The 3 A's... Africa, Asia & the Americas

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7feb07

Hi all, I had to write and tell you about our experiences at Kruger Park !! We stayed in a 'safari tent' for 2 nights - basically this was a great big green army number straight out of MASH.... It was right on the perimeter of the park, which means that we were separated from the wildlife by a 2 metre high electrical fence!!!! mmmm can't see that stopping a 2 tonne elephant on the rampage....

Our first night we were just about to turn in when we got to our from door and turned on the outside light and there was a hyena on the other side of the fence not more than 5 feet away - absolutely NO exaggeration. He was sitting there just looking straight at us!!!! Now this hyaena looked quite cute actually and I thought it was especially cute when he looked straight at me, then slowly walked away giving us a little sidewards glance - I thought he was maybe a little shy and had gotten a bit of a shock to see us there, in his territory... But then Simon decided to let me in on a few secrets he'd just read in the info booklet we;d picked up. Hyena's are scavengers - they are the first ones at the dead animal as soon as the lions have taken what they want - they frighten off the vultures and don't let them have a look in till they've taken what they wwant. They're jaws are built to rip flesh apart, and they chew up the bones - cute eh?? So for the first night that was all we'd seen of him...

I really hoped that he'd be back the second night - be careful what you wish!!! At 8pm when we got back to our MASH tent I got some veggies out and started making a salad outside on the table - he obviously smelt it a mile off and the next minute he was there !!! Sniffing...though this time he wasn't shy and retiring, he just stood there, staring , we had to end up taking our food inside to eat !!! He then realised that we were getting upset with him - something about us shining the torch in his eyes and shooing him away .... So he decided to hide!! He crouched down very low on the ground so that he was camouflaged by the trees - but I could see him... He was freaking us out !!

Anyway, my next thought was that hyaenas are renowned for their laughing - I wished that I could just hear him laugh a little - be VERY careful what you wish!!!! We went to bed and honestly the sounds of his shrill laughter haunted our ears - this was a little bit scarey. Here we were in our little MASH tent, no more than 5 feet away from a mad laughing animal - which had decided that it wasn't going to get any of our Greek Salad and would have to go out and fend for himself!!! Well, he must have set upon a bushpig or a warthog or something cos the sound was horrifying!!!! Right outside our door!!! The bushpig shreiking and the hyaena laughing away - and he went on laughing through the night!! Oh p-leease....

That was the hyena saga!!! Then there was the electrical storm. On the first night of our stay, just after we saw the cute hyaena for the first time, an electrical storm came over..... The thunder rumbled and the lightening came on strong. It wasn't long before the whole sky was being lit up and our MASH tent as well ..... It was like the hyena was standing outside flashing a strobe light around - I mean the whole place was lit up by this storm... We didn't get wet, but our little tent didn't save us from much else... We got up at 4.30 am and took our little corsa out on a game drive of our own.

Kruger Park is massive, in fact it is actually the size of Wales itself!! That's a LOT of mileage to cover, while driving at 40 km an hour while both looking out either side for animals!! We drove from 5.30 am till 3.30pm !!! and THEN got on a sunset game drive at 4.30 until 7.30!!! It was worth it though, we saw a massive bull elephant quite close up, giraffes galore - so close, a massive buffalo, again really close, another couple of hyaenas, hippos, crocs, lions, it was a GREAT day - it was that day that we got back to our tent to make the Greek Salad that the hyaena so wanted - so you can see why we were a bit narked off....

So that is our real safari experience !! You could say that we were very close to nature !!! VERY indeed !! we're off to Mozambique tomorrow - some beaches and snorkelling to be had !!

lots of love wendy xxxxx

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