Thursday, December 8, 2016

|| morning drive ||

While my parents were here, we went to a lodge in one of the national parks.  It is a newly opened lodge.  We'd heard great things about it from friends but still weren't quite sure if it was going to be as good as we'd heard.  Well, it completely exceeded our expectations.  Wow.  What a treat.  

Of course, the main highlight and activity at a lodge is a game drive.  Reading the brochure, I found out there was the option for a 3+ hour game drive or a quick hour or so game drive.  I said to the guide - there's no way my kids will last 3 or more hours on a game drive.  So we will just go on a one hour game drive.  

Unknowingly (and luckily), that little bit of information was swept to the wind.  We assembled at the early hour of 5:30 and off we went!  

Here we are crossing the river to get to the lodge's vehicles on the other side.  At this point, I definitely did not think we would be driving around for more than three hours with (turns out) very calm children.

Within two minutes of our start, we saw our first game.  Hard to spot leopard.

The drive was perfect for Liesl.  It hit all of her high points: being outside, riding around with family, and looking for animals.  Those three plus hours absolutely flew by.  

Liesl sat in the front with Omie and Opa in her car seat.  And 12 week old Jules sat in the back with us in his car seat.  The biggest challenge for me were the biting flies.  But we just covered Jules up good with chitenge and he slept through most of it.  Somehow, the front seat passengers escaped the flies.  :)

The last afternoon drive, we finally saw lions.  That was surreal.  It was a little stressful for me because I was so concerned with keeping Jules absolutely quiet.  But, we did it! We were as close to 10 feet or less from the lions.  Unreal.  

As we drove through the bush on that first morning, watching the day break, I couldn't help but feel so lucky to raise my kids here.  It is definitely a challenge in some areas.  Life is not a cake walk (but is it anywhere, really).  But a peace and happiness washed over me.  My kids are so so so lucky to grow up here.  Experiencing the bush.  Getting to go on game drives at two years old and three months old!!!  The enjoyment of outdoor living and freedom!  Wow.  I know many more opportunities like this await us as a family and I want to seal these precious memories in their mind forever.