Although the lion and the elephant are two of my favorite animals, it’s one country that I never imagined myself going. But, I am glad I grabbed the opportunity, despite the hindrances. Like the airport accidents going to South Africa and coming home. I’ll gladly tell you about those incidents if you send me a message. 🙂
Traveling makes me realize that we are foreigners in other countries but we are all citizens of the same world.
Because we all live on the same Earth, it is everyone’s responsibility to take care of the environment and the animals we coexist on the planet with.
These unforgettable moments of an autumn in South Africa had to do with the love for nature.
I really loved the experience of a close encounter with elephants.
Mud stuck near the back of my shirt as I walked in front of one of the elephants with the tip of its trunk in my hand. The trunk was heavy! And my hand became muddy too. I wiped it with wet tissue before one of the elephant caretakers asked to see my hand. He wanted to know if I already held a trunk. Too bad I wiped the evidence away. 😀
Elephants are quite interesting. Did you know that they do not shed tears from their eyes? They have tear ducts on the sides of their heads between the eyes and ears. Here at the elephant sanctuary, they wash their hands without soap since the water is being recycled. There’d be other places that we visited which recycle water, too.
An elephant could be right-tusked or left-tusked, like humans can be right-handed or left-handed. But, it’s sad that baby elephants are being born tuskless because of ivory poaching. 😥
It’s a dream come true to be able to touch lions, especially the adorable cubs. Plus, more animals.
During the time we walked with two larger lions, we needed to be super cautious and slow, because sudden actions or screams could make them aggressive. Yet, we must not be too hesitant when touching their backs. My hubby crouched to take photos of them and learned the scary way that crouching will cause them to charge at us.
One of my favorite animals is the lion. These three cubs are suuuuuuper cute! So giddy! Does it show? 🦁 #southafrica pic.twitter.com/qNOLnVoKDS
— Cym Marzan黄婉瑩 (@ceemee) June 4, 2017
On our second day, we woke up very early, to go on a game drive. It was freezing! Fog/steam/cloud/vapor was coming out of our mouths. Good thing there were thick blankets in the game drive vehicle. In the vast Pilanesberg Park, we spied zebras, wildebeests, a rhinoceros, giraffes, part of a hippopotamus, impalas, warthogs and some birds. Elephants and lions, too, from afar.
We went to see seals, penguins and whales on islands, beaches and boat rides. We visited an ostrich farm and I nervously stood on ostrich eggs. There were forests full of kinds of monkeys and forests full of various species of birds, Monkeyland & Birds of Eden Sanctuaries. Tourists were discouraged from feeding or touching the wild animals because they might become aggressive and rely on humans for food.
We also visited a one-eyed cheetah named Cindy.
Table Mountain is one of the wonders of the world.
There were a lot of tourists there. They fell in line and rode the Cableway to the top, including our group. We took a photo standing in front of the South African flag as we alighted, as shown in the photo above.
Table Mountain isn’t actually flat like a table. Rocks were all over the place. It was cold and foggy. Fortunately, Rix and I went into a souvenir shop. I bought most of the pasalubong there. There were many interesting knickknacks that were locally produced that created more local job opportunities. Others were from the elephant sanctuary.
It’s wonderful that one of nature’s wonders is preserved, the establishments were built into these spaces. Its natural beauty should be enough to attract tourists. It would be a shame if artificial amusement parks are built on God’s handiwork, e.g. Nickelodeon theme park in Coron, Palawan.
There were many other experiences that are worth remembering.
For example, the time I got a little buzzed from our wine tasting and pairing at Blaauwklippen Wine Estate. We even went on a wine cellar tour. It’s a beautiful place. There was a market where families gathered and enjoyed each other’s company. Scattered on the grass were autumn leaves, two of which I brought home.
That time we went on a helicopter ride and saw the Table Mountain, the Lion’s Head from high up in the air. It’s like we’re riding on a drone. I sat beside our female pilot in front.
We explored the intricately made Cango Caves. Intricately made by God, that is! I loved how the stalactites and the stalagmites met halfway and swirled to form smooth pillars.
It sure was a memorable trip with lots of animals. I haven’t even began to write about the hotels we stayed in.
Have you been to South Africa? What was it like for you?