Londolozi, South Africa
Each dawn we bundle up and sleepily climb into an open Range Rover. We pull thick wool blankets across our laps, gratefully tuck our hands around the hot water bottle nestled inside, and head out across a network of dirt trails traversing gently rolling hills and grassy fields.
We pass leafless tree-skeletons
and quiet ponds ringed with vibrant green marshes.
It looks very much like the open lands in the Colorado foothills, with one very significant exception. Londolozi teems with an incredibly diverse array of animals and birds not found in the wild in North America. Nyala, kudu, duiker, impala, hare, vulture, eagle, bat, heron, mongoose, monkey, warthog, baboon, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, elephant, water buffalo, hippopotamus, lion, leopard, rhinoceros, hyena, crocodile, duck, stork, lizard, guinea fowl, lilac-breasted roller–the list is endless and in short time, we see them all.
And it’s up close and personal. . . .
We sit motionless, spellbound by the antics of lion cubs pouncing on their macho but indulgent father.
We’re awed by the sublime
And the ridiculous
We were even charged by this grumpy, one-tusked bull elephant. My adrenaline was running so high, I missed the photo op.
Luckily he only wanted to chase us off. We happily indulged him.
The full moon is shinier and fuller and more beautiful than ever before when sitting atop a termite mound.
And just as we were getting used to the idea that we really were in Africa, that we really were seeing the African land, the African moon, and that the animals really hadn’t escaped from the zoo, it was time to leave.
Toward the end of the week, a couple of folks in our group voiced their dread of returning to “the real world.”
Which raises a fascinating question—which one is the real world anyway? Is it the one at home, with careers, relationships, fashion, television, mortgages, the internet, and animals who eat from cans?
Or is it here, in the African bush?