Friday, August 1, 2008

Safari, part 1

So Friday.

I checked out of the hotel in Gaborone (leaving most of my luggage in my colleague's room) and headed for Tau Game Lodge in the Madikwe Game Reserve in South Africa.

(I wasn't driving, I had a driver.) On the way, I crossed the border between South African and Botswana on land. This is actually the first time I've driven across a border except for the Canada/U.S. border. (I've been a lot of places, but I've either entered the country by air or by boat). It was interesting, because you have to go through customs on both the way in to the country and the way out (so you have to stop twice each way). Also, unlike the Canada/U.S. border, you have to park the car & get out each time, so it's a bit time consuming.

Anyway, I got to the lodge around 2:15. I was met at the entrance by the manager, who got me checked in and then gave me a tour.

The lodge is on a water hole. Each of the 30 cabins also backs onto the water hole, so you can sit on your deck & watch the animals come for water.

After reaching my cabin (and being warned to keep the doors and windows closed so that the monkeys don't get in), I unpacked and then sat on my deck for a while and watched elephants drinking in the water hole, and then it was time to go on the dusk safari.

It was incredible.

We saw lions (who basically are always sleeping). While we were there, some rhino wandered by, and then the elephants arrived. We watched all of them, and then wanted to leave but couldn't because there were about 30 elephants crossing the road. We continued on the safari for 2.5 or 3 hours, and saw zebras, elephants, rhinos, spotted hyenas, lions, and wildebeasts.

After that it was back to the lodge where I took a shower in the permanent open air shower before dinner.

After dinner it was off to my room where I slept under an electric blanket and surrounded by a mosquito net. I think the mosquito net is for show, as I haven't seen a single mosquito since I got here (and the park is in a malaria free zone).

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