On the 10th of December we went to the Sigean African wildlife reserve. They had tons of animals there. It wasn’t just a few well known animals that happened to live in the reserve, there were hundreds.
There were buffalo, impala, gazelles, ostriches, zebras, wildebeest, giraffes, asiatic black bears, seagulls (hundreds, they just fly to and from the sea whenever they wish to I guess). Lions, white rhinos (which are critically endangered animals, they have only one left in the wild, that is the whole of their wild population, one, and yet they had more at this sanctuary than in the wild, there were three at the reserve). There were koudou, long-horned cattle, peacocks, flamingos, storks, many different types of nesting birds, rheas, macaws, parrots, mountain goats, alligators, boa constrictors (in other words, a lot of snakes). Also, warthogs, elephants, camels, monkeys, turtles, antelope, and many other animals that we did not get around to seeing.
It was amazing, and they were hardly in enclosures. Sure, some of the animals were in fenced off areas, like the lions, but the fences always had openings in them, so that you could drive into the “enclosure” with the animals and see them up close. But you can’t do that without safety regulations, and there were heaps of them.
For the lions, you had to keep your car windows tight shut, and keep the doors closed, etc. But it was amazing. Utterly and truly amazing. And even if some of them were inside fenced~off~with~an~opening enclosures, the enclosures were giant, giving the animals space to move and run and do whatever they want freely. And the animals were treated in exactly the right way. They were not beaten or whipped, they were given the right sort of foods, and the right sized enclosures. There was nothing bad about the way they treated the animals, it was perfect.
There was a walking part and a car part. We did the car part first, which was a bit like a safari, you drive through the enclosures and see the animals. Then we did the walking part. There was a separate, larger set of tracks for the walking part, hosting animals like flamingos and ducks, and alligators and snakes (which were in proper enclosures), elephants and camels, and many other animals like such. After that we did another part-round of the driving circuit, and saw the things that we forgot to see. I must admit, I learnt some things I didn’t know before.
Warthog eating the ground
A zebra that walked right past our car
Parrots (including the macaws)
Asiatic black bear, sleeping in the middle of the road
More Asiatic black bears
Giraffes and ostriches
Wildebeest (including one that looks like its busting)
And buffalo (this one’s a baby one)
Basically, the reserve had every African animal you could think of, and their babies, plus a lot of other animals from other countries. I can’t say how amazing it was – it is impossible to possibly use words or text to explain how utterly marvelous it was to be in the middle of all these wild animals, and to count yourself as a part of it. The reserve made you think you were in the wild, in Africa, with countless numbers of wildlife around you. The feeling was incredible.
In the end, however, we had to come home. It’s a two-hour trip from Quillan to the reserve, and another two hours to go the other way. On the way there, none of us slept at all, but on the way back, Nicholas and I slept like logs. I was conked out half the way until Dad turned a sharp corner with the steering wheel and I went careening head first into my door – that woke me up.
Apart from that the journey was fine, I slept from where I woke up to Quillan, so basically, I was as happy as a lion cub when it’s mother has just decided to finally play with it, which is extraordinarily happy.