Wednesday 8th July
Today was a GREAT day. We went on a safari to Mokala National Park. I was so so so excited. Especially because they have rhinos there and I really wanted to see one! They also have buffalo, giraffe and many antelope. They're biggest predator is a caracal.
We left around 8 in the van - only 12 of the volunteers went (out of 15) because one had been before and 2 had been on a safari before coming to the farm. This meant we could take the van. I rode in the front seat, which turned out to be great because there was lots of dust in the back. I was also with Chriszanne who was driving and we talked all about rhino poaching, canned hunting and other unethical practises in Africa, as well as solutions to the growing problems, including legalising the rhino horn trade. It was really interesting talking to someone from South Africa about it. When I'm home I plan to write about everything I've learnt (so stay tuned).
|As you can tell, it's currently winter in SA (opposite of UK but still just as warm as our summer!)|
When we arrived we changed into an open safari vehicle for a 2-3 hour drive. We were so lucky! We saw kudu, Impala, gemsbok, springbok, hartebeest, blesbok and even more! We also saw giraffe. This was really exciting because that was a few peoples favourite animals, and zebra.
We also saw a really big male rhino. I cried. Tears of joy! I was so happy, and everyone was so happy for me, and I was so glad everyone got to see one. He was beautiful. It was amazing to see him so calm, in his natural habitat. Rhinos in national parks aren't allowed to be de-horned. It was beautiful, but part of me couldn't help being scared that his horn could cost him his life. I can't describe how much I love the animal, and it kills me that anyone would want anything other than to protect them.
Towards the end of the drive we also saw a buffalo lying in the grass. It wasn't the best sighting but we felt so lucky to see one. Lunch was amazing. Leslie was happy to be in the warm, and the food was really good.
After lunch we went for a drive in the van for a couple hours before leaving. We saw more giraffes and antelope, including some great kudu sightings! We drove past a bird watching sight which had a viewing platform over a water hole. We decided on a whim to stop and go see it, just because we thought the water hole would be pretty. Thank god we did!! It was amazing; we stayed there for about an hour. Soon after we got there, an entire herd of Cape Buffalo arrived! We were so happy because they came so close and we got to see them properly. They were amazing to watch. When they left, waterbuck arrived and after than hartebeest. It was amazing and the water hole was beautiful. We all just sat quietly watching them. This is why I love Africa. It's unpredictable, unexpected and indescribable; it's beautiful and will always have a special place in my heart.
On the drive home Chriszanne and I discussed good places for seeing different animals. She told me of some of her amazing experiences, and stories of the animals on the farms. She recommended some places for me. I told her about my two other trips to South Africa volunteering, and my trip to Kenya. She was very jealous that I had seen the wildebeest migration in the Masai Mara.
I had a great day. Seeing the rhino, the buffalo, spending the day with the other volunteers and Chriszanne; it was great.