Before heading to the Mokolodi Nature Reserve I was very excited. As an animal lover, it was really special to me to get the opportunity to see animals like Giraffes, Zebras and even Ostriches which I typically wouldn’t have the opportunity to. I also couldn’t help but feel so stereotypically touristy. I remember when I was in the fourth grade and when I would tell anyone at school that I was going to Ethiopia for the summer everyone’s first reaction would be “Oooh are you gonna go on a Safari?” It annoyed me so much because they’d make it seem like Africa’s only purpose for visiting would be for an exoctic animal site-seeing trip, whereas I was going to see my family. Nonetheless, I didn’t want those negative memories to take away from the rich opportunity I was being given.
Although I was nervous, I decided to sit on the edge seat of the truck because you only live once. We drove for a while before seeing our first animal and I was a little confused because I assumed they’d be everywhere. I also figured with the truck being so loud they’d be able to get away from us before we’d see them. The first animal we saw was a Giraffe. I was so taken aback by how large they were. I also felt it wasn’t a coincidence that the first animal we came across was a Giraffe because prior to leaving for the trip I saw a viral video of a group of people on a reserve drive getting chased by a Giraffe and I couldn’t help but wonder if that could happen to us too. Luckily, the Giraffe wasn’t in a chasing mood and we continued our drive. We later saw some more animals and getting to see them was just breathtaking. However, before we left the reserve, we ended up running into more Giraffes, and when I tell you those Giraffes gave us the most annoyed looks, I was a little scared. I really felt the Giraffes were not having it and we’d really be the next group to go viral getting chased. Yet, once again we moved along.
On our drive leaving the reserve I couldn’t help but think of how much of a nuisance these drives are for the animals. Image trying to live your peaceful life in what you think is the natural world but in reality you’re fenced in and these humans keep coming by in these huge loud trucks and stare and take pictures of you. I don’t know about you but that sounds irritating. I unfortunately didn’t ask about how the animals were treated on the reserve but hopefully they’re accounted and cared for.