I spent my Sunday at Liwonde National Park on safari!
We drove through a herd of elephants within the first 15 minutes of being there! I had been warned not to get my hopes up, but luckily saw so many elephants. We saw four different groups of elephants in total. This first herd, pictured above, was the largest at one time with approximately 30 members that we could easily see. As a biology nerd, and just being a person, this was awesome to see! We probably sat in our car for a half hour watching them and only tore ourselves away because we knew we would see all sorts of creatures on the boat ride later.
In fact we saw all sorts of animals on the Shire (that’s pronounced Shear-Ay, not like in Middle Earth) River. I was super excited a week ago to have seen nine hippos, so imagine my happiness at seeing dozens and dozens, maybe up to a score, of hippos on Sunday! There were also yellow baboons, vervet monkeys, monitor lizards, fish eagles, kingfishers, wart hogs, impala (and lots of other similar animals), savannah buffalo, and crocodiles. Lots of crocodiles. And, what’s a safari without a cheesy photo next to a crocodile?
I know the photo is almost too small to really see (darn internet!), but that isn’t a log I’m so excited about. It’s a crocodile taking a nap! Actually, giggling and jostling in the boat woke it up, scary! It’s left forearm stops above the elbow and is all scarred over, a fight with a fellow crocodile perhaps?
Every time we saw some amazing phenomenon I kept thinking, "I’m so lucky!" and "It couldn’t possibly get any better!" but then it always did. The most amazing experience was last. We were actually way over the allotted time for our tour, but our guide spotted an elephant totally in the water so he drove up over to see it. We were able to get really close and watch him cool off! Then we looked to our left and there was a whole herd of elephants! A man, kind of off to the side, once he saw us from a hundred yards away very resolutely and regally walked towards us. Straight at us! He didn’t seem agitated,more curious than anything about us. Reaching the edge of the water didn’t stop him. He would have walked right up to the boat if our guide hadn’t started the engine in time! The elephant’s march was so majestic! What a great note to end the day on!
I’m blown away everyday by the wildlife I see, the people I meet, or the experiences I have here! Translation: More students should apply for the Studenski Award!