Friday, March 2, 2007

African Safari!!

Monday was the start of our debrief time. In the morning we went to the Bandia animal reserve and had an awesome adventure.

We piled into the back of two trucks. It was great to be in the open air and not one of the SUVs because it was the bumpiest ride I've ever been on, and I would have gotten so car sick if we were enclosed.

A lot of the animals just stopped and stared at us like they were posing for pictures!

I think my favorite animal sighting was in the evening driving past the preserve on the way back from the beach, a monkey like this guy was sitting at the side of the road on the wrong side of the preserve fence!

The birds in Senegal are so beautiful with amazing colors.

Here Alyia was actually trying to get a picture of a crocodile, but got this cool shot when a flock of birds flew into frame.

Everyone's favorite animal was probably the baby giraffe. He was adorable and so curious about us. It was amazing to be able to get out of the truck and be so close to them. What funny, magnificent creatures.

The rhinos were amazing too. We were a little nervous about getting out, but our guide walked right up to this one. We still kept a little distance though.

By the way, our guides absolute favorite thing to point out several times was "rhino s**t!"

When we spotted this rhino up the road, our guide shouted for everyone to get in the truck. Apparently the other rhino was male, and the female is the one who charges and gets angry. To Jason's great disappointment, she did not ram our truck as we drove by.

When we came upon the tortoise area, two had been fighting and this guy had been flipped over by the other one. Our guide flipped him back and said if they can't get flipped back over in a day they will die.

The tortoises ignored us for the most part and dug into their food, even when we were trying to pick them up (way heavy!)

Jason needed a snack!

I call this the toddler tortoise. He's actually 2 years old. How cute!

Hmmm, which should I bring home with me, Eric or the adorable toddler tortoise. Kidding!

Very interesting, it's a superstition in Senegal that if you bury the bones of artists (painters, storytellers, dancers, musicians) in the ground, there will be drought in the land. So they put their bodies in the baobab trees. Bill told us an example of how Satan keeps his hold over the people through these ancient superstitions. A president of Senegal announced that this was an old superstition and made a law that they had to be buried in the ground. That year was followed by several years of drought. There is a spiritual battle, on a whole different level from what we're used to, going on there.

Do you see the elephant in this baobab? No, I mean the trunk of the tree looks like an elephant!

Because it's the dry season, this bridge took us over an empty ravine.

The fruit hanging on the baobab is called monkey bread fruit. It's a green pod filled with large black seeds, around each seed is a small amount of white meat that's very tart. We were excited to try it, since we'd seen it growing everywhere, but not very impressed.

Our guide told us that the crocodiles eat birds, fish, and "white meat"! Hmmm, we were wondering what kept them on the other side of the river from us and didn't stand there too long.

More beautifully colored birds.

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