Another post after weeks of absence and time to regroup! We have been touring this beautiful country again this time with some intrepid grand-parents from Canada. We went to visit the Rhino and Lion Park again: a hungry lion/ ngonyama approaching his dinner. we so enjoy these incredible views of some of the harder animals to see in the open veld/bush. Cheetahs are such graceful animals and I think they might be my favourite 🙂We found this baby leopard tortoise/ mfutsu crossing the road. We gently helped it safely clear the road and held it for a few minutes.Elands are the larges antelope in SA and are called impofu – the humble one.
Although in captivity, these rare white lions are protected and breeding well in this park. It is with mixed feelings that we participated in the “pet the cubs” creche. The cubs are being hand reared and are regularly exposed to human contact. They are not likely to be released into the wild so the impact of this contact is probably negligible. The wild territories these animals once enjoyed are restricted now to game parks with limited capacities.
I enjoy zoos and aquariums so that my children can experience animals they might never otherwise see so closely. In the wake of recent media attention and the documentary Blackfish, I have become more concerned about the prioritization of feeding the public appetite for such things over the well-being and general health of the animals. This is my current dilemma as we try to teach our children about God’s beautiful creation and how to be good stewards in caring for our environment and the many creatures within. How do you respond to the questions of viewing/ supporting facilities that keep animals in captivity?From the Rhino and Lion Park we picked up Daddy and drove up, up, up, into the mountains. To show our BC family that Africa too has some respectable mountains of it’s own! We drove through rain and fog beside frightfully unknown drop-offs following the taillights of a taxi ahead that seemed to know the way. We arrived in the dark and woke up to a blanket of clouds so instead of our planned hike to a scenic lookout, the kids went horseback riding instead! Later the clouds cleared a little and we went for a short hike to the waterfall pools. We got to see this troop of wild baboons/ imfene(s) along the way, (from a safe distance of course 🙂 Sunrise the next morning was a riot of colour and beauty! The Drakensberg mountains are stunning in their full glory and we soaked in the serenity and majesty of the landscape!One of the great things about touring SA by car is the opportunity to see these traditional Zulu villages scattered over the hillsides.Cars also provide some important family memories as we let the kids take turns on various laps while on game drives. (*** We only allow this on game drives as we are inside a park with speed limits of 20km per hour or less and little to no opposing traffic).The reality of another road trip and visiting with special people was that a little less bookwork got done. However, life is a learning journey and as the kids grab onto their field experience with both hands we are seeing them really develop a strong knowledge of South African flora and fauna! We are continuing our quest to learn the Zulu names for every animal we see and try to use only Zulu names when spotting game in the bush. If you would like to learn more about the interesting cultural perceptions of different animals and associated idioms go to this page: http://www.krugerpark.co.za/krugerpark-times-2-1-animals-name-18978.html (if that link doesn’t work then google Zulu names for animals). D is especially quick to remember the names and seems to have an aptitude for language. E remembers more complex info about the individual creatures such as their proper classification and habitat details. She can tell you how many muscles and elephant has in its trunk, (40,000), why it has such wrinkled skin (helps trap water and make it evaporate slowly thereby cooling the elephant off) and how elephants / indlovus communicate.
A very full croc/ ngwenya relaxing on the shore. I love the zulu name for Croc since my sister is named Gwen and after reading the zulu idioms about crocs I am choosing this one for her: “kuva ngwenya emtini” -to be a champion fighter 🙂Southern Yellow HornbillsFrancolinEuropean Bee-Eaters Herd of Indlovus at sunset African fish eagle Snorkeling with Papa in the Indian Ocean. We don’t know if this is an albino or natural colour variation of a rare Samango monkey. Normally they look more like this:Rare Canadian monkeys at the seaside in Febrary 🙂 Baby vervet monkey Mother and baby, in any species this is always beautiful!
Science experiments in the garden are always a favourite! We learned about fat solubility and tested out a variety of liquids the kids suggested to determine what would happen with different ingredients. Milk produced the most satisfying result!as we prepared to say goodbye to Nana and Papa, we went out to an African themed restaurant with face painting and live music.We all enjoyed the exotic meals of roasted Springbok Shank, Oxtail Stew and Ostrich steak and the kids were pretty willing to be adventurous too. E had a few qualms about eating the national animal, (Springbok), but D decided that it tasted pretty good!