South Africa Day 5

Day 5 (February 28th)

We got up early for the game drive at 7am and I tried to be nice by waiting for my roommate but she took too long to get up so I missed the coffee time before the drive. The weather kind of sucked in the morning and it was pretty cold, but they had these blanket ponchos for us to wear and bundle up in. Our main objective was the giraffes because we had only seen one of them from far away the day before. On the way to search for the giraffes, we found ostriches and more antelope, including a mother antelope with her day-old baby. We also got fairly close to a new heard of a type of antelope that had only been introduced to the park about 3 months before. We finally found the giraffes, a family of a mom, dad, and younger baby. The mother was extremely pregnant and was already supposed to have had her baby. In fact the rangers hadn’t seen the mother since the day before so they were thinking it was a possibility she had her baby already. But she hadn’t had the baby yet and was barely moving with her enormous bubble belly. Giraffes are pregnant for 15-17 months so I imagine she was ready to get that thing out. We actually saw the baby kick out of her belly! An interesting thing about giraffe birth: they have the baby while standing up, they don’t sit down, so that the baby will fall out and sort of get knocked on the head, which not only will break the amniotic sack and release the fluids, but kind of wakes up the baby. They babies also come legs first, otherwise they would fall straight on their heads and could break their necks and instantly die. Once the baby was born, they were going to take the cheetah out of the park for a few months to let the baby grow up and not just get killed instantly. Our last stop in the park was the elephant yard, where there were two elephants fairly far away and there were no trails close to their “playplace.” But we weren’t very disappointed since we had spent so much time with elephants already. Actually these elephants were extremely accustomed to people because humans had raised them since almost birth. They had been orphaned at a young age so all they knew was people. They had house-trained animal habits, like sleeping in a barn and knowing their feeding schedule. They were so attached to their trainer that they considered him one of their herd so he couldn’t leave for a few days or else the elephants would throw temper tantrums and start throwing trees and stomping around and they become dangerous to be around. So the trainer really couldn’t leave on vacation unless it was a short one. Hopefully he likes his job! After the elephants, we took a peak at this beautiful endangered antelope that was kept in the same enclosure with the elephant. They couldn’t put him in the normal habitat because if the cheetah killed him, there would only be so many left. The reason for its endangered status was because of its beautiful coat. It has about 7 different colors that are almost holographic in that they change when it moves. He looked sad and bored when we saw him, so that was kind of sad. After the last few animals, we headed back to the lodge for breakfast.
Breakfast was yet another amazing buffet of all kinds of delicious breakfast foods: parfait makings, eggs, meats, omelette makings, and tons of fruit. There were at least 5 different kinds of juice options. We had a little more time to pack up and put our stuff in the bus. The last part of the trip was a tour of the reptile center, where I held a snake! We also had a tour of the cheetah enclosure. They had 4 cheetahs kept in the area, but all were kept separate. After a few minutes of pictures, which were hard because the cheetahs wanted to hide, it was time to take our last drive all the way back to Cape Town. We stopped at a gas station for lunch and snacks and got back on the bus to finish the 4–hour drive. Overall, the trip was so much fun. Seeing all the different animals was such an amazing experience, and learning so many different facts about them was awesome.

That night I went to meet up with a group of friends who had rented a house for a few nights in a place called Camps Bay. The house was gorgeous and even had a pool! It was fun hanging out with friends, and I even got to see a friend from Chapman who was studying abroad in Cape Town. We headed back to the ship after a few hours because I wanted to get some sleep before my FDP.

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