As a part of the #take12trips challenge in 2015, each month I will post about my excursion of choice and also give you some hints as to my plans for the next month. Where did I find myself exploring in the month of February? None other than the beautiful South Africa.
In February I found myself packing up two years of my life in South Korea, jumping on an airplane, and cruising across the globe to make a stop in South Africa before heading home to the States. After only a month, this lovely country full of lovely people snuck into my heart and made itself at home.
A highlight of my time was spending my first weekend in Marloth Park, a reserve just bordering the Kruger National Park.
We arrived after a few hour drive from Johannesburg and were waved in with a friendly greeting from the guards at the gate. We drove along the dirt road and within 5 minutes saw a few giraffes pleasantly munching away on some trees just to our left. I was so stunned I didn’t even take any pictures. I think my excitement might have lead to bruising on the arm of my fellow passenger (apologies). It’s as if the animals knew I was coming and sent an arrival committee to greet the foreigner.
After meandering through a few streets we found our rented house, unpacked, and did some innitial exploring. With the dangerous game restricted to a certain area within the park, you can walk around freely without any worries of being eaten.
There was a lovely view of the Crocodile River from the front porch, which meant gazing at the Kruger Park while enjoying my morning coffee.
Elephants often trudge to the river in the evening to sip some Crocodile River water. This baby was larking about in the cutest manner, but I could tell from where I stood that mom was thinking, “Is it bedtime yet?”
I woke in the early hours of the morning, around 5 a.m. (this will have those who know me well staggering in disbelief). It was because of the jet lag, folks.
I stole silently outside to sip my coffee, read my book, and breathe in the fresh park air. There might even have been some warthogs that snuffled by in search of breakfast. Who doesn’t enjoy a snuffling warthog?
When I wasn’t sleeping or reading I spent my time wandering about on foot or exploring by car. On our first drive we spotted my first ever Kudu! I was quite impressed by their size and majestic horns.
On one afternoon drive I discovered something of great importance. I love zebras! I find them fascinating as well as gorgeous. While driving along the road we heard a clip clop accompanied by streaks of black and white through the bush. I think the zebras might be accustomed to receiving visitors because they were anything but bashful.
I was surprised by their friendliness, but was not prepared for their curiosity. It might be that some visitors feed them (even when it is unadvised), They sauntered fearlessly toward us in search of a possible meal.
They approached the car and walked right up to my window!!!!! They came so close I thought I was going to get a “hello” lick on the nose. I must confess I freaked out mildly and rolled my window up enough so as to not lose any chunks from my face.
A fabulous weekend that included elephants, zebras, coffee, reading, good conversation, and delicious home-cooked food! A great start to my South African adventures.
The last day had us packing and cleaning, but we didn’t have to do it alone. Before we could finish some lovely residents came by to wish us farewell!
Which one is your favorite Marloth Park animal? Mine are the zebras!!
Did you miss out on my trip from January? If you want to get caught up, check out my culinary adventure of eating LIVE octopus!