This is a quote from "Hillel the Elder" from the first century. (I thought I was so original!)

Monday, September 2, 2013

FINALLY - Wild Animals in Africa!

We finally got away for half a day.  We headed out north of the airport to a small private game park of 10,000 acres.  It was quite a thrill to just be out of the city, kicking up dust, and not have a tie on.

Once inside the gate to the game park it was 8 or 9 kilometers to the main buildings.  It was here I found my first wild animal of Zambia.  We didn't know what it was but I showed the photo to our driver later and he thought it was a "bush baby".  I assure you we didn't kill a "bush baby" but there it was in the middle of the road for us to gawk over.  I kept looking for a lion or leopard in the tall grass but I suppose it was the metallic and rubber kind of predator that smashed its dreams.

So onward we went, as the sun came up, to meet our guide and to discover the exotic animals of Zambia.
Below is the lodge with a nice view and full of Zambian native crafts.

This was our transportation.  Kristi and I were the only ones out that morning for a peek at the animals.

The terrain was rolling hills and quite pastoral.

We next saw Bambi.  The guide called her something else, but I know Bambi when I see her.

We just wandered until we found different animals.  I was just happy to be outside and pinching myself that I was really in Africa.

All of a sudden the play or movie "Lion King" was coming to life.  Our first warthog sauntering away.

Strange bird nests.

Lots of strange birds to see.

Some familiar egrets.

If you need a thousand photos of a bird, let me know.

Soon our guide pointed to a stand of trees.

I am amazed at how well animals blend in.  It is such open country where you can drive wherever you feel inclined.  These wildebeest had an itch, maybe from all the termite mounds around? 

I loved the camouflage colors.

Just tourist shots - Zambia instead of Wyoming.

These cactus type trees were new to me.

Sometimes you would just glimpse fleeting shapes.

The male ostrich is black and a little smaller than the grey female.

This waterbuck thought we should drive in the other direction.

Even the zebras were a little tough to see from a distance but those stripes are dazzling to me.

I wondered why zebras hadn't been domesticated.  I was told their hoofs aren't splayed wide like a horse and can't bear the weight.

Tall giraffes were good at blending in.

This guy kept his eye on us.  We also saw a mother with a baby about half her height.

Zebras fascinated me.  I bought a "zebra" hide in Spain almost forty years ago and wondered then if it was painted cow hide.  I always suspected it was but I had never been that close to a zebra to compare.  Well, I have seen enough hides used for crafts now that it is clear the California kid was buffaloed with a cowhide in Spain.  We still have it and it is sort of nasty with all the hair falling out but a nice piece of leather.  I think the zebra here are safe from me.  Maybe I can pick up a "giraffe" hide without a neck? 

Fire cleans out the undergrowth so there will be plenty of grasses in the wet season.

I think these fires were man-made but we see them everywhere without anyone tending them.

I would have liked to stop and play with them a little as I think we all have a little "cub scout pyro" in us.

These mounds intrigued me as they are basically termite mounds that have grown with bigger colonies of termites and then bushes and trees taking root.  Then the dust collects even higher and many little hillocks dot the area.  Some are as big as houses on this flat plain with a stand of trees on them.

So, where are the lions, the hippos, the rhinos and the ELEPHANTS?  I want ELEPHANTS roaming free and frolicking in the river.  Not here.  This was wonderful to see and experience but we need a large national park the size of Kansas to experience that.  There are two very large ones fairly close.  One is two hours south and another is two hours west.  There are even bigger ones in Zambia in the east and of course there is Victoria Falls near Livingstone and many, many more national parks around so this was just a taste.

Here at Chaminuka they had a few critters that were fenced in large areas that usually could be seen.
My favorite were the cheetahs.

Kristi liked this lion - her name is Linda.

Plenty of room, but still a cage.

Maybe a little closer experience than most zoos.

The cheetahs were beautiful.

You could pay extra and have a "cheetah experience" but I was satisfied.

The hyenas just had a nasty look to them and sort of smelled.

This rare specimen is rarely seem in the wild.  Do not feed her or tease her, she can become ferocious when protecting her babies.  She has been known to graze on exotic plants and tends to carry little sprigs and seeds to her home lair for cultivation.  Occasionally she allows the male to approach and feeds him chocolate.  I think there is only one known in existence.

On the property was also located a cheese factory so we snooped around on our way out.

We found the cheese maker in the barn/factory.

And bought classic Dutch cheese in Zambia.

It is funny what makes a Dutch girl happy.