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In 2007, I went on my first safari in South Africa. I just finished a 7 day production gig in both Cape Town and Johannesburg, and the crew and I decided we would take a couple of days off to go to Kruger National Park.
I Came Face to Face with a Lion Original Article By: Kalei Beamon In 2007, I went on my ﬁrst safari in South Africa. I just ﬁnished a 7 day production gig in both Cape Town and Johannesburg, and the crew and I decided we would take a couple of days off to go to Kruger National Park. We ﬂew into this teeny tiny airport...which was only slightly bigger than the plane we ﬂew in on...then took a long drive. Talk about being in the boonies. Don’t know why, but I was expecting to arrive at a Hilton or something recognizable. I was envisioning a 5 star property and then we would take a bus out to the safari. Nope. When we arrived, we were dropped off literally in the middle of Kruger park. No Neon signs. No loud music. No TV. No cell reception. No Internet. Nada. We we’re one with nature. It was more like being at camp...which was a bit of a shock for a city girl like me. The silence was almost deafening. When we arrived we were immediately escorted to our cabin... and told that under no uncertain terms were we to walk around the grounds by ourselves. You know...LIONS! We had about an hour to kill before we headed off on our ﬁrst ride. When it was time, we all climbed into our jeep with our Ranger Chadrack and went in search of Africa’s Big 5. Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo, Leopard and of course Lion! (I must admit, I was most looking forward to seeing the giraffes!) Anyway, we rode around for hours and saw nothing but bush. Seriously. I was starting to loose my patience and was beginning to think this whole thing was a bust. The ﬁrst thing we came upon were the buffalo. They were huge and kinda ugly...but very cool to see. We took some photos and moved on. We got lucky and saw a bunch of different animals that night. Then it got dark and we went back to the camp for dinner. I was a little worried about the food situation. Again, we weren’t at the Hilton and there were no restaurants around. Dinner was prepared by a woman named Beauty. OMG...can that woman COOK! I couldn’t remember when I had eaten so well! By the end of the trip, we were all trying to get her to come back to the States! The next morning we went back out. We rode around and saw giraffes, elephants, lots of rhinos and even a leopard. But still no lions. It was late afternoon and we were still speeding around the bush, eagerly awaiting our next big animal sighting. I looked to the left very casually and thought...‘OMG, there they are!” “There they are,” I said out loud. ‘What,” my friends said. “Lions.” And there they were...just chilling in the grass. It was so surreal. Even though we had been looking for them, I wasn’t expected to just turn my head and be face to face with some Lions. They looked so peaceful. ALMOST harmless. So, when I saw this article today about the drop in Africa’s Lion population, it really made me sad. Africa's lion population plummets by two thirds in 50 years, study ﬁnds “The situation in West Africa is particularly dire," the experts wrote, noting that human populations have doubled there over the last three decades. Fewer than 500 lions remain in West Africa.” Having traveled through so many parts of the world...including Africa...I know how much we take for granted... clean water reliable power freedom of speech and now the world’s lions. Be Bold. Come Along.
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