Small RhinoNothing new about reptiles, but the crocodiles looked lazy but lethal.
Lindsey and the lion
My favorite time was with the white lions. I bravely entered the space were they were confined, and played with them. They're just like big puppies, happy to play with you and your body. One of them tried to eat my leg, but without big teeth it was probably too difficult...

After desperately trying to see any trace of the hippos and a wait of 10 minutes just to see some nostrils (theu like to live underwater, the shy bastards!) it was time to go. Another storm was coming at the horizon, so Me and the might lionwe packed and left the park, not before seeing many other animals just waiting for it.

In the evening I enjoyed a session in the local church, and even if it wasn't my religion and I felt a big like a pagan inside, listening to the people and seeing them interacting with the pastor and the other people it made me quite happy about the experience. Going to church once a year will do, anyway.

Last stop at the local Mugg and Bean, a starbucks version on steroid with delicious food and milkshakes in enormous portion, and then straight to bed, ready for the final days of my South African trip.

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