What a way to start our trip
Trip Start Feb 24, 2010
13Trip End Mar 11, 2010
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What an incredible day we had today – the danger is that we may have peaked! We left this morning with Terry and Marian and traveled 40 miles outside of Pretoria to Horseback Africa for a ride in the brush (see how I already talk the native!) where we were able to get right up to the animals. Wildebeest, kudu, eland, springbok, impala and I got credit for spotting a warthog – ugliest creature ever and twice as deadly as hideous.
Not having done any serious riding for awhile it was a bit of a trial to spend several hours in the saddle but I managed and loved cantering with "Wanda" the wonder horse. We really were able to get quite close to the animals but sadly did not see the much sought after (by me) giraffe. Africa is so beautiful and truly big sky. They apparently had a lot of rain day before yesterday and it is pouring as I write this but it has been nice during the day
10:00 Pretoria from Mel (after I downloaded pictures and made a movie)
First full day in Africa and I got lion poop on my pants! What a treat today has been. The park where we rode (and got pooped on) is a 1000 acre game ranch Northeast of Pretoria. It was very laid back, family run and the folks that own the park are truly committed to conservation and education. Our morning started on horseback in search of Giraffes for Barbara. Unfortunately they knew we were coming so the did not come out of the bush, instead we came upon an incredible array of herd prey…all accustomed to horses so we were able to get up close and personal. After a 2+ hour ride across a gorgeous landscape we were back to the lodge for cold beer and lunch followed by a walk and romp with the lions. Our first companions were 8 months old…Petra, Shannon, and Mario. They were old enough that we had to be careful, never turning our backs on them or letting a stray camera strap swing in the wind. We were schooled in dominate lion behavior (no problem for me) and walked through the bush with them to help them acclimate and hone their hunting instincts. The next group out were 4 month olds and finally we bottle fed and played with the babies. All the lions raised in this park are placed in larger government controlled reserves where they are reintroduced back into the wild. We spent over 2 hours with these incredible cats, touching rubbing, playing, and walking. So far…..trip of a life time. Terry and Marian are terrific hosts and have set us up for a great vacation. How lucky I am.