Desires of the heart... answered
It has been a desire of my heart since childhood go on safari and see the elephants, giraffe, lion, hippo and more in their natural habitat... Africa.
Tom, Robb, Stephen and I had gone to visit another ministry and help a now adult GSF “kid” move to where his new job was now taking him. We had a lovely time visiting with the other missionaries and seeing their ministry in a difficult and remote location. It is always encouraging to see how God is working out His plan for all people by using others.
God knows all the desires of our hearts, the smallest desire to the grandest. He answered one of mine on Monday August 19, 2013. I had the privilege of participating in a safari in Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda, East Africa. It is a huge national park covering 3,840 square kilometers, which equals approximately 1,482 square miles.
There were many amazing things about the day, not the least was that it started at 4 am! Tom, Robb, Stephen and I all gathered early to have coffee and get on the road by 4:30 am. Yes, that’s right, we were in the vehicle at 4:30 am (and that is a US 4:30 am not a typical Ugandan 4:30 am, which in reality could mean 5 am or 6 or 6:30...) When we arrived at the gate around 7:45 am, we paid the entry fee. That was the first amazing thing... it was only $35 USD, you can’t get in to Carowinds or Disney that cheap!
After passing through the gate Stephen, Tom and I proceeded to climb out on to the roof rack via the sun roof. We were greeted by herd of gazelle. Next we saw giraffe, water buffalo, crested cranes, a red & black bird called a bee killer and more. After about 1.5 hrs of driving (mind you somewhat slowly) one of the supports on the roof rack broke. So the guys had to get in the car or stand up through the sun roof, luckily I was still able to ride on the roof! Sweet!!
The animals would just watch us go by with our cameras clicking away, with this look on their face... like we were the tourist attraction not them. I wish I could tell you about this in person, typing out a description and posting some pictures just doesn’t do the experience justice...it was so cool! Thank you God!
We pick up a guide about 2 hrs in to the park, his name was Simon and he has been a guide for 12 years. It was great to learn from him, he was able to spot things we didn’t even see. And he was funny! We stopped next to a herd of water buffalo, and they were maybe 20 feet or so way from the vehicle.
Robb asked... Do they ever became aggressive and attack vehicles?
Simon.... Oh yes, they are very strong and move quickly. But you do not need to worry they are a happy family enjoying the mud!
First highlight of the day was when Simon took us off road and spotted a lioness and her 2 cubs with a fresh kill. Our vehicle was only about 10 feet from them!!!! Awesome!!! I was sitting in the sun roof with my legs dangling in the vehicle.
I asked Simon... Can I stand up on the roof to get a better vantage point....
Sharon... okay then, point taken, sit still!
I did move a little and the lioness opened one eye and raised her head a little, then laid back down.
Second highlight came right at the end as we were about to exit the park. We had been looking for elephant all day. We saw a large herd way off in the distance, but none close up. Well we round a corner and there they are not 15 feet from us! A herd of about 12, adults and young. They had just pushed over a tree and were all feeding off the leaves. There was one “baby” elephant that just kept posing for me.
I did ask Simon if I could stand up, again he said no... not a good idea, but they were so close I was able to take some great photos.
God often blesses us with treasures like this here on earth. Thank you God for answering a desire of my heart!
What is a desire of your heart...