"Staring right back at you."
(Female Kudu, Kruger Park, South Africa)
Today I noticed some kids jumping and waving their arms ad infinitum in front of a TV screen in a computer store. They had no controls in their hands so it took me awhile to realize they were actually playing an interactive game. It kept them occupied for a long time and kept me pretty entertained just watching them.
But that was nothing compared to the game we saw at Kruger Park this week with our family (who we have since bid farewell to). Game viewing at Kruger Park is different to visiting a zoo. At a zoo, animals are in their pens and you wander around at your leisure checking them out. When you're bored (like if they're napping), you move on. In a wildlife park like Kruger, however, there's one very large natural "pen" and you're in it with the animals. This is one very good reason to stay in your vehicle.
When viewing animals in a game park you have to do a lot of driving and actively search for them. Once you find them, if you get bored with a particular sight, you drive and actively search some more. It's a totally different experience to visiting a zoo and every visit presents its own unique sights. Like these:
Elephants having a "pool party".
Note the guy on the right, bottom down, tusks facing the sky. Is he doing a back flip?
A giraffe, lost in thought.
A mossy crocodile. (Talk about a long wait for dinner!)
Yawning baby hippo.
Cape Buffalo staring right back at us.
Kind of like the Kudu but with an attitude.
Cute yellow bird taking his umpteenth sip of ketchup.
(Yes, little guy, we know. We're in "your" pen.)
The much-poached rhino. Rough skin, thorn bush scrapes, horn and all.
Zebra with a fascinating stripe pattern.
Did you know that each zebra has a set of stripes that are as unique to him/her as a finger print?
Mom and baby baboons. Very entertaining.
It's a bit disconcerting though how much these animals
act like humans (compared to the others) :)
A particularly protective mother elephant gently keeps us at a safe distance
by walking towards us.
(When an elephant walks directly toward you, you back up. Quite a ways, if necessary, in case you're wondering.)
I'll close with this next one.
A certain tourist taking the "we're in their pen" thing a bit seriously.