Have you ever discovered a $5 note in the pocket of your pants when you are sorting the washing, or lifted the couch cushions to vaccuum and discovered things you had lost long ago or money. It’s a great feeling finding things you don’t expect to find or things you had forgotten you had. Well that has happenesd to me this week as I sorted through my computer files trying to delete the unnecessary ones and create more space on my poor overloaded computer. I discovered some family photos that I had taken at least two years ago on an outing to a place called Orana Park. Orana Park was the wild life park near to where we lived and occasionally we would take the children there to see the animals and to feed them. After all, we do originally come from South Africa – we couldn’t have our kids growing up saying that they didn’t have a clue what a giraffe was. This was wonderful because the kids got up close to the giraffes – they even got to feed them which caused much excitement, fear and occasionally hysteria. So we would head off to Orana park with our picnic lunch and see all the animals from lions, cheetah, rhino and even wild dog to kiwis and other native New Zealand creatures. The trout and salmon always fascinated us by their sheer size, and hubby always wished he could have an hour alone in the park at night with his fishing gear as they are a fisherman’s dream!! We enjoyed this park as it seemed more natural than a typical zoo and the animals had a more “natural” habitat.
Even though we enjoyed this, nothing could prepare our kids for the reality of wild life in its natural habitat. The children absolutely loved going to The Kruger National Park when we returned to South Africa for a visit in 2007. They loved “hunting” for animals to see who would spot something first. They loved taking numerous photographs – E12 and M14 were in competition as to who could get the most shots. They were amazed at how many animals there were and sitting in the middle of a herd of buffalo or zebra was exhilirating. So we are very grateful that they had this opportunity – this was something they will always remember. The great thing too was that it wasn’t only the big animals that impacted the children, but also those with character and the small creatures too. The children loved seeing snakes as we don’t have any here in New Zealand (for which I am grateful!!!) and even the bugs and ants seemed huge to them as we don’t have a great bug variety here either ( except for mosquitoes and flies!!).
M14 even got up close to nature when a hyena come out of the bush and growled at her – while she was out of the car at a supposedly safe viewpoint area. Well she could have broken the sprint record for the Olympics I reckon. Our favourite times were meeting up with Mom and Dad at the picnic spots and having our morning brunch each day, after an early rise to game spot. Some of my favourite times would be sitting in the evening listening to the animals in the distance while we cooked dinner on a coal fire known as a braai in South Africa. E12 loved naming all the trees with their Latin names – Grandpa T. is a tree fanatic and knows heaps of tree varieties, so we were continually practising recognising tree species too that he had taught us. All in all this was a trip that had far more benefits than a week at school would have had.
So I got to reminisce all over again after discovering these “lost” photos and to remember all the fun we had on these trips – memories are truly a wonderful thing when they are pleasant, sweet and add value to your life.