Monday, June 11, 2012
Adventures at the Khama Rhino Sanctuary
After today we'll have just 3 more days here and then we leave Friday night. It will be almost midnight here when we fly, but it'll be supper time on the east coast. If you think of us, say a prayer for safety for us when you sit down to eat.
We spent most of this past weekend at the Khama Rhino Sanctuary. It's about 4 hours north of Gaborone, so we spent a lot of time on the road. We rented a Honda CRV (We think it is 7th vehicle we've driven since arriving in Jo'burg 2 months ago) so that we could drive around in the sanctuary on our own. We were able to watch a bunch of animals, including rhinos, zebras, jackals, guinea fowl, various antelope, a few wildebeast, ostriches and - finally - some giraffes.
Edwin enjoyed seeing the animals but he also enjoyed the freedom to sit on my lap in the CRV and not have to stay buckled in his car seat. And Elena, well, she was happy as long as she had her pacifier and could sleep and eat when she wanted to.
We slept in a chalet overnight, and boy, was it COLD. Not only do the chalets not have insulation, the gables on the front and back are just open screens, so all the cold air could come right in. The roof was also dried grass. We'd brought along some additional comforters and I'm really glad we did. We were able to make sure the kids had enough covers and we had extra too.
We had decided to eat supper at the restaurant just a short walk away from our chalet and then we were going to build a fire outside afterwards. Edwin was all excited at the prospect, and I kind of thought of this as a pseudo camping trip.
I walked back to the chalet before Edwin and Dan because Elena was really hungry and as I got closer, I realized there were a number of vehicles and a bunch of men right outside our chalet, sitting around a campfire, drinking, and cooking meat on the outdoor grill. WHAT??!! This wasn't a public picnic area - we'd reserved the chalet and the fire pit and outdoor grill went along with the chalet.
I just decided to just go into the chalet since I saw it was all men (there happened to be one woman but I hadn't seen her originally - an American - from what Dan said later). I thought I'd let Dan handle the situation.
I sat on one of the beds inside and nursed Elena. The group right outside was loud, and all I could think was "what in the world are they doing here?! Surely they saw our CRV (it was right out front - there was no way they could miss it!) and realized people are staying here! Here we thought we were going to have a relaxing night!" I tried to stay calm while nursing Elena.
Dan and Edwin came back soon, and Dan went out to talk to the guys. They didn't offer to leave, they just said they didn't think anyone was staying here, so they thought they'd use the grill and fire pit. Dan then went to talk to some of the staff at the restaurant and they came back with him to talk to the picnickers.
The short story is, they packed up their things and left after we clearly said we wanted them to. In some ways I felt mean that we made them leave, but I also felt like our space and privacy had been totally disregarded and invaded. They went on their way, and we were then able to relax and have the quiet evening we'd been looking forward to.
Edwin was excited about the fire and he ran around a bit until we decided he'd stayed up long enough past bedtime. We made special "campfire milk" that consisted of warm milk with some sugar mixed in. I made one for Edwin, and then he wanted to make one for me and Dan.
After both kids were in bed, we were able to sit by the fire and look at the stars. I must say, I don't think I've ever seen the stars so clearly. Because there wasn't much unnatural light, we could see the stars and the milkey way so clearly, and the sky seemed huge.
It made me feel small and vulnerable. Just a tiny speck on a huge planet.
Today's parting photos: the view in the backseat (for about 2 minutes) during our return trip to Gabs.