Our safari kicks off at 6am, so we carry our bags over to the bus or our new mobile home as our guide George calls it. We meet the girls joining us; 2 germans, 2 british, all sisters. Considering Amber and I look so much alike everyone decided this was just the sister’s safari.
The next 7 days will be full of drives through the country. There are tons of companies that offer safaris but due to our booking in June, our restrictions on timing, and the fact I had to see Victoria Falls, limited us. Oh plus I wasn’t spending 3k. Acacia offers a tour with all the highlights we were looking for in our budget. It is only a couple steps above roughing it but we are young still right?
We head to cross the border into Zimbabwe. If you have been following the news, you’ll know that they recently had an election. The man who won is believed to have fixed the election for his re-election. Reading the news online makes it sound like the country is in a constant revolt. A little wary we drive through the countryside and end at Bulawayo, the second biggest city in the country. Not sure where all these protests are happening but this was a normal afternoon with people going about their business. Lessen learned about how the media can sway you into thinking things are worse than they are.
The first excursion happens on day 3 in Matobo National Park. The tour included a half day tour with the rhinos but we had an option to extend to see the bushman paintings and tour a local village. Who are the bushman you say? We thought the same. America, educates our youth so well. We are here to experience, so extend we did. Here are some more things I learned.
- Female rhinos can only ovulate when they witness 2 male rhinos fitting for her.
- Certain people in Asian countries believe that if you eat or use any part of the rhino horn you will gain their fertility and sexual strength. Apparently it takes a male rhino 30+ mins to finish and they are packing. Scientific experiments have been done on the horns and it is comparable to taking an aspirin. Someone introduce Viagra to these people so they can stop poaching these poor rhinos.
- They can get up QUICKLY. We stood about 15 ft away from 5 sleeping rhinos, one a baby, and damn do they get up quickly for weighing 3 tons. The most quiet adrenaline rush I’ve ever experienced.
Next to the paintings! Have you taken the 23 & me test? Apparently the main gene that everyone has is called the Adam gene. We all have it plus our other genes to show where we are from. The bushman are only this Adam gene. So meet the first men in our species. Yes, they are still alive and live in a tiny part of a park in Namibia.
There are caves full of paintings from 26k+ years old that their ancestors did. They are incredible, life like and show what life was like for our ancient cousins. Truly mind opening and makes you wonder why we all hate each other so much when we are all the same inside.
Finally, we ended in a local village. We spoke with the chief and heard his life story. We danced with the kids and got a tour of their village. To see their smiles and happiness makes me wonder why we think we have it so much better in the west. I think of my country full of depression and anxiety and know we have come far but we are missing something crucial; the love and community connection.
I go to bed thankful that these villagers opened their home to me and shared their lives. It is true that traveling is the one thing that makes you richer.