Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Saturday we all drove out to Hluhluwe, sounds just like it's spelled (hl-oo, hl-oo, wee), to go to a big(ger) wildlife refuge. The town is 3 hours from Durban so we left Friday and spent the night with another missionary couple Embree's know out there. It was the full on African safari! We drove with a guide in a giant safari jeep and got to see several animals...elephant, giraffe, gnu (a.k.a. wildebeast), a variety of bok, wild buffalo, hedge hog, and zebra. Lions and cheetas were no where to be found. There was a sighting from another group of wild dogs. They are rare to find and almost extinct, but in this refuge. I didn't know it but they are one of the most violent of the animals there. I also learned that hyenas (which we also did not see) have one of the strongest bites, they exert over 3 tons of pressure when they bite breaking bones like hot butter! Cheetas, as most know are one of the fastest animals in the world, BUT there is a type of deer/bok that runs even faster than a cheetah. A little animal history lesson for all you history buffs!
Sooooo, the safari. The biggest highlight for us was an elephant sighting. There are two packs in this park. One is about 100 elephants and the other is about 200. Yes, the park covers oh, a couple of acres! We spotted a few off in the distance and as we were looking at them with our binocs 3 came right up in front of us and walked out on the road! They were SO close we had to back up to get out of their way! It was AWESOME!! National Geographic in front of my face! Males are loners and hang out by themselves which later as we were leaving we saw a male up close also walk out in the street next to us. Males are huge and have giant tusks.
For those who wondered, hedge hogs are one of the ugliest animals around. There really isn't anything cute about them. They have a face and wild scrappy hair that only a mother could love.
On the safari note, Ella and the kids and I went to a nearby park yesterday (Monday) and also saw rhinos and hippos. Incredible animals!