Today, we went to Mokolodi, about a 45 minute drive from UB, and went on a game drive at the game reserve there. On the way, we passed by Kgale Hill (the one we hiked yesterday) and it’s a lot larger now that I have realized how much time it takes to hike it:
Well it doesn’t look so large here, but at the top of that hill is the antenna. Maybe google Kgale hill or something.
We got to Mokolodi and got off the bus and right there by the parking lot the game reserve people had set up a table with orange juice and champagne for the people who will be going on the drive. It was quite fancy, so the research group HAD to take a picture of course:
From left to right: Brian (Tulane), Andrew (Rutgers), Mallory (Case Western), me, Maren (Yale), Kameron (William and Mary), Megan (Case Western), Amber (Penn)
While we were kind of hanging around the entrance area drinking the juice and waiting for people to decide whether or not they were going to pet the cheetah (I decided not to) some warthogs just decided to come on by. One of the students yelled “Look it’s Pumba!”
Here is a picture of the sign at the beginning of the game drive while we sat in the bus/truck/jeep thing (ooops I forgot to take a picture of it, but I’ll take many on the safari trip) that took us around the reserve.
Our tour guide’s name was Benjamin. He was kind of funny when he introduced himself. He said “We need to keep our voices low so we can see animals, otherwise all you will see is dust.” He also said that spotting animals was kind of a game, but that we would probably all lose because he can always spot the animals first.
The first animal we saw was an impala. You can tell because it has 3 black marks on it’s butt that kind of forms an M. We actually saw many, many impalas, but this one was the first one!
The next animal we saw that was not an impala were kudus. They are a lot bigger than impalas, and the males have really large horns and they can jump up to 9 feet, according to the guide.
Not sure if you can really tell in this picture, but I was sitting in the back of the car, and the guide would pass the animal and there’d be a clear shot for me to take a picture, but then he’d back up the car, so I guess the front could see, so I didn’t get very many good pictures.
We next went to the lake/watering hole, where we saw (from afar) baboons, ostriches, warthogs, and even hippos, but only their eyes, and they weren’t above water long enough for me to take a picture 😦 The baboons were running away as our car drove up, but here are some more kudus at the water.
And here is a picture of where the hippo was just right before my camera got the picture
After this, we went to eat lunch at Mokolodi. I went to the restroom to wash my hands and the place had the cutest pictures that labeled the bathrooms:
You could tell that this place was used to catering to foreigners, because the food was a little bit more american. They had sausages (not sure if they usually eat that, but it was the first time I’ve seen it here) and they had home-made bread I’m pretty sure. But what kind of gave it away was that they had dessert, and I had previously asked the Botswana students if they eat dessert here and they said no, not usually, maybe on special occasions. So that kind of told me that they’re used to getting a lot of tourists and not as many locals visiting and eating there.
This was the centerpiece at the tables, which I thought was pretty cool. I liked it a lot.
On the way home, one of the Botswana students pointed out police for me, which I thought might be good to know what they look like so I took a picture!
We got back to UB and right before going to dinner, we remembered that it was Megan’s birthday (we also remembered on the bus ride to Mokolodi) and we wanted to get her something, like a dessert. But it was almost 6pm and on a Sunday, so we couldn’t think of anywhere to go that was still open and safe for us to go to. So Maren and Amber went out to buy candy from one of the little street vendors outside of the UB entrances. But while we waited for Megan to come out to dinner (we all walk together to the dining hall. It actually has a name: Curry Pot), the UB student that does research with Megan came out and knew of a place where we could buy at least a candle, but it was a kind of sketchy road, so he took two guys and a girl with him to go to the supermarket to buy something for Megan.
Maren and Amber came back, and we went into my room to make a card for Megan, and right when we start writing on the paper, she knocks on the door and comes in and sees the candy out on the table and us with markers and paper and knew right away that we were doing something for her birthday. We gave up on trying to keep it a secret and just gave her the candy. We went to Curry Pot, and were finished eating dinner before the others came back from the supermarket and tried to stall for time. And right when we had nothing left to talk about and Megan looked like she wanted to go, they came in! And they had a cake and stuck one large candle, like on you use in a candle stick, right in the middle of the cake. It looked ridiculous, but she was definitely surprised.
I’m glad we got to do something for her birthday, since she turned 21. So we ate the cake there, but it tasted really weird, kind of like they used horseradish in the icing on the cake. Even the UB student said it tasted weird!
To add to my weird food tastes experience, I had bought a bunch of different candies from the stores every time I went, and so I grabbed one of the bags to try, since I hadn’t tried any of them yet. I opened this bag of gummies that I wasn’t sure what it was called (see picture to follow) and it smelled like insect repellent, which was weird already, but I decided to eat it, and it tasted like to too! I actually let everyone in my research group taste some of it and it was gross and everyone agreed that it tasted like bug spray. Funny thing is, it’s made from Kraft.
They’re Dots shaped and I thought they’d be good, especially because there were a lot of them around the convenient store in the student center. Maybe the UB students think it’s good? Anyone want to try one? I’ll bring it home!