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Swaziland Blog #13- Signing away our lives.

July.27.2010

By Rachel Wolfshorndl

Praise the Lord for another day of rest, starting first with a visit to Corinne’s church and then heading over to Hlane Royal National Park for our game drive (aka – our safari). We had initially planned on going to Kruger National Park in South Africa but realized in order to make this happen we would have to forego church to make it across the border and back in enough time. Although we were all initially disappointed that we wouldn’t be able to do church and Kruger, we felt convicted and led to make church our priority.

Hlane ended up being a great choice!! It wasn’t too far away and we saw three of the “Big Five” (rhinoceros, elephant, leopard, lion, and water buffalo). Before starting our expedition we signed away any of the park’s liability if we were to lose a limb or our life. Okay, this was expected. Then we were greeted by our very serious and strict guide that once again emphasized that he wouldn’t be responsible for any injury we were caused if a lion or elephant came and charged us because we were talking too loud. This began to worry us a little because our team has a very difficult time remaining quiet…

So the expedition began, and within the first ten minutes we saw our first of the big five – the lion! It was sitting in some brush about twenty feet away and did not seemed to be fazed at all by us. We kept driving and saw some elephants grazing on grass and trees. We got a little too close to them so the male elephant started coming our way. Urgently, our driver backed a good distance away from them. (Elephants are one of the most dangerous animals on the game drive because they can run about 40 mph, and cars aren’t able to go in reverse that fast) The driver was intune with the animals, waiting to see how the animals would respond to us. We drove a little further and saw three lionesses on our path. Although our driver stopped our vehicle, they kept getting closer and closer until they walked right in front of the truck and then around to the back. It was a little scary because the driver tried to back away from them but was getting stuck in a rut behind us. We were able to back up a little but then they just passed quietly right to the sides of us. Poor Imdiduzi (our wonderful kumbi driver) was sitting shotgun and didn’t have any netting covering the sides of him, so he took our ice chest and kept putting it on his lap or to his side as to protect himself from a coming lion attack. We made so much fun of him…though we probably would have done the same thing. We continued on and the driver was radioed about a rhinoceros and hippo sighting. Our driver told us because the rhinos were a couple hundred feet way that we could get out of the car and walk up to take some closer pictures. We thought he was joking…we should have known that our driver never jokes. We stealthfully made our way out and took some great pics!

About two hours and five hundred pictures later, we made it back with all limbs attached. What an incredible opportunity we had see these wild animals living in their territory with no cages separating us! We made it back early to the Mananga and were able to spend the evening playing cards and watching Valkyrie. We had a great day of rest and are ready for our last full day of working in the villages.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Mark & Ellen W. permalink
    July.27.2010 5.15.pm

    Way to draw us in with the title Rach! I read thru it really fast to make sure the adventure ended with everyone safe, then went back and re-read it a little slower. 500 pics in two hours…very impressive:)

    Continuing to pray for the team. Finish strong!

  2. Christie W. permalink
    July.27.2010 7.38.pm

    So so so so so awesome!!! Can’t wait to see pics! Praise God!

  3. Mary J. permalink
    July.27.2010 9.20.pm

    Praying for a safe and HEALTHY journey home!

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