Chelsie, one of our peer leaders, describes our amazing safari experience at Hlane Royal National Park where we tracked lions, elephants, giraffes, rhinos and more native African animals:
“Hakuna Matata! It means no worries for the rest of your days!”
I have seen a real lion! No, not a lion from the zoo. No, no, no. I have seen a real-life, wild lion in its natural habitat! It was so beautiful!
Our group climbed into a safari truck and drove to an area with big game, including elephants and lions. The guide had said to watch for lions lying under trees or in the brush. Someone saw a lion walking away from the road, so we sped up only come to a quick stop shortly after. There were two massive lion paws inches from the road.
A 15-year-old lion was sunbathing and smelling the air. It was beautiful. Did you know the darker a lion’s mane, the older it is? I didn’t know that! We had to be super quiet and not make much noise, but we might have spent more than 30 minutes taking photos!
The lion yawned before we started the car and widely opened its mouth. You better believe we were taking pictures! When the car started, you could hear the students whisper “whoa.”
When leaving, we had to backtrack because the lion was in its comfort zone and vulnerable. If we would have driven in front of him, he would have attacked. In all honesty, sitting in the back would have made for great pictures if we were chased!
– Chelsie Pierce-Kennedy