*Inspired by Tippi, My Book of Africa
In South Africa I’ve seen a lot of wild animals. In one day in Kruger National park I saw rhinos, hippos, baboons, giraffes, buffalo, zebras, a leopard and lots and lots of elephants, who travel in big families. (Baby elephants are so adorable!)
A few animals I had never seen before—not even in zoos—are wildebeests, warthogs, impalas and kudu. The wildebeest looks kind of like a buffalo but is smaller and has a hideous face. Warthogs are funny, pig-like creatures with little tusks that look like white coat- hanger mustaches. Impalas are a beautiful, deer-like animal, only smaller with horns that are shaped like graceful s’s the color of copper. Kudus are like big impalas. I only saw the females but my parents saw a male and said it has huge horns. Sadly, we didn’t see any lions.
But before our journey in Kruger started, we did see some lions. We went to a lion park (which in fact also had other animals). One of my favorite parts of our afternoon there was when I fed a giraffe out of my bare hands. It’s really hard to describe, but I’ll tell you this much. It seems at first like the giraffe is going to bite off your hands, so you have to face your fears and hold your hand out so long it starts to ache. But when it actually takes the food, you feel a combination of a dog’s tongue and a cat’s tongue. It’s soft, hard, hairy and slimy all at once. Once you get used to it, it feels really good, but you have to watch out for the giraffe’s drool!
The highlight of that afternoon was petting the baby lion cubs. (If you think I said the highlight was feeding giraffes, then check back!) The lion cubs are so cute!!! They are like little fuzz balls. Pick your favorite animal—a puppy or a kitten—and they are ten times as cute. All of the cubs were very young. The youngest was three months old and the oldest was five months old. The five month old, named Marshmallow, who was the only white lion, was the nicest. He let us pet him and was especially attracted to my dad’s sweaty leg, which he kept licking. I asked my dad what it felt like and he said it felt like rough sand paper. It hurt a little but he liked it. Marshmallow also nibbled on my dad’s shoe, which was more surprising than painful.
In addition to seeing and playing with animals, we’ve also met a lot of nice people, but that’s a whole different story!