Monday, November 14, 2011

Africa Celebration Week: Day One

Well my two week hiatus turned into a three week one, didn't it? Three week and a day, I guess.

I'll be honest, folks. It's been difficult getting back into the daily grind after the African adventure we just returned from.

Where do I even begin? Do I talk about the animals we saw? The people we met? The even more amazing people we traveled with and didn't get sick of once? Admit it... that's not an easy feat when there are nine of you total.

I'll start with the tour company we used, Travesty International. What's that, you say? We didn't use a tour company? A friend of ours was going to tour us about the wilds of Botswana and Zambia singlehandedly? You've got me there folks!

Truth be told, Travesty International is currently unavailable to most visitors, but if I had to predict, will be available to the general public by 2014.

Here's our fearless leader:

This will probably make his head explode with pride, so I'm treading with caution, but he was amazingly awesome, everyone. I've known Trav for over nine years now, and it was the first time I got to see him in his element, in his home. Usually that happens within the first year of getting to know someone at university, doesn't it?

Usually, though, your friends don't grow up at lion research camps in Botswana like he did.

Before leaving and since getting back, when I've told people we were literally camping in the bush surrounded by all of Africa's beautiful beasts, the look that crosses their faces is priceless. It's one of slight horror and shock and oftentimes followed up with, "I don't think I could ever do that." If I had gone with anyone else in charge but Trav, I don't know if I could have either. He made our safety his number one concern and was frank and honest about the true dangers that existed while we were in the bush. He gets major kudos for this because I know it was a ton of pressure and you could literally see the seriousness lined across his face most of the time.

I feel every good leader needs a good woman by his side, so I can't forget his field research assistant, Jenny.

Absolutely the cutest, right? She had been to Bots before to visit Trav after their first year of dating and I was majorly impressed at all the game she was able to spot before her wily husband. In addition, I have a strong appreciation for lilac-breasted rollers now, thanks to her.

From Tuesday to Friday of the first week, we were in Moremi Game Reserve. Before we left, we stocked up in the city of Maun, which is where we got our bad ass safari vehicle...

and only the essentials...

because, friends, booze IS essential in the bush.

So where do I go from here? Do I tell you about the baboons (those fucking baboons!) who raided our camp not once, not twice, but three times before we had to move sites?

Not the most fun thing to return to after a morning game drive.
Apparently, baboons love a good game of poker.
Upon arrival at LAX, we realized they had stolen our parking confirmation.
Thanks for the additional two hour wait at the airport, guys!

Somewhere, in the wilds of Botswana, there's a monkey with the freshest breath imaginable.

Or how about our fun game of "hide and seek" with the hippo who wandered into camp?

"Oh, hi guys! Just stoppin' by for a quick bite."
"Why are y'all hidin'? It's not as if I'm
one of the world's cutest and most dangerous animals or anything..."
"Ahhh crap, here come the PoPo."
"Kyle, you know I'm camera shy."
"I'll just grab some quick munchies on my way out."

Or why not discuss the Jurassic Park themed game drive where we not only saw a pride of ten lions, a pack of endangered wild dogs rip apart a pregnant impala in a matter of seconds and a few hyenas roll in to eat the remaining impala stomach, but also managed to get lost for a brief and frightening 15 minutes after the sun went down? This little lady wasn't built to sleep in a truck in the middle of the African bush. Nor is she little, but that's beyond the point.

Again, bad ass safari vehicle. And pretty Kimmy in the mirror.
It turns out lions are quite lazy.
Kind of not intimidating...
...very intimidating.
 Smelling the air.
The king.
"Omigosh, wild dogs! Where do you think they're running? Let's follow 'em!"
{sounds of flesh ripping and bones crunching}
Here's lookin' at you, kid.
"Guys, I think it's still alive!"  -- Steph
"No, I'm pretty sure it's dead, Steph."  -- Everyone else
Nom nom nom.
This is making you hungry, isn't it?

Maybe we should talk about the standoff with the herd of elephants we had while leaving Moremi? We were heading out when we came across them in the middle of the road, two babies in tow and all the males in musk (essentially in heat, thus very aggressive). The problem was we couldn't back out because we had our trailer attached to our bad ass safari vehicle and we feared being charged. Trav eventually pulled a three point turn and booked it out of there. There are few photos of this incident because we were trying to figure out how to narrowly escape death (this may be a slight dramatization, but it didn't feel that way at the time), but let's just say I nearly peed my pants.

"Kyle, get back in the f**king car!" -- Trav and me, simultaneously.
The wet streaks show that the elephant is in musk, thus, more likely to be aggressive.
Would have been super cute if we hadn't been afraid of being charged by this little guy's daddy.
Hmmm, ya think?

To sum up this first entry about our adventure of a lifetime, here are more photos of the beautiful things we saw while on safari:

Taking every ounce of power not to break into Hakuna Matata (it means "no worries" for the record).
Young male lion looking for a pride to call his own. Sniffle.
I mean, really? How do you not feel completely at peace looking at this?
Most frightening bridge I've ever crossed in a car.
The Dude.

Saying this trip was the adventure of a lifetime does not even begin to cover my emotions. I am still dreaming about it. I am still waking up in the middle of the night trying to figure out how I am going to go to the bathroom without having to worry about being eaten. 

I can still smell the air if I try hard enough.

To say I am officially in love with Africa is an understatement.

TIA, bru.


  1. Holy toledo Bat Man. What a trip! What a post! I loved the pics and the commentary. How you gonna top that?!

  2. Oh you know, white water rafting, diving into Devil's Pools, kids stuff!

    Stay tuned, Gully :)


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