Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Recap of the last few days

On Friday, we woke up, the kids swam in the freezing water, the adults packed up our stuff, got in the car, and made our way back home by around 4 in the afternoon. Darin, Karen and Israel headed right across the road to see the kids. On Saturday we did a lot of laundry, spent some more time across the road and just recovered from our busy week!

On Sunday we went to Eastside for church, grabbed McDonalds for lunch, then went to another church for a meeting regarding Mama Cathrine. We thought the meeting would last about an hour, but it ended up lasting quite a bit longer than that. Thank goodness for Grandma Karen and a big playground! We got home and spent some more time across the road with the kids.

On Monday, we had another quiet day. I spent the morning across the road by myself, and then Karen and I went back for a few hours in the afternoon/evening. From what I've been told, the kids played, watched movies and played some more. Very thankful for a husband who knows how to run a house, cook dinner and doesn't think of watching the kids as "babysitting"!

On Tuesday, we got ready, packed a lunch and headed off to the Rhino and Lion Park! When my dad was here, we went to the Lion Park, so this was the same, but different. Just like at the Lion Park, there were large enclosures to drive through that had brown lions, white lions, cheetahs and wild dogs. However, the enclosures at the Lion Park were much smaller, which made it easier to spot the animals inside. At the R & L Park, we had to really work hard to spot the animals. We first drove through the brown lion enclosure and saw nothing. Then we drove through the wild dog enclosure and saw a lot of vultures picking meat off of a ribcage, but no wild dogs. We couldn't drive through the white lion enclosure because the whole pride had decided to take a nap right in front of the gate, which meant the gate couldn't be opened to let us in. We did get to see these beautiful creatures as they slept and occasionally raised their massive heads, but it was hard to take pictures from our car through the fence. We went into the cheetah enclosure and were all feeling a little frustrated, but then Darin spotted a lone cheetah taking a nap on the side of the dirt road we were driving on. We were able to take a lot of nice pictures and see the cheetah up close. We were feeling really pleased with ourselves til we drove out and the attendant told us there were 18 cheetahs in the enclosure : )

While we were in with the cheetahs, we saw a brown lion on the other side of the fence, so we asked if we could drive back through the enclosure to try and see them up close. We were allowed to, but because of a very rocky road we couldn't get any closer to the lions. We also went back through the wild dog enclosure and finally found 2 dogs tucked back into a corner that did get up and walk around for a bit. The attendant told us there were 11 adult dogs and 8 pups, so the rest must have been sleeping.

After leaving the predator enclosures, we experienced another big difference between the two parks. The Rhino and Lion Park was FULL of other game. There were herds of buffalo, black and blue wildebeest, elands, sable antelope, roan, springbok, warthogs, rhino and more. Even though we have seen a lot of these animals in the wild, it was nice to see them up close. We took our time driving around and taking pictures, but then we were starting to get hungry, so we decided to take a break and eat our picnic lunch.

We were soon introduced to another difference between the two parks. While there were no giraffes to feed, there were several marabou storks roaming around the property that provided a lot of entertainment. We had taken our kids to the Rhino and Lion Park in 2008 and Tyson had been bit by a marabou stork, so we already had a history with these slightly creepy looking birds. While the adults got the food set out, the kids skulked around and got one of the birds to follow them. Then the kids would get a bit nervous and realize the bird was a little too close for comfort. It's the simple things in life that are often the most entertaining!

After lunch we decided to check out the rest of the park. We saw different cats, including a serval and a bush cat, which looked just like the house cat we watched in December and April. We also saw some baby crocodiles, lots of snakes and some other creepy crawlies. Next we entered the animal crèche and it was time to choose which animal we wanted to go in and pet; white lions, white tigers, or brown lions. I was voting for the white tigers, but the lady said they were lazy and would not wake up even if we were petting them, so we decided on the brown lions, which were the smallest. There was a white lion in the enclosure with them, which was like a little bonus for us.

The lions were so cute and cuddly, although there was one feisty little beast in there. It kept trying to bite whoever was petting it, but the guide said it was only playing and wouldn't hurt us. I finally took a chance and let it bite me and he was right! The time with the babies went really fast and soon we had to move on. The R & L Park does have a lot more big cats than the Lion Park has, so we were able to see leopards, clouded leopards, jaguars, and white tigers. We also saw some different birds, a hyena and a few other random animals. Then it was time to go!

Now it is Wednesday. The kids are all outside playing Uno with Grandma Karen and I'm making mac and cheese for lunch. Tonight we plan to go to Tamboti for dinner. We hope to upload some more pictures of our time together soon, but we are a little low on internet now, so stay tuned!

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