Natitingou Travel Blog› entry 1 of 2 › view all entries
So, the thing to do when you travel in Africa is go on a Safari. Everybody's going to ask you when you get back if you saw an elephant, so you might as well do your best to see one.
Our journey into the "wild side" of Africa began in Djougou, Benin. Not really a top ten tourist destination, I can tell you that. We drove up to Pendjari, travelling slowly on almost entirely dirt roads. We stopped at the last village before entering the park to pick up a local who could serve as a tour guide. The villages along the way were just about as rustic as you can imagine, all mud hut homes with peasant farmland around. Pendjari is a national park, but I think they allow hunting there in the winter-time. We, however, were there in the summer, and pretty much the only visitors staying at the small very open air "hotel".
During the day you take your car out from the hotel area to the open land. The hotel area is not surrounded by fences of any sort, so I suppose the wildlife is free to come and go as they please! Once out from the hotel, their are miles upon miles of dirt roads to get lost on and try to spot exotic animals. We saw all sorts of gazelles and deer like things, baboons, hippos, and little dog like creatures we couldn't identify. But what we really wanted to see was a lion... The people at the front of the car had seen the back end of one running. Myself and Laura, however, were in the back of the van. We started into our self-pity talk as we were beginning to head back to the hotel.
We headed back to the "hotel" soon after that. We wished we could stay more, but the two lions in their natural habitat were well worth the hours of bumpy dirt roads. And Laura and I will always know the others would have completely missed it had it not been for us.