The following is an excerpt from Sarah Jane’s blog as she documents her time in Botswana during a semester abroad. Many students feel that getting out there, for what’s bound to be the experience of a life time, isn’t a realistic option. However opportunities abound, and Sarah shows us that they are worth seizing.
“Just like everyday out in the bush, we were up at 5 am and ready to pack into our 12-seater safari truck. The sky still glimmered with a blanket of African stars when our guide, Costa, drove through the gates of Suvuti (where we were staying in the Chobe National Park) to go and explore the bush. We saw elephants all over. Some played in the mud to escape the terrible heat, others ate grass from the ground or from trees. We saw cheetah, lion, and leopard tracks all along the road, and we veered off in search of the wild cats. We saw more elephants, zebras, bison, and warthogs, but it wasn’t until seven that night that we ran into a pride of lions on the prowl for impalas. In the distance we could see a lioness hiding in the grass while two male lions awaited their meal a short distance away. After waiting and watched the lioness stalk her prey, we drove over to see the male lions. We passed close by them, within a couple of feet, but they hardly seemed to take notice. It was dark by the time we arrived back at camp, our headlights casting dim pools of light across the arid savannah. Then we noticed an animal sprawled in the road, a leopard, staring, measuring (fun fact about leopards and them going after prey; if you make eye contact with them you’re pretty much guaranteed to be attacked). So, there we were, a truck full of 12 students staring at this leopard, interrupting its hunt. But he just glared at us quietly, and then stalked off, disappearing into the night. When we finally make it back to camp, we heard the growling of lions. There were four, marking their new territory and surrounding our campsite. We sat out on a field near camp and looked up at all the stars, just listened to the lion’s growl. It sounded as though they were right behind us. That night I fell asleep listening to lions under the Kalahari sky, one of the most beautiful things I think I’ve ever experienced.”
By Sarah Jane, student, traveller, and adventure enthusiast.