"Character is the one thing we make in this world and take with us into the next."
- - Ezra Taft Benson
March 14, 2014
Adventures in South Africa
by Dian Thomas

It was eighteen years ago that I first ventured to Africa. I went on several safaris and fell love seeing the wild animals in their own environment. When you’re in Africa, it is the people who are in the cages of their vehicles, and the animals are running wild.

As I write this it is March 11, and I am on my way home from another incredible trip to Africa.

A great place to start is in Cape Town, one of the three capital cities of South Africa. (For you trivia buffs, the capitals are Cape Town, Bloemfontein, and Pretoria.)

Cape Town is near the tip of Africa. A quick trip to the top of Cable Mountain will give you a wonderful lookout over the city.

The view from Cable Mountain a flat mountain that overlooks Cape Town. In the far distance, Robbins Island is visible.

Just a few miles from Cape Town is Robbins Island, where Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison before being released in the early 1990s. In 1994, he became the President of South Africa. Under his great leadership he led this struggling country to a democratic government. With the death of Mandela this year, the world lost a great leader.

Penguin Park in Cape Town affords plenty of opportunities to interact with and photograph penguins in the wild.

After spending a day visiting the highlights of Cape Town we flew to Johannesburg, which is the largest city in South Africa. Johannesburg claims to be the lightning capital of the world, but we only saw blue skies while we were there.

Southern ground hornbill

It was then a day’s journey to Cougar Park to go on three days of safaris. On our way we visited a beautiful waterfall and enjoyed some of the beautiful flowers that bloom in the wild.

Lisbon Falls, the highest waterfall in Mpumalanga, South Africa.

These lilies grow wild in Africa.

One of the sights we saw on safari was a lioness that had been severely wounded in an encounter with a warthog. A warthog’s tusks can maim or even kill a predator that we would consider much more dangerous. These wounds may yet prove fatal to this lioness. Worse, she has three cubs who are not yet self-sufficient and who will die if she does.

Here I am, taking a picture of a lioness.

A severely wounded lioness.

Two of three lion cubs who are in jeopardy if their mother dies of warthog tusk wounds.

This beauty afforded us plenty of opportunity for photographs.

Our encounter with a large elephant was an interesting one. The elephant got on the road and would not leave the road and would not let us pass. We finally backed up for more than an hour. It was an adventure I will never forget.

This peaceful giraffe was so unafraid of us that he seemed to pose for our cameras as he peeked at us over the tops of the trees.

The sun sets on one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I can’t wait to go again and see what new adventures await me.

If you would like to travel with me on my next trip to Africa, contact

http://alanmckaytours.com/africa/august-2014-south-africa/ or write directly to me at contact@DianThomas.com.

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About Dian Thomas

Dian Thomas was blessed with the good fortune to be born near and raised in the remote, breathtaking Manti-La Sal National Forest in southeastern Utah, where her father was the forest ranger. She took the skills she learned in the outdoors and turned them into a New York Times best-selling book, Roughing It Easy. Her appearance on the NBC's "Tonight" show with Johnny Carson boosted her into the national media scene, where she became a regular on NBC's "Today" show for eight years and then ABC's "Home Show" for six years. After more than 25 years of media exposure and 19 books, she now shares her practical insights and wisdom with audiences who want to savor life.

A former Relief Society president, Dian is currently serving as a visiting teacher. Visit her website at www.DianThomas.com

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