The Lion King was mostly right. Animals DO like to hang out together on the African plains. The Peace House girls and I saw giraffe, zebra, impala, water buffalo, and warthogs all hanging together when we went on safari.
They may be from Rwanda, but none of the ladies had seen the animals that live in their own country. Having been to zoos before, I at least had a reference for what a hippo looks and acts like or how crazy monkeys actually are, but these girls had no clue. Can you imagine seeing animals for the very first time in the place where they naturally belong? There’s just something amazing about seeing a giraffe gracefully glide through the tall grass while you’re 10 feet away with no fence or barrier to separate the two of you. The girls were in awe (and sometimes a little afraid).
The ladies were also excited about the road-trip part of the day because many of them had never ridden in a car for very long before. One girl couldn’t sleep the night before because she was too excited about the long car ride. Twenty minutes into the 3 hour trip, she’d had enough and was asking to get out!
Things I learned on safari:
• Bad dirt roads + hot African sun + people who’ve never ridden in a car for more than an hour = a bunch of carsick Rwandans
• Warthogs appear to bounce instead of walk. Two weeks later, the ladies still laugh about that.
• Chasing water buffalo with your vehicle is a good time.
• If someone yells, “LEOPARD!” you better look asap. Those dudes are fast.
• So many huge Tse Tse flies swarmed the truck that they most likely could’ve teamed up to pick the truck up and carry us off into the bush.
• Giraffe’s don’t look real when you’re that close to them. I kept telling myself someone was doing some awesome CG work.
• If you’re looking to sunburn just half of your body, riding with one arm out the window for 6 hours will do the trick.
• Off-road vehicles should actually be used for off-roading at some point in their lives. It’s like you’re giving that SUV a chance to fulfill it’s life’s purpose.
• Elephants are elusive and rarely come out to play.
• Standing at the edge of a lake where hippos are swimming will make you wish you’d worn running shoes. One of those dudes could bust out of the water any second.