Humorous highlights as Margrit and Russ Harris Founders of Nikela talk to wildlife conservationists and advocates in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa and Swaziland.
Recently Christin and I had an email exchange. She and her husband, Earth Lovers on Tour, are traveling and assisting throughout Africa. “It takes time to digest everything,” she told me… and now I know what she means.
For the past few days as I’ve sat down to write about our experiences on our Africa Wildlife Conservation Tour 2014 all that ends up on the page are a few discombobulated sentences.
The people we have met with are amazing. Their commitment to their projects runs deep. The wildlife we’ve seen has been beautiful and diverse. We’ve identified eight primary ways people are saving African wildlife. So much information… so many experiences!
Humorous highlights of our trip so far
(7 weeks behind us – 3 more to go)
An elephant comes to dinner… well almost.
Lions roaring at night is scary in a tent… gives an appreciation of human-wildlife conflict.
Two rhino joust at the waterhole in slow motion… the remaining five take sides.
Our air mattress deflates… again, that’s what happens when you pitch the tent under a thorn tree!
The front left wheel rim gets horribly bent hitting a pothole… but thanks to a fella with an old hammer it never loses air.
Vervet steals Margrit’s chocolate bar… human error for sure.
Three course dinner in the bush with armed guards watching for lions and hyena.
A fist-sized scorpion in the doorway of the bathroom… okay it was dead.
Frogs crawl under the tent when it rains… careful don’t step on that bump.
Stalked by a crocodile… a bit unnerving in an open bird blind.
Lost on a dirt road in the mountains of Swaziland… even the GPS doesn’t know where we are.
Downpour, creek rising, tent holding… for now!
Two wart hogs with tails in the air chase across the road… and what’s that, a leopard in close pursuit?
Elephant are something: Watch mothers teach their babies how to use their trunks to reach leaves. (Photo below)
The “old man” (as the policeman called Russ) pulled over in Swaziland… for the second time for some odd “infraction”.
An eagle catching the updraft… gliding, watching, magnificent.
Margrit does the “two step” with a Swazi Warrior. (Photo below)
Second attempt through the mud… with “You can do it Grandpa!” wringing in our ears as Russ accelerates.
Etiquette: Car in first gear, pull slightly ahead of elephant, then stop to watch and take photos.
Bite turns ugly, trip to the doctor… bad little spider.
Charge all electronics without driving car… dead battery the next morning.
“Lion!” Guide bumps down track then halts in front of a lion cub and a whole pride. (See In Search of Lion)
Breakfast entertainment: Two warthogs romp past the pool and back out into the bush.
Giraffes keeping the trees trimmed of the lodge driveway.
Screech! Herd of goats sleeping on the road in the bend of the high way.
Herons feeding their noisy young way up in the tree.
Tiny to large brightly colored butterflies flit across the hiking trail.
Freshly mud caked elephants browse by the roadside… even their eyelashes are muddy.
Paradise: Camping next to a gurgling brook, birds singing in the trees, monkeys chattering on the rocks, flowers and sunshine… Swaziland.
[Stories about the people and their work are discussed separately]
Life in Africa is nothing short of amazing! At times a tad nerve wracking, but mostly awe inspiring…. its going to be hard to go home… shhh! Don’t think about that yet.