Thursday, 4 August 2011

Sunrise in the Serengeti

Our third day on safari, we’re all a little tired and are starting to look a lot tanner than we should because of all the dirt. This morning we woke up at around 5:30, had a quick bite to eat, a few sips of tea in the dark then we were off to watch the sunrise. Before the sun was even up we got to see two jackals, which are like foxes, chasing a cheetah, which we thought was a leopard at first, but that’s not something you see everyday! While this was all happening the sun was slowly creeping up over the horizon and lighting up the sky for a new day. We pulled into a nice spot with a good view to take some pictures of the sunrise. After our picture taking session, we drove for a little while and saw a bunch of jeeps parked on the side of the road, so we went to investigate. Turns out there were two cheetahs just sitting there about 10 meters off the side of the road! We were all so excited because it was, well so we thought, the first cheetahs of the trip! It was definitely a check off of the big five list, the only thing left is the black rhino. For those who don’t know what the big five is, it’s seeing a leopard, lion, water buffalo, elephant and black rhino. While we were watching the cheetahs, there was a hot air balloon that went right by us. It was really cool to see with the sunrise right behind it and all the trees, it was pretty close to the ground too which made a picture perfect setting. 
A bit later, just driving along the road, looking for any animal in sight, right there on the side of the road, 24 or so lions are just walking casually. There were female lions and baby cubs, a few of them just walked across the road right in front of us. Definitely one of the coolest things we saw on safari! Shortly after that, about fifteen feet from the side of the road, there is a random hippo just standing there. That was really cool to see because normally you only see them in the water. We had seen a bunch of hippos already, but just to see one out of the water so close was absolutely amazing. You don’t really realized how interesting and big they really are. 
We’re just about done our morning tour and we see something in a tree. We stop to get a better look and it’s an antelope. Lying there in the tree limp was an antelope that a leopard had just dragged up there. There was no sign of the leopard but it was just amazing to think that a leopard had the strength to drag an antelope 15 or so feet up a tree. 
Finally, after that we reached our turn around point for the morning tour at Hippo Pool, which is a river that is just filled with hippos! They were all crammed together splashing themselves with water with their tails to keep them cool. There were a few baby hippos as well that were simply adorable! When you think of a baby you think of something small, not when it comes to baby hippos. Even though they were babies, they were still about the size of a teenage kid. 
On our drive back we saw more animals, which included a few baby giraffes which were really cute as well. When we got back to Dikdik Pi Campsite we had the most amazing breakfast ever! We had crepes, hash browns, fruit, hot chocolate and tea. A great breakfast to add to a great day! After breakfast we packed up the campsite and set out on our way to the Ngorongoro Crater. 
When we got to Simba-a campsite, where we stayed the night, as we were unpacking an elephant walked into the campsite and started drinking the water out of the water tank! Like how often do you see an elephant, let alone one in your campsite stealing your water about 10 feet away from the campers. And that wasn’t our only animal encounter of the night. After dinner, a group of us girls were off to the bathroom on an interesting walk thanks to Mel, and we end up getting the crap scared out of us as we walked right into a herd of zebras! They were just standing right there in the middle of the grass area. Now if you were one of us girls, had to pee really bad, and it was pitch black outside with a couple of little flashlights to light the path and all of the sudden you see something big in the distance that looks about the size of a horse while being in the desert, I think it’s safe to say that a slight scream would be acceptable. 
After our scary little event, we all settled into one tent and told some scary stories, how appropriate. Layne and Rylee definitely had the best stories there. I think we all went to bed a little uneasy after that. I personally had a bit of a scary dream that night, and I guess it didn’t really help that there was a major windstorm that night and it was a really cold night so I don’t think many people had a very good sleep. But it was definitely good bonding time for us. It’s crazy to think that a group of teenagers can all come together and go on a three week humanitarian trip and work so hard and well together for others and not think of just ourselves. The group on this trip is truly amazing and I am so happy that I got to be a part of it! 
This trip has gone by so fast yet it feels so long. Today felt like it was two days long. As one of my friends told me, “everyday feels like a week and every week feels like a day”, I don’t think there is anything that could explain how this trip feels better than that! I can’t believe there is only one more day of safari, then three more days of work and we are on our way home. I am so happy that I got to experience this with such amazing people. Truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Gabby Levesque

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