Yankari Game Reserve

31 03 2009

Our 9 day spring break just ended.

We took a 2 day adventure to Bauchi City and Yankari Wildlife Park. We were very thankful to fit in with our neighbors who drove us because the driving is so chaotic. Ruth grew up here and is very comfortable weaving, passing, being passsed, 3 cars to a 2 lane road, using the horn regularly to say ‘here I come’, and being ready for the unpredictable. And to top it off the vehicle had no seatbelts. I pray a lot on these journeys!

Leaving Jos Plateau made for a very hot trip. We thought we were hot here, but as we descended out of Jos it got even hotter and stayed hot throughout the night. We spent the night in Bauchi City in a large guest house (the same one we stayed in last year). It is considered a good place to stay with comfortable rooms, a pool, and they will prepare food for guests. It is so different than U.S. standards… it would not be a place you would choose to go for vacation at home because we are very spoiled!

The next morning we visited Yankari Park and natural warm springs. Baboons greeted us in the parking lot hoping for food. We took a jeep ride along a creek looking for animals. The jeep ride was an adventure in itself, reminding me of the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland; up and over rocks and ruts, sideways and very bumpy. We saw a lot of cool animals ending with the highlight of a huge herd (at least fifty) of elephants! Our driver took us very close to them which scared Cypress. They are amazing creatures to see in their own environment.

After a picnic lunch and keeping the baboons at bay we descended steep stairs to the beautiful warm springs for three hours of swimming. The beauty and cleanliness of the water is a huge treat. It was crowded with Nigerian college students which made for some interesting interactions. They are fascinated buy ‘baturi’ (white people) and also with our comfort in swimming. Most Nigerians do not know how to swim; they just play in the water. Watching the kids swim underwater and float was entertaining for them. Some wanted pictures with us since we are such a novelty, but our men said ‘no way’.

On our way back into Bauchi we encountered a parade of horses and dressed up riders blocking the road through the city. The traffic backed up behind them and we followed along at snails pace until we could break free. It was interesting at first, but animals here are very thin and not treated as nicely as at home. We have an animal sensitive family and it is hard to process what we see in a culture with very different ideas about animals. Women and children also can be treated less than ideal, but that is not as blatant unless you are working in the villages. That’s all for now….thanks for checking in on us!

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One response

2 04 2009
Mona

The pictures of the elephants are breathtaking..thank you so much for adding pictures to your incredible stories. My favorite is seeing you all squeezed into the jeep…hard to imagine being so close to the wild life in such an open vehicle. The warm springs are gorgeous. I would be swimming ‘laps’, no doubt! As I write this it’s raining hard and in the 40’s. I have to talk myself into getting out to run. It will be easier having read your continuous references to the heat! I would think by now you would all be accustomed to the climate, so I can only imagine what it is like being there. Please send us your Skype ID. I finally have Skype up and running, but can’t seem to find you on the list of contacts. Mona




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