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January 30, 2006

We have a day and a half layover in South Africa and what can we do? Kristine books us to go to a game park outside of Johannesburg. What we got to do was a big surprise. In this park, we did the typical driving around looking for wild animals, seeing lots of cool things. Rhinos, reedbuck, wilderbeast, a mongoose that had just caught a bird, wild dogs, a giraffe, and more. Then the driver took us to a special place that is an international breeding spot for lions. Apparently, the goal is for the lions to be somewhat used to humans, so that they are less dangerous when released. So how do they do that? They let us into an area with 5 cubs.

Two white lions, and 3 normal ones, all female. We simply got to play with them like really big kitty cats. Apart from the single incident in which I rolled a big red ball for one cub and he started chasing it but decided that Dane looked like a more natural type of prey and jumped him, it went well. A person in charge of keeping both the lions and the people from killing each other pulled the hunting cub off of Dane before any damage was done. Dane did well to keep his composure, I thought, since it weighed about as much as him.

We also got to pet a baby Rhino, which was an orphan that was being raised with a goat as a friend until it can fend for itself in the wild.

On the way back from the park, we stopped at a shopping mall in town (our first such stop in 5 weeks) to get some lunch. Our taxi broke down and we ended up waiting for 2 hours for him to bring a replacement. That was also OK since there was an arcade and bowling alley in the mall. Dane, Nick, and I played while Kristine and Emily looked around and bought Dane and Nick slingshots.

We are finally on a plane tomorrow night at 7:30 pm. I am looking forward to being back in Rock Island.

🙂 EJ