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Thirteen Favorite Animal Encounters

Thursday Thirteen

Regular visitors to my blog will know how much I enjoy travel. When the travel is combined with seeing animals in their natural habitat, I’m there because there is something very special about viewing animals on their home turf.

Here are some of my favorite animal encounters:

Thirteen Favorite and Memorable Animal Encounters

1. Camel – I like camels, and I’ve met quite a few during my travels through the Middle East and Asia, but my favorite meeting was in Egypt. We met up with a herd of camels consisting of mothers and juveniles. Once we mounted our camels, we ambled along with the rest of the herd. It was fun and relaxing. This juvenile camel was very curious and wanted to investigate me at close quarters.

Shell's Camel, Egypt 

2. Giraffe – During a visit to Kenya we visited a giraffe reserve, not far from Nairobi. There you can feed the giraffes and observe them at close quarters. I’ll never forget their abrasive tongues and the feel of giraffe slobber. It was a fun visit!

Giraffe_nairobi

3. Whale – I’ve been whale watching in lots of different locations including Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Alaska and Maine. These huge creatures are majestic, and it’s always thrilling to see them in person. This photo of a sperm whale was taken near Kaikoura in New Zealand.

Sperm Whale

4. Baboon – We stayed in cabins in Uganda, and they had a small shop where they sold chocolate including Mars bars. The local kids selling slingshots at the gate should have clued us in. Those baboons went around in gangs, and the animals actually mugged some of the people in our group and stole their Mars bars.

5. Dolphin – I went for a day trip from Auckland to dolphin watch. Once we found the dolphins we spent ages watching them play and surf the bow water.

6. Alpaca – These guys just have so much character. I’d love to own one of these. I guess I need to get some land first.

ChattyAlpaca

7. Moose – Hubby and I came across a queue of cars when we were driving through the Grand Teton area. They had stopped to check out this bull moose that was calmly grazing while tourists clicked photos.

GrandTeton_moose

8. Rhino – When we visited Chitwan National Park in Nepal, we were privileged to see this rhino and baby. It was worth crawling out of our beds early in the morning.

Rhino & baby, Chitwan National Park

9. Snake – We don’t have snakes in New Zealand so any encounter is memorable. Hubby was playing a round of golf on Lindeman Island, which is in the Whitsunday group in Australia. We’d been told there were no snakes on the island. Someone should have told the snake I almost stood on while striding down the fairway! I started looking where I was walking after that.

10. Takahe – It was thought the takahe, one of New Zealand’s native flightless birds was extinct but they were rediscovered in 1945. They’re still very endangered, and are now mostly on offshore islands, which are pest free.

Takahe

11. Elephants – we’ve seen elephants in Africa and also in Asia. They’re such cool creatures. This photo of the baby elephant was taken in Kenya.

Baby elephant, kenya

12. Panda – We visited China two years ago. I wanted  to walk on the Great Wall, see the terracotta soldiers and visit the panda. Not only did I see the panda, I got to hold one. The money raised from tourists goes back into the care and research of pandas. It was worth every dollar.

Panda Shelley

13. Gorilla – My number one animal encounter was with gorillas in Rwanda. I cannot begin to express how magical this was but can still feel the awe and excitement as I watched these animals in the wild. I have an essay about our gorilla encounter on my website.

Gorilla, Rwanda

Do you have a memorable animal encounter to share?

Elephant Ride in Thailand

Elephant Ride, Phuket

Hubby and I during an elephant ride in Phuket, Thailand.

Travels Through Africa

Today I’m taking a trip down memory lane and posting several photos from my African trip.

sw baby elephant, Kenya

We spent seven months in Africa,  starting our journey in Harare, Zimbabwe. From there we travelled down to Botswana before returning north again. We visited twenty-five countries including Tanzania, Zanzibar, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Zaire, Cameroon, Nigeria, Algeria, Morocco then on to Spain with a quick flit through Europe on the way back to London.

Our trip was an overland one with a company called Dragoman. We mainly camped with the odd hotel thrown into the mix. After suffering through many cold washes and more than a few cold showers, I grew an appreciation for hot water and specifically hot and cold running water.

I’d always wanted to visit Africa, the animals and the wilderness being the main attraction. I was certainly spoiled for choice when it came to seeing animals.

giraffe

While in Nairobi, we visited a giraffe sanctuary. I love giraffes, but their tongues were a real surprise. They’re so long! We had lots of fun feeding them a few snacks from the feeding platform.

sw Batering in Zim

Part of the overseas experience is interacting with the locals. It’s always interesting visiting the local markets and shopping for meals. This photo was taken in Zimbabwe, and I have fond memories of the avocadoes. They were delicious!

sw Ballooning in the Serengeti

Hot air ballooning in Kenya. As is traditional with hot air ballooning, we were up at the crack of dawn to get ready for our ride. Notice the pith helmet? We finished our flight with a champagne breakfast. So civilized!

sw elephant & buffalo, Kenya sw gazzelles, Kenya

sw lion Kenya sw hyena, Kenya 1

The above photos were all taken in Kenya. Top left: water buffalo and an elephant “butt” shot. Top right: Thomson Gazelle. Bottom left: Lion enjoying the sun. Bottom right: Hyena and pup.

 

Given the choice, which African country would you most like to visit? Which animal would you like to see?

Elephant: A Great Way to Travel

Camera Critters

Elephant

My photo this week was taken in Phuket, Thailand.

To see more animal photos visit Camera Critters

Birds and Four-legged Beasts

Camera Critters

This week I have photos of two different critters taken during my recent holiday in Phuket.

Kingfisher, Phuket

I think this is a type of Kingfisher. He sat very still while we kayaked around him and took lots of photos.

Photobucket

We hired a tuk-tuk to go the a restaurant and watch the sunset. This was one of the elephants we saw on the way there. He’s bedded down for the night with his dinner at his feet.

To visit other Camera Critters go here.

Rhino, Chitwan National Park

Camera Critters

Photobucket

This week’s photo for Camera Critters is a rhino mother and baby, taken in Chitwan National Park, Nepal. We rode elephants into the park and were able to get quite close to the one-horned rhinoceros, which is an endangered species. I badly wanted to see a tiger, but we weren’t lucky enough on this trip. We did see a sloth bear, which was very exciting and seeing the rhinos was amazing. They’re a bit weird in appearance and look as if they’re wearing a suit of armor.