Africa never gets old for me and despite having gone ten times, I am already working on my next visit. It is something my soul needs once every couple of years. Those of you who have been, know. On this trip, I had the great pleasure of taking my family as well as my sister's family to celebrate Christmas. We had a ball! I will never forget Christmas Eve in Madikwe. Our wonderful guides and trackers all appeared that morning wearing reindeer, elf, and Santa hates. The children young and old were delighted! We had signed up in advance to participate in a rhino notching, in an effort to give back to the continent who was giving so much to us. We met the head of conservation and the helicopter pilot who explained the procedure. The pilot flew off to find some untagged rhino and discovered two not too far away. Once spotted, we all jumped in the vehicles and rushed to where they could be safely darted and put briefly to sleep. We then helped as a tiny part of each rhino's ear was cut so that he/she could be identified and thus, if poached for their horn, conservation could report it. There are many creative ways various countries and national parks are trying to save their endangered rhino populations. Some are dyeing the horns pink, some are removing the horns safely, and some are tagging and keeping tabs on their rhino as well as tracking and poachers who invade their lands. It is a very sad situation and you need to see these majestic animals yourself before they are gone.
That night, our incredible lodge staff created a surprise for all of us. We had a Christmas movie night by the pool complete with popcorn, candy, and other theater type treats. We invited the staff to enjoy Christmas dinner with us the following evening and we sand some of our favorite carols for them, then they returned the favor by singing Silent Night in Africaans. It was a beautiful and festive way to the spend the holiday!
South Africa, December 2021