Saving the Animals and Blyde River

From Gabby

Today was yet another wonderful day in the life of a Globetrotter. Our day started off bright and early, we all struggled to leave at exactly 7:45AM but our hungry mouths and sloppily packed bags made that impossible and our schedule was ruled by “Africa Time” yet again and we left at 8:20 instead. Since we were running a slightly behind schedule we were forced to speed and rush past our last precious glimpses of real African wildlife. However, shortly after we arrived at Maholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, and our experience was nothing short of truly wild.

We were first given a very eye opening and inspiring introduction where we learned about the dangers that wild animals face on a daily basis and the culprits behind much of their suffering, us. After our power point on conservation we were led on a guided tour by a man whose name happened to be Martin. We saw a fierce leopard, a jealous hyena, and were licked by two majestic lions. We were snapped at by badgers, and even got to play with a very excited and tough baby rhino named Dela, who hadn’t learned her own strength just yet. Later on we got to pet a full grown beautiful cheetah (secured on a leash), that was surreal, how many people can really say they’ve touched an adult cheetah from Africa?! I’m just guessing, but I’m going to say probably not very many.

The funniest and scariest part of our time at the center came near the end when we all, one by one, put on a leather glove that reached up our entire arm, and then a nice juicy slice of beef was placed at the tip which lured a very large and not so cute vulture onto our glove to perch and then flap its HUGE wings in our hair and faces.

Once we escaped our near death experience (from which I took away nice long talon scratch down my back) we drove to the Swadini Forever Resort where we had lunch and then took a quick dip into the amazing hot spring beside the pool, and my goodness did it feel good. Once we’d finished swimming we quickly dried off and loaded back into what we now consider our mobile home and arrived at Blyde Dam where we took a beautiful boat tour. We boated through the world’s third largest canyon and spotted a sneaky hippo and lazy croc. The scenery was unbelievable, it was as if we were sailing through a famous painting or popular postcard.

When we arrived back at our new and very pretty temporary home we hit the hot springs again, only this time all our globetrotters jumped in, even Martin (who by the way is an excellent dunker, our poor poor boys)! After many water games, swimming contests, and several dares to jump into the cold swimming pool we were all eventually tired out and returned to our rooms to shower and get ready for dinner.

After our delicious dinner Martin led a very helpful leadership meeting for us youngsters on the way we manage and spend our money. However, it was later that evening where the most exciting part of the day and the oh so sweet revenge for the girls took place (thanks to a great idea from Martin). There had been some rather strange guys following us around and bugging us throughout the day and since the leaders, boys, and girls were all staying in separate shallows the girls and Martin started acting like we were worried since the weirdos staying right across the street.

At exactly 11PM our revenge prank on the guys began, just as the boys were settling into bed and winding down from the exciting day they received a frantic distress call from Madelyn shouting for help with a lot of noise and banging in the background. She desperately cried that those guys were in our room and they weren’t leaving and then suddenly the line went dead. Within a matter of 30 seconds flat all 4 boys had arrived ran, pots and pans in hand, shirtless and in pajama bottoms to our shallow for the rescue. But when they arrived they found an open front door and a destroyed living room with no girls in sight. As us girls hid in the backyard behind trees it took all we had not to laugh hysterically at what we were hearing from the worried and desperate boys inside the house that couldn’t locate us. We were finally found out and the boys had to laugh because they knew they had been ultimately punked and they deserved it after all the pranks they’d played on us through out the trip. They were shocked and had to laugh when they found out that even their own leaders had helped plan our late night trick.