Just Monkeying Around

When I found out we were moving to Africa one of my first thoughts was of the amazing wildlife that can be found here. I pictured close-ups with giraffes, zebras, and lions. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to go on a safari yet and there are not many animals left in our country due to the recently ended civil war.

That being said, we have had a few animal encounters that I want to share.
A few weekends ago, we were lucky enough to meet Lulu. She's a 3 year old chimpanzee. Her owners own a hotel by the beach, and Lulu's home is part of their home.
It was my first time being this close to a chimp and I have to say it was pretty amazing. Her face, eyes, and hands were so human-like- it was a bit surreal.
She loved shaking our hands and didn't want to let go.

She was also being a bit precocious and kept trying to grab my camera when I tried to snap her picture. When she wasn't grabbing for the camera, she was hiding behind the bamboo.

Her owner told us that she loves hugs and kisses and she enjoys climbing. Her cage is a giant bamboo structure with a tunnel that connects the small room in the pictures to a giant room where she can climb and play all day.

I have to admit- I was a little bit nervous when she grabbed my hand, but Lulu was as sweet as can be. I can't wait to visit her again and maybe this time I'll be brave enough to give her a hug.

We also have an abundance of lizards here. We don't mind them because they eat all of the nasty mosquitos. Most of them are typical, plain-colored lizards that you would see anywhere. But a few days ago, we were lucky enough to spot this guy in our yard. Isn't he gorgeous?

Bugs are also plentiful here, despite the numerous lizards. I was terrified that there would be giant spiders here, but so far we have only had two big spiders in the house and they weren't as scary as I thought they'd be. (Although I will admit I stood on a kitchen chair while Jesse took care of them!) We've also seen some pretty cool looking bugs.

It may not be lions, and tigers, and bears, but I'm pretty excited about the creatures that we have seen. Of course, I'm still planning that safari I've been dreaming of. Hopefully then I'll have some really awesome pictures to share.
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