Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Rhino & Lion Park

While spending the day with The Jamesons at the Rhino Lion Park my camera battery died! I missed the opportunity to record our fun day in photos but Lorriane got some fantastic pictures and gave me permission to copy her blog post.
Thank you Lorraine!!
Here is her post complete with pictues. She knows a lot more about the animals than I do. Enjoy!

"On our last day in South Africa we decided to be complete tourists. We went to the Rhino & Lion Park just outside Johannesburg.

It was made even more fun because we spent the day with Rusty and Georgia Henrichsen, who are serving their mission in the Johannesburg mission office. It's amazing that half way around the world we were with a Tempe connection.

The Rhino & Lion Park is quite different from a safari. You drive your own car through the park and you have to stay on the roads. The animals don't live by the laws of nature and have a protected environment. They don't have to look for food. They don't eat each other and they're very accustomed to people staring at them. The predators are kept in one part of the park and other animals are separated from them by electrical fences. You go through gates to get into each area. It's sort of a cross between a zoo and a game park, but we enjoyed it very much, and we especially loved sharing it with the Henrichsens. We talked as much as we looked.
We saw at least 35 different animals. It was interesting how the animals were found, often at feeding spots, in groups with many different animals intermixed.
We saw all kinds of DLA's (deer like animals.) They are the most numerous variety of animals and the main source of food for the African savanna predators.

The antelopes with the masks are called a gemsboks. The baby waterbuck looks like a good target as he runs away, and the guy with the huge horns is a sable antelope. His horns are not only big but most beautifully ringed with color.

The blue wildebeests are pretty homely and do actually have a blue cast to their coats. There were hundreds at this park, but we saw a lone wildebeest in the Mara. You can see several kinds of antelopes eating together. The roan is in front, then there's a sable antelope and a gemsbok at the back.

This tiny, frail thing is the smallest antelope we saw. He's called a springbok. He runs like he's got springs on his feet. In contrast, we saw this HUGE gemsbok. I'm not sure that he could even get himself up to run. Certainly he couldn't evade a predator.

There were seven different kids of animals eating together in this spot.

We saw several herds of cape buffalo. They are enormous beasts.
I'm not sure how they ever hold up that gigantic set of horns. They are one of the Big 5,
which consist of lions, rhinos, elephants, cape buffalo and leopards.

There were 15 kinds of birds. Most interesting were the cranes, pelicans,white flamingos

and these Marabou stork, who truly have an appearance that only a mother could love. Ugly!

Ginny hens are a favorite bird in South Africa and seen everywhere- such cute, fat, little critters!

Ostriches and wart hogs must like the same food. Everyplace we saw one, we saw the other.

We hadn't seen rhinos, so we were excited to see these big guys. They're another one of the
Big 5, Africa's five most dangerous creatures. They're known for their bad tempers.

Love the zebras! The zebras in South Africa have a grey stripe between every set of black stripes. They have a very different pattern to their stripes and are stockier than the ones in the Mara. I didn't know before we came to Africa that there were different types of zebra.

There were zebras and four kinds of DLA's feeding together at this same place.

We went to those areas to see the white lions, wild dogs and cheetahs being fed.

The head of the pride made sure that he ate first. The females stayed away or around the edges until all the males had eaten. Then the cubs are allowed to fed.

One cheetah kept watch while the other ate.

The wild dogs were the most ferocious eaters. They fought with each other and there was a defiant pecking order as to who got to eat first. One of the dogs was chased off and held at bay until the others had eaten.

The bengal tigers were pretty quiet until two of them got into a tug-a-war over a piece of meat. Then they both just clamped on and tried to out-wait the other. Finally, after at least 10 minutes, one got tired of holding on and let go of his grip. The other tiger quickly snatched the meat and went off with his prize.

There were also white tigers and leopards, all of whom were resting in the shade and not all that exciting to watch. We were happy to see the leopard. He was the last of the BIG 5. You can't go to Africa without seeing the Big 5.

The jaguar may have really been a stuffed animal for all the action we saw from him.

Brown hyenas are mostly scavenges, but sometimes they hunt.
They were right down in the ground in their den when we first saw them.

There was even a place where you could could see baby animals and pet a small white lion.

We had a good time at the Rhino & Lion park. Being a tourist is great fun and even four old senior missionaries can enjoy a little time away from the job on P-day and be better for doing it. It was a great day!"


No comments:

Post a Comment