To have a wonderful safari, you need just a few things:
- Wonderful friends
- A working knowledge of Lion King
- A love for birds
- An inexplicable love for trees
- A magical river
- A good, healthy sense of adventure and wonder
Bonus: A love for dinosaurs never hurt anyone
- Wonderful Friends:
My Safari started with a the inimitable Hill family. We got to know each other REALLY well during our two months of training in Virginia. I couldn’t have picked a better mix of people for this adventure if I’d tried.
We had a blast sticking our heads out the top of our safari-mobile, snapping pictures, singing Lion King songs, and getting nice and windblown and covered in God’s Good Dirt. I also brainwashed them early on and had us identifying birds for the the whole trip.
2. A Working Knowledge of Lion King
Did we have a sunrise safari drive? Yes. Did we sing the opening song of lion king more times than we could count? Also yes. NYYYAAAAAAAAAA SSSSSOOOMMEETHING SOMETHING-AHHHHHHH… Too bad none of us know Swahili. Or the opening words the the Circle of Life.
Nala, is that you?!?!?!
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the great Hornbill, A.K.A. Zazu.
Sadly, our hyenas didn’t laugh when we said, “MUFASA,” but they were in a group of three supporting characters.
These giraffes at sunrise were TOTALLY on their way to the Roll Call before Curtain for the opening scene of lion king.
And MAN, those sunrises… Just as magical as the movie.
3. A love for birds
Duh… Why wouldn’t you be in love with so many cool nesting habits, feather colors, so many different species and calls and places in the ecosystem? They were a stunning sight to behold.
Birds make a great backdrop for everything. Look how much more epic this giraffe looks with birds behind him?
See the black and white bird in this picture? She’s called a Secretary Bird. Some part of her latin classification name involves the word, ‘raptor,’ which, as of course you know, made me ten times more excited in her. She walks like a raptor straight out of Jurassic Park and she has talons that could disembowel you in seconds. COOL!
If this cattle egret on the back of a water buffalo doesn’t raise this picture’s coolness level by 200%, call me a ninny.
Hippos look cooler with cranes roosting behind them.
Red Breasted Bee-Eater. Pretty neat little dudes. They live in these holes in the riverbank along with the giant Kingfishers.
Weaver birds make the most interesting nests!
And of course what good is a bird book if you leave it at home on a trip such as this?!
During a little controlled burn these buzzards and cranes lined up to get the freshly roasted grubs and bugs and beetles and such. First in line for the buffet!!
4. Inexplicable love for trees
Yep, you’ve got me. I’m a tree hugger. I think they’re fascinating. The different bark textures, branch structures, leaf patterns, fruits and flowers and nuts… What’s not to love?
Sausage trees. Who knew those were a thing? But see the little danglies that look like sausages? Supposedly they’re over 90% alcohol so the baboons (everyone knows they’re the real party animals) LOVE them. They also make those cool flowers before the sausages form.
And how do some trees just look undeniably African? I have no clue, but they do. They make all the antelopes look more majestic and the sunsets look more magical and the view from the roof rack of the car more enticing.
5. A magical river
The Nile. ‘Nuff said.
Yes, the Nile runs through Uganda. Yes, we talked all about Egypt and her plagues long ago, and we couldn’t resist putting our toes in the water even though there were some lurkers. Most of my time looking at the Nile was just me staring with my mouth open. She’s so powerful, so majestic, so constant and calm. Elephants waved their trunks at us as we boated past. Hippos made sure we knew to keep our distance. Ancient Papyrus grew along the banks. And the power of the waterfall left us speechless. Can you find the crocodile?
6. A good, healthy sense of adventure and wonder
Seriously, everything on this trip had my mouth hanging wide open. Look at the pictures yourself. Stunning. Beautiful. Awe-inspiring. The things we saw made us praise our Creator and marvel at his creativity.
Mere FEET from a group of lions. Our park ranger just drove off the road into the bush and stopped. We gasped when we saw why. The lions were just as hot as we were in the afternoon sun. So they stopped to chill in the shade after a nice brunch.
Speaking of brunch, this little dude really enjoyed our pineapple rind.
We felt like real wilderness explorers when our guide pointed out these lion tracks from where they slept in the road the night before. See the wide spot where one lay? We traced their tracks off into the bush, and it’s a good thing we didn’t actually go into the grass, because little did we know, they were waiting just hidden from sight, we found out later.
Hartebeest. They have long faces and short memories. I identified. If they don’t make a note on their smartphone that a lion’s chasing them, they forget why they’re running. Sounds like my life.
It was rare to see hyenas, but these guys crossed right in front of our car. Guess they had a secret hyena meeting with Scar to plot to take over the Pride Lands or something… (Do yourself a favor and go watch Lion King)
Guess what annoying song I taught the Hill kids? Ahem…
Everybody’s got a water buffalo
Yours is fast but mine is slow
Where you get them I don’t know, but
Everybody’s got a waterbuffallooooo–oooooooohhh!!!
The giraffes were SO cool! They seemed totally unbothered by us and our car. We happened to drive up right in the middle of a herd of them. They just looked at us and kept eating and walking around us while we stared open-mouthed.
And the elephants. They’s so big. So powerful. So funny-looking. So incredible.
Bonus: A love for dinosaurs never hurt anyone
And here I present my proof that dinosaurs still roam the earth.
DINOSAUR. TRACKS. Enough said.
Those are TOTALLY Sauropods down by the riverbank getting and evening drink of water. See those long necks?
And, I mean, CLEARLY that skull belongs to a dinosaur.
Thanks for enjoying my safari with me! Come back next time when hopefully I get to see zebras and cheetahs and black panthers! And if you see an anteater before I get to one, please domesticate him for me so he can live in my back yard and help me with my pest problem, mmkay thanks.
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