Giraffe Encounters of a Glorious Kind

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My family quietly escaped into the African bush this past week.

No internet.

No television.

No radio.

No newspapers.

No need.

Our bodies, minds, and spirits were invited to rest and rejuvenate among the descending branches, twisting vines, canopy of trees, and brambly bush. The rolling hills of deciduous forest, swaying grass and igneous rock were deeply alluring to our souls.

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As our senses were treated to a banquet of color, sound, scent, texture, taste, and movement, our family entered a space of contentment and joy. Our rhythm of rest was in full play.

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No worries.

No responsibilities.

No expectations.

Well, I take that back. We did have expectations. One of the delightful elements of the bush is that we enter a space where wild African animals make their home. We never know what we will discover when we head out on a game drive or hiking trail. However, we do have hopes. We do have expectations. We do believe we will discover something along the pathways of our daily adventure-filled treks into the bush.

We stayed at Lindani, a privately run game reserve in the Waterberg of the Limpopo Province. We love staying at the Loft Lodge especially. Jake and Caleb cannot get enough of climbing the steep stairway into their lofty getaway.

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Tucked away in seclusion, the Loft makes us feel like we have the entire game reserve of Lindani to ourselves. For as we drove about or hiked the trails, we rarely saw another human being.

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But, animals?

You bet!

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Impala, zebra, eland, and wildebeest grazed in the grasslands.

Kudu preferred to hide among the trees.

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Warthogs rooted. A family of jackals darted across the plain with a young wildebeest in view. And giraffe crossed our paths – again and again and again!

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Never in our ten plus years of African living have we enjoyed such fun encounters with giraffe. We won’t say that these giraffe were tame or were easy to find. They certainly were not. We needed to hunt for them. And when we finally found them, we needed to respect them and keep a fair distance away. However, to hike a trail, turn a bend, and then discover a mama giraffe and her twins before they discovered us…what a priceless memory!  We will not forget that.

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One early evening before nightfall, Micah and I took a game drive together. We were pleased to observe more zebra, eland, impala, wildebeest and warthogs. Warthogs are very skittish. However, Micah was able to photograph a warthog family feeding off the trail who didn’t seem to mind us at all. A gift!

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Soon thereafter, Micah and I rounded another bend to find a towering giraffe standing tall and erect very near our roadway. He was feeding off a tree. And he made it clear that he was not interested in moving away from his leafy treat. So we watched him devour one leaf after another.

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When he was finished, he sauntered across the road and into the grass to let us pass. We could have made him move, I’m sure, as we inched our vehicle near him. However, this was the giraffe’s home – not ours. Our rendezvous with this beautiful and majestic beast was one of Micah’s and my trip highlights without a doubt.

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The weather was divine too! The temperatures rose as each day passed and our family – even me – enjoyed time in the water. The water was cool and refreshing. The boys splashed and played in the shallow waters. And we laughed. A lot.

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What a joyful and amazing time we shared together!

We have returned home now. Our 2017 school year and ministry year will begin soon. Micah begins his senior year in high school (more about that later). John is preparing for his first Zim ministry trip of the year. My ECD (early childhood development) trainings are already being scheduled. It’s time for me to begin facilitating our weekly PCS (prayer-care-share) time with our team. Micah returns to his work as a barista tomorrow at church. Jake and Caleb are back outside in our front garden walking and talking; happy to be home. Our responsibilities and cares are within view once again.

And we are ready.

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The African bush blessed us with rest and joy and peace and adventure. We wouldn’t begin 2017 any other way! How grateful we are!

Let me know how 2017 has begun for you – I hope you’re off to a fine adventure – especially my snow bound family and friends in Oregon!

4 thoughts on “Giraffe Encounters of a Glorious Kind

  1. The giraffe is my favorite animal. My students gift me with them. Thus,I have them all over the house including a 5 foot one that adorns our entry way. What a joy to see the real ones! Thanks for the blessing of God’s special Africa creatures today!! Prayers & love to you all!!

    1. Wow, Janet! That is great! You would have loved ‘hunting’ giraffes with us last week! We found 11 in total and every time it was a thrill! I wonder if your five foot giraffe is made of wood? There are many of them here and are hand-made here in southern Africa. They are a popular souvenir! Sending my love and joy of giraffes back to you! love, heather

  2. absolutely loved your sharing this with us Northwesterners, who get excited about our elk, deer etc. awesome photos & glad to see the boys enjoying your excursion into the wild. Thanks, Heather

    1. Thank you, Kathy! I’m sure you’d love to have your own African animal experience in the wild! It’s a blessing and full of wonder! Take care, heather

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