I've been home from Africa now for about a month. Between adopting a new cat, (Copper. He's such a love! Big orange Tabby. Huge head, long legs and tail and quite a talker!) posting photos on line for everybody to see, catching up on regular as well as email and trying to get my yard in shape, I've not taken the time to blog about what a wonderful time I had.
Webster did not invent enough words to describe that experience. We had 15 days in the bush, living in tent camps. I can't tell you how many people said to me before the trip, "Mary Ellen, I can't picture you in a tent for 15 days!" Well, "roughing it" was not exactly what I would call our accommodations.
Small charter planes took us from camp to camp. We had a total of 5 different camps, each lovelier than the last. The bathrooms were wonderful and had dual sinks, flush toilets and both indoor and outdoor showers. Despite my misgivings, the outdoor showers were wonderful! The staff treated us like royalty. They fed us 6 times a day! Buffet Breakfast, snacks on the game drive, Buffet Brunch, Tea, Snacks on the Sun downer game drive and then another Buffet Dinner! The camps were all in the National Parks so the game was free to roam around our tents and camps. We had Cape Buffalo, Elephants, Impala. Baboons and Zebra grazing all around us!
We were chased by a deranged male elephant who was in "musk", looking for a mate and we weren't it! A herd of female elephants with babies, surrounded our safari vehicle warning us not to get too close to their babies.
We saw a Leopard guarding his catch from the hyenas.
I was about 6 feet away from a full grown male Lion who casually walked alongside of our vehicle to join his pride while they hunted an antelope.
No zoom was used for this picture! I really thought I was a goner and took the picture for forensics, so they'd know which lion it was that ate me!!
You can see how close he was by Jimmy's hat. The lion paid us no mind at all!
We floated on the Okavango Delta in Mokoro boats, poled by the native naturalists who taught us so much about the area flora and fauna. We were in 4 different countries, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe. We saw Victoria Falls, the Cape of Good Hope, We walked with 10 month old lions in a captive breeding program where I not only walked with them and petted them, but I got to rub a female lion's tummy and hold her paw in my hand! After that I actually zip lined over the gorge at Victoria Falls going from Zambia to Zimbabwe! Those pictures are posted in my gallery.
It was the trip of a lifetime, and I can't use enough superlatives to describe it. The animals, birds, dessert, jungles, people, food, accommodations, everything exceeded our expectations. If you ever get the opportunity to go there, you must take it. You won't regret it.
The good news is that I only gained about 4 pounds, despite eating with great abandon! AND within about a week I was back down to goal weight! WooHoo! I am continuing at Curves at least 4 and usually 5 days a week, which probably helps bunches. My next trip is in 2 weeks when I will be on the American Queen paddle-wheel boat from Louisville to Pittsburgh. Hopefully I will be able to hold my own on that one and if I do gain, I will take it off as quickly as I did for Africa.
Life is good!