2019 September South Africa Team, Day 8

 Today was our day at Mongena, which is a Safari Lodge about an hour away from Pretoria, South Africa. After the long week of work at the school, we were looking forward to the break. We had to get up very early as our jeep was ready to go at 6 AM. That is the best time to see the animals feeding. Our guide, Stian, (short for Christian) was wonderful as he knew all about the animals and trees and plants. He pointed out herds of impala, waterbuck and kudu as well as monkeys and hornbill, the bird from Lion King named Zazu. Then we saw the giraffes feeding off acacia trees, which have large thorns. Stian shut off the engine and we sat and watched the majestic creatures in awe. 
Along the dirt path we saw a pair of white Rhino. It was fascinating to watch them but also scary to get so close. We saw a hippopotamus lounging in the water as well as a crocodile. We saw wildebeests, warthogs,  nyala, and my personal favorite, kudu with their big ears. 
We saw elephants at a distance but could not get very good pictures. We stopped for coffee & tea along the trail and also to stretch our legs. 
 We returned back to the facility and had a wonderful buffet breakfast. Then we sat in the sun and enjoyed conversation amongst our group. We discussed our work at the school and any ideas for future teams. 
Then after a late lunch we went on another safari. This time the spotters had found a herd of elephants near the road. Stian cautioned us to be quiet as the matriarch of the herd was giving us careful watch. They had babies with them so were acting very protective. After some photos we continued on and the spotters reported lions. Stian carefully maneuvered the jeep through the brush to give us a good look at two female lions lounging in the bush. One in particular raised her head and looked at us and yawned a few times so we could see her mouth full of teeth.  They are truly majestic creatures.  Stian also took us to a fenced in area to see a male lion that they are getting ready to transfer to another game reserve they trade the males so that the offspring are pure and not inbred. 

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