After brunch, we spent most of the day in our bungalow and on our patio catching up on computer work and relaxing…these early mornings are definitely catching up to us! After our lazy afternoon, it was time for our drive. There was one other couple who were from South Africa in our jeep and they told the rangers they really wanted to see the wild African dogs.
We were just down the dirt road, not too far from the lodge when we stopped to look at all the baboons sitting in a tree. Two of them were mating and yes…we did get it on video (see below)! AFter having a good laugh at mother nature reproducing before our eyes…we continued our drive to the territory of the dogs which is over near the “landing strip” or dirt road we flew in on a few days ago.
On the way, we saw a bunch of impala grazing on the tall grass with the mountains and low fog behind them and then a family of wart hogs. As we got closer to the wild dogs…we started to see their tracks in the dirt. When we arrived, all 8 of them were laying around with full bellies in the same area we had seen them before. There were also a few grazing animals like zebra out on the dirt road or “landing strip”. Those types of animals like big open spaces so they can easily see a lion…it is a strategic move. We pulled up fairly close to a zebra which looked straight at us and nodded his head up and down while breathing heavily out of his nose/mouth. The ranger explained the zebra does that to let us know he sees us…so don’t even think about attacking because he will out-run us. He also does this with the lion…a lion will only catch these types of animals if it is a sneak attack.
Tonight’s drive was a little less exciting…the dogs are so far out that it kind of pulled us away from the main action. We were the first jeep back to the lodge so waited a bit for the rest of the guests and then sat down to dinner. The ranger did talk to us about some of his stories and he told us one of the guests of the lodge was killed because she walked by herself back to her bungalow. She just needed to walk a short distance to get her sweater and didn’t come back. When her husband noticed she was taking longer than she should have, he found her being eaten by a group of lions, the ranger had to kill all of them…they cannot allow lions to have the taste of human blood. The lesson here is…NEVER walk to your room at night alone no matter how close it is…
After dinner, we had the ranger walk us back to our room…it was getting late and we only have a couple more drives before we leave Africa!
Published by Giff Kabat
I grew up in Ohio as a kid, so of course I went to college at “THE” Ohio State University. I graduated in 2001 with a major in business finance. A month after graduation, I moved out to California with my college girlfriend (whom I married in 2005)…and started my career in sales (industrial sales for 5 years…then moved into medical laser sales for 4 years).
In 2009 I was 31 years old. I had a great job, a new house, and a beautiful wife. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better…my wife and I found out we were going to have a baby. Everything was going according to plan…and I couldn’t have scripted a better life for myself.
Then in the same year…everything changed. My wife, Brandey, called me when I was on my way to work and told me over the phone, something I never thought could be possible in a million years. My beautiful 30-year old pregnant wife was just told that she had breast cancer. At that moment, everything stopped all at once. I immediately went to her…and learned of our new plan…which began with her needing surgery immediately…and the rest we would find out later.
The day we returned from the hospital after Brandey’s surgery…my father died. He had been battling an aggressive cancer of his own…and although he was the one person I wanted to speak with about Brandey having cancer…I never told him. My sister, Brooke, had just gotten married a few months ago, and although he was weak, he was able to walk his little girl down the aisle of her wedding. On the night before my sister’s wedding, Brandey and I told him that we were pregnant and about to make him a grandfather. It made no sense to tell him that everything had changed for us…so he died in peace knowing everything was “the way it should be” for his only 2 children.
2010 was the worst year of my life. We had lost our baby…and for 12 months I watched my wife fight cancer with multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and drug therapy. It was a difficult year for us…but we made it. When you go through something like this in life, you learn a lot about yourself and the people around you. I was amazed at the strength and courage of my wife…and how many good people there are in this world. I will be forever grateful for the ones who never ceased to amaze me with their kindness during this hard time. Family, friends, and sometimes complete strangers…helped us make it through this. I am, and will always be especially grateful to my mother, who was with my dad at the very end, when I couldn’t be there, and when things were at their worst. She has been so supportive throughout all of this, and without her everything would have been so much harder for me.
It’s 2011 now…and the plan we have for our life this year…is to make it the best year of our lives. Brandey is officially in remission from breast cancer and she has a 95% chance the cancer will never come back. Besides the love that I have for my wife and family, the loves of my life are food, wine, and adventure travel. My wife and I love traveling to new places, seeing natural wonders, and meeting new people from different parts of the world. So for the next 400 days…we’ve decided to travel the world…and celebrate our lives. There are so many things I took for granted in life that I will never take for granted again. My father worked for over 30 years at the same job with the same company…rarely took time off…and died at 64 years old right after his retirement. For me, this trip is a combination of a tribute to him, along with wanting to spend the time of my life with the “love of my life.”
* The only thing I will miss while we are gone is our family and friends (who we hope will meet us somewhere throughout our trip) and especially our 3 little kitties we left with my mom in Ohio to catsit for the next 400 days. I will also miss watching “American Football” over the weekend…but I’ll do my best to check the scores in the middle of the night.
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