Coming of Age Challenge #5 Africa up close and personal

Africa up close and personal is both an adventure, a luxury, and a once in a lifetime experience. Zoe's fifth challenge took place in Southern Africa during our visit in April. Overall the theme was immersing yourself in a different culture. 

Interacting with an African Elephant

Most elephants in Africa are truly wild. Get between them and their baby or water and watch out -- a few people have been trampled. However there are a few new enterpreneurs who have figured out how to train elephants and have them help society by uncovering landmines in Angola and Mozambique and finding lost hikers. Between their sense of smell and memory they never forget!

Zoe got the opportunity to interact with a variety of African elephants such as sitting on their knee, touching their tongue, their hair, lifting up their heavy foot and taking a game trek on the elephant. 

Challenge: Big animal, small person 

Playing with a baby White lion and tiger

This baby white lion is about 3 months old and is an endangered species. In fact, white lions cannot survive by themselves in the wild  and therefore return to other game parks or sanctuaries. Just like a cute puppy until she scratches!

Meeting new relatives

Meeting all her South African relatives was a treat but also a challenge she soon found out.. Her new 3 and 4 year old cousins speak Afrikaans and she had to soon learn a few words to communicate. 

Hiking in the Bush

Eating new African Dishes made over the fire

Potjie is a special dish that startec when the Boer Trekers moved inland from the cape. They took with them the three legged pot and made a dish with corn as the made staple every night. This dish is a favorite of many South Africans who all have their own special recipes. 

Game Drive at Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park is the size of England with hundreds of different types of animals and birds. 

Over the course of a few days we saw over 58 species (mostly with African names) drove miles, sat and watched hippos bathe, wild dogs sleep, monkeys play, baboons stare, giraffe flirt, elephants lumber, guinea fell peck, wart hogs run, springbok jump, birds sing, and buffalo hold their ground. 

We were lucky enough to stay with our cousins in a stone house adjacent to the park. Everyday we'd venture out, stop and have a picnic in special areas and continue to drive for hours. It was all in the spotting and the watching. When you finally spot a buffalo, elephant, or giraffee it was a glorious moment. Sadly we didn't see any lion this time, so we shall return. 

Suzanne Saxe-Roux