Tuesday, September 11, 2012

An Elephant Never Forgets

We will never forget the tremendous feeling of working hard to reach the roof of Africa, but the last few days on safari have certainly provided us with many more memorable experiences.

The morning after our summit celebration party at the Marangu, we loaded into our three Land Rovers and headed out to Lake Maynara National Park for our first day of game viewing. After driving about four hours we received a call notifying us that Chad forgot his leg back at the hotel. Although Chad had enjoyed a number of Kilimanjaro beers the night before, he seemed pretty certain that he remembered to pack his spare prosthetic leg in his bag. In the end it turned out that the leg belonged to someone else, so we continued along to enjoy our first game drive.

Lake Maynara (and Ngorongoro Crater the following day) both proved to be prolific sites for viewing and photographing the incredible wildlife here. So far we have seen all of the "Big Five" with the exception of the Leopard, including: Lions, Rhinos, Elephants, and Cape Buffalos. We have also seen all of the following:

Giraffes, Hippos, Zebras, Wildebeests, Flamingos, Wart Hogs, Gazelles, Impalas, Vultures, Buzzards, Ostriches, Hyenas, and Jackals.

It has also been fascinating to learn all about these animals from our knowledgeable safari guides. The behavior of one animal in particular that we learned about yesterday is the Baboon. While we were stopping at the entrance of the Ngorongoro Crater picking up our permit, one of these baboons decided to jump up and crawl right inside an open window of one of our Land Rovers. Jen, Lou, and Fritz were inside and watched in astonishment as the brazen baboon grabbed a bag of cookies that were in the center console, and then he jumped back out to enjoy his loot from up in a nearby tree.

There have been many other memorable moments we have all shared together so far on this trip, but none would be as special if it weren't for the bonding relationships we have made with one another.

"The quality of your life is the quality of your relationships." - Anthony Robbins, as quoted in Steps to the Summit, Step # 12: Build Quality Relationships.

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