Wild Animals In Their Natural Habitat

Judging by the post title, this could go in a multitude of ways. However, I promise to keep it clean – and travel oriented.

In a recent discussion with a close friend, the topic of seeing wild animals in their natural habitat came up. Let’s face it – zoos and aquariums are nice; BUT, they are nothing like the real thing.

For my aunt, I know that if I asked her what animal she would want to see in its natural habitat, she would respond with “giraffe.” (This would be why I gave her a copy of every single giraffe photo I took while abroad and bought her a giraffe wooden item.)

When in South Africa, one girl I was with was really excited about seeing a lion. I mean, it was the highlight of her entire five and a half months in Africa. (check out her grin to the right)

But if you had asked me, over two and a half years ago, before I left for my first African trip – what animal I was most excited to see, my answer would have been quick – “a whale.”

Whales frequent the western cape of South Africa during half of the year. Somehow, I misread the travel book and thought I was going to be there during that time. Unfortunately, it was the opposite season I was there, the one when whales are seen infrequently. (Although of course the day before I went to visit Cape Cod, the southwestern most point of the continent, two whales had been spotted. Sigh…)

Don’t get me wrong – being able to pet baby lions was way cool! (I will probably never be able to do that again – and if so, nowhere near the $20 I paid for entrance to the park AND for petting the lions.) It was also pretty exciting to see penguins on their natural habitat of a beach, seeing a bird ride a rhino that walked right beside our vehicle, having stare-off contests with wildebeest that were near the road, and being able to feed a giraffe (their tongue’s feel like a cat’s) – among other wildlife viewings.

However, today, if you asked me what animal I want to see – preferably in its natural habitat – my answer would still be a whale. (Growing up in the midwest of the United States of America, there really aren’t many whales to see. I don’t even have a Seaworld near me!)

Perhaps this desire to see a whale will be a cause for an Alaskan cruise in the future or a return trip to South Africa – when the whales will be around! Regardless, I will add “seeing a whale” to my bucket list and hope that one day, I will be able to see more wild animals in their natural habitat.