Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Intimate Encounters (for real this time)

Scratch all of that last post. I wrote it on Monday morning then tried to send it from a now non-existent internet café in a weird, maze-like shopping center at a sugar town near the park. When our internet venture produced only two goofy looking belts and a great meal of pap (aka ugali aka corn mush) and beans, we went back to the park and checked out the nearby water hole. That’s when the elephants who failed to materialize during our game drive showed up to drink. Three elephants, three hippos, and six rhinos all just hanging out right by camp. So we parked ourselves there for a while and eventually the rhinos moved closer to camp. And then closer. Then closer still. We were seriously about 5 feet away from three very large white rhinos. They clearly didn’t mind people. They grazed so close to the electric fence that their horns poked on our side. We could have touched them, but, out of respect for their theoretical wildness, we elected not to. They only wandered away when one of them accidentally hit the fence and got zapped.
White Rhino - 5ft

We decided to just hang out by the waterhole with our books for the next few hours. The ostrich wandered by again and we smiled at her goofy, long-legged walk and clucks. Some impala fought and grunted in the corner of camp. Finally, after sunset, we moseyed back to our tent to cook dinner. That’s when we discovered that the schmuck of an ostrich destroyed most of our food! Since it’s not a good idea to leave food in the tent and we didn’t have a car, we had to leave it on the picnic table. When we were away, the ostrich grabbed our bag of soup, fake cheese, and other stuff and trampled it, and she ate our bananas. Add to that the fact that our most of our veggies went bad (sun apparently doesn’t keep things fresh) and we had a few skimpy meals.

Now we’re back in South Africa in the very touristy town of St. Lucia. It took five different minibuses and four hitches to get here (some hitches were arranged by the minibus drivers, actually) but we arrived safe and sound. Turns out we didn’t pick the busiest border to go through. Today (April 12) was also the scheduled day for protests in Swaziland. Many people want to go from a monarchy to a multiparty government. Because of the scheduled protests we endured multiple police checks everywhere we traveled during the past week. That meant hauling our huge bags out of each kombi, getting patted down, then loading back in. We also learned that the reason all of the kombis/minibuses in South Africa are so very, very nice and fully functional is because the government let people trade their old ones in for free to get nice new ones to impress tourists during the World Cup last year. Anyhow, random facts.


  1. Don't whiz on the electric fence!

  2. Your ostrich story sounds like an adventure Laurie and I had when monkeys hijacked our rental car and stole our lunch while in Kruger Park, South Africa.

  3. Sounds like fun, Anne! Hope you two are doing well!