We got up early today for a 6:00am safari game drive. Our sleep schedules are totally messed up with the time difference and all, so we figured it wouldn’t be so bad. It was cold when we got up, about 40 degrees! I put on almost all the layers I had and we went outside our room to wait for the jeep to pick us up in the dark. I really enjoyed the drive this morning, am super glad I woke up and liked being the first jeep into the park for the day. When we went in, it was dark and our ranger was shining a flashlight into the bush to find animals, but we didn’t really see anything until it got light.
After the game drive, we went back for breakfast and then headed back into Entabeni Nature Conservancy (the park near us) for a course tour for tomorrow’s race. By this time it was warming up to be nice out (maybe 60 degrees?), and we drove the marathon course. It looks like a hard race, lots more hills than I originally imagined, but still nothing we can’t handle. Chris decided to do the full marathon after driving the course and making a game plan about when to walk and when to run. I think we’ll run the whole race together, we both are thinking we’ll use the same strategy of what areas to walk (big hills or lots of sand) and what areas to run (downhill, flat). We have 7 hours to finish and I have yet to finish a marathon in over 7 hours, and that one I did last year in Moab was harder than this one, so I think I’ll be okay.
We had lunch at Lakeside Lodge, which is another one of the lodges here that people are staying in. We’re staying in Legend Safari Resort, which is actually outside of the park, so you can leave your hotel without a Ranger escort. The places in the park, you have to get a Ranger to help you. Ours is nice, people are normally out and about walking around the neighborhood near all the units and the food is served cafeteria style – about 90ish people are staying with us, so we’ve been sitting somewhere different each night. Meeting people from all over the world – we have a friend Coraline from The Netherlands who we probably spend most of our time with, and then there’s Erin and Holly from England who we like a lot too. We had dinner with two guys from Des Moines, Iowa tonight. Good thing they’re Cyclone fans and not Hawkeye fans!
Tomorrow is race day – breakfast served at 6:00am, race starts at 9:00! Wish us luck!
Here we are early in the morning ready to see some wild animals! Brr!
The sun came up around 6:30, what a nice morning!
Sunrise on the mountain, kinda looks like Moab here doesn’t it?
Aside from some deer and birds, the first animals we saw were Zebras. Cool! Did you know that no two zebras have the same stripe pattern? It’s kind of like your fingerprint, no two are the same. Neat!
Shortly after the Zebras we saw this lion. There’s only 4 lions in the park- a mama, dad (this guy) and two of their kids (one boy and one girl). Lions are protective of their area and will only allow certain lions in. If an unexpected lion arrives, they’d likely kill them b/c it’s their territory. The sister of the mama used to live in the park, but she died so there’s only 4 now.
Just before the course tour, we saw 3 rhinos. This means we’ve so far seen 2 of the Big 5! (Big 5 are Elephant, Lion, Buffalo, Rhino and Leppoard). I’m hoping we’ll see them all!
Here’s a photo of one of our safari jeeps. They drive on the opposite side here, felt strange to sit in the passenger seat but be on the “driver’s side”. I sat here for our course tour.
After our course tour, we picked up our race packets! We look really dirty in this photo, from the dirt blowing up on our jeep during the course tour. Wonder how dirty we’ll be tomorrow?
There’s lots of monkeys around- today at lunch, one of them stole an apple right from the top of the table! It was so quick that people didn’t even have a chance to get it before the monkey did! Funny!