On Saturday we took a trip to Mlilwane. It is a smaller game park where you can drive and walk around and look for animals and birds. There is a place you can stop and eat and all around they have fires going if you want to bring food to cook out. It was really neat. You can visit for the day or they also have little huts you can rent and stay the night. There are bikes to rent and horses to take rides and explore. It is the neatest little place…although it is not that little! If I had the opportunity, I would spend a weekend there in one of the huts and the day exploring or reading in a beautiful, exotic and peaceful place. (My 10 year anniversary is coming up soon…hint, hint Brad).
You have to remember this is not a zoo! There is no guarantee what you will see. It all has to be just the right timing. All the animals live in the wild in their natural habitat. While visiting we saw many animals I had never seen before and some I had never heard of before. Impala were what we saw the most. They were usually in big herds. They were mostly graceful and slow, but a few times we did see them get startled and run off. One even came right up to Ellianna as we were walking to see if she had something to eat. Yes, they are wild, but I guess that one was friendly. Others we say were warthogs, blesbok, nyala, and antelope.
The place to eat is by the water. As we arrived in the area the first thing we saw was two big (duh) Hippos just sitting out sunning. It was a beautiful day and they just laid there as we watched. We saw one get up, but it just turned to a different position and flopped back down again. I’m sure everyone is up to date on their Hippo knowledge, but if you have forgotten, Hippos are very dangerous. They kill a lot of people each year.
After getting a bite to eat (and seeing some Monkeys go into the kitchen and swing around from the trees)we walked to explore another area. There is a play area and a pool (have you ever seen Warthogs poolside?) and the girls enjoyed a chance to swing. The area we are in surrounded by mountains. It is beautiful all over! As we walked to the edge to look over and down, we saw a herd of Zebra. Here they call them Zebra (with a short e sound). Say it out loud, it’s fun. In all we counted about 17. They were very close to us, even a baby with its mother. Brad and Ellianna walked down the hillside to see how close they could get and the Zebra did not even move. They were standing just a couple yards away from them. Here they would use meters, not yard, but I don’t have a good concept of how big that is yet. Yes, I learned that in school, but it’s been a while. So, after hanging with the Zebra for a while and taking some pictures, they walked back up. I was standing at the top enjoying the view of the mountains and blue sky filled with clouds, wishing I had the camera to take a picture of Brad and Ellianna standing among the Zebras. So, when they came back up we got Brad’s mom to take our picture. That kind of sighting and especially that close in not something that is common for a place like that we hear. It was pretty amazing!
We also saw a Crocodile out sunning on a small island. As we were taking a closer look (from the car) we noticed on the other side of the water where there were woods two more huge Crocodiles were out sunning and there happened to be two people that were out hiking that had come upon them. We had binoculars to help us get a better look. But, that was not good enough. We decided to go Crocodile hunting and go through the woods to take a closer look. Yes, I was a little worried! Mom, I know you probably would not approve of me taking your grandkids through the woods to find the Crocodiles. However we made it out alive so don’t worry. We found them and right as we approached them one got up and started walking…as I started back peddling. I was holding the youngest child… I think it would have eaten Brad first since he was closest. We got some pictures and then made it back to our car.
We had a really fun time and were thankful to get to see some things we had never seen before. We hope to go to Kruger while we are here so I guess this just gives us a small taste of whats to come!