Tag Archives: Out of Africa

Happy World Rhino Day!


Today is World Rhino Day!


Photo I took of a rhinoceros at Out of Africa wildlife park in Camp Verde, Arizona



According to the International Rhino Foundation, each day, on average, three African rhinos are killed for their horns. The IRF is working to save all five rhino species. With World Rhino Day, the IRF hopes to teach people about rhinos, call attention to their plight, and show people how they can help save these massive critters.

Go to http://www.rhinos.org/stay-informed/world-rhino-day to learn more about World Rhino Day and how you can help save rhinos from extinction.

Did you know? The closest living rhino relatives are tapirs, horses and zebras.
Did you know? A group of rhinos is called a crash.
Did you know? Rhino pregnancies last 15 – 16 months!

Find out more things you may not know about rhinos at http://www.rhinos.org/25-things-you-didn-t-know-about-rhinos.

International Tiger Day


It’s International Tiger Day!


I took this photo of one of the tigers at Out of Africa Wildlife Park in Camp Verde, Arizona. Unfortunately, I can’t remember her name, but I do remember that one of her parents was an orange tiger and the other was a white tiger. That’s why she’s orange and white.

In 1913, there were 100,000 wild tigers. In 2014, tiger experts estimated there were only 3,000 tigers in the wild.

International Tiger Day is held annually on July 29 to give tigers worldwide attention. It is both an awareness day and a celebration. It was founded at the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit in 2010. The goal of Tiger Day is to promote the protection and expansion of wild tiger habitats and to gain support through awareness for tiger conservation.

Learn more about  International Tiger Day here: http://tigerday.org/.

Chalet, the white tiger from Out of Africa wildlife park.

I took this photo of Chalet, a white tiger from Out of Africa Wildlife Park.

It’s World Giraffe Day!


Hey Everybody! It’s World Giraffe Day!


I took this photo of Pilgrim, one of the giraffes at Out of Africa Wildlife Park in Camp Verde, Arizona.


World Giraffe Day was started by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF)  to celebrate the longest-necked animal on the longest day or night (depending on which hemisphere you live!) of the year – 21 June. It’s an annual event to raise awareness and shed light on the challenges giraffes face.

Did you know that there are less than 80,000 giraffes in the wild?

To learn more about World Giraffe Day and how you can help giraffes, go here: http://worldgiraffeday.squarespace.com/


I took this photo of Pilgrim waiting for snacks from the people in the safari tram.

(My calendar tells me that today is also Father’s Day and the first day of summer. Shout out to dads and summertime too!)

Machine Gun Rentals


As we were driving up to the entrance of Out of Africa, we saw a building to our right with a sign on it. This is what the sign looked like:


We did not investigate the building, but with a quick Google search, I found it is the Copper Star Indoor Shooting Range.

Here’s a map of the area:      Map of Copper Star Indoor Shooting Range

On the map you can see the Copper Star Indoor Shooting Range, Out of Africa Wildlife Park, and the Yavapai County Jail, all snuggled together in the same area. While I’m pretty sure the rented machine guns are only to be used within the shooting range, it’s disturbing to think of someone renting a machine gun and taking it into the wildlife park to shoot up some animals or using it in a jailbreak from the county jail.

But you know how it is in Arizona (or if you don’t know how it is in Arizona, I’ll tell you now): People gotta have their guns!

The Guns & Ammo Network website voted Arizona the #1 best state for gun owners in 2014. Here’s what the Guns & Ammo Network had to say about this honor:

It was a tight race for the top spot, but it came down to the intangibles. The Grand Canyon State takes the top spot again this year, and for good reason. It has the most well-established competitive shooting scene in the nation and a culture that embraces shooters and the shooting sports. Arizona is the home of Gunsite, the nation’s oldest and best known private shooting school; the 1,650-acre Ben Avery shooting facilty [sic]; as well as numerous firearm manufacturers including Ruger. Concealed and open carry are legal without a permit, and the state also issues permits to residents who travel outside the state. CCW permits from all other states are recognized. Arizona does not restrict legally possessed NFA items, magazines or MSRs.

To read the article about the best states for gun owners in 2014, go here:

To learn more about the Copper Star Indoor Shooting Range, go here: http://copperstarisr.com/.



Before we even got to Out of Africa, Nolagirl was talking about getting pie on the way home. She said there was a restaurant between Camp Verde and Phoenix that has really amazing pie. She said she isn’t too enthusiastic about the food at the restaurant, but she really likes the pie.

When we got off I-17 at exit 242, we saw this sign:


I think this was the first time I ever saw a picture of a slice of pie on a highway department sign.


This is the sign outside the Rock Springs Cafe.    

(Side note: While i was shooting the photo to the left, I heard a loud metal crunch. A mega big truck was pulling out of a parking space and didn’t turn wide enough. The truck crunched into the car next to it, and as it kept turning, got hooked on the car. The driver of the truck had to back up to unhook from the car. OUCH!)


Here’s what the front of the cafe looks like. Yippie for pie murals!

We went inside, and there was some confusion about where to sit. There’s a tiny (two or three tables) sitting area behind the pie cases, but since there were four of us, we were told we should see the hostess about sitting in the dining room. The hostess said there would be a ten minute wait for a table, so we spent our waiting time looking at pie.

There was apple pie and peach pie. There was lemon meringue pie and Tennessee lemon pie. There was pecan bourbon pie. There was coconut cream pie and chocolate cream pie and banana cream pie. There were other pies, too numerous for me to remember. (See a full list of Rock Springs Cafe’s pies here: http://www.rockspringscafe.com/pies.html.)

The hostess finally sat us in the bar. I don’t know why we had to wait ten minutes. The place was not crowded, and there were several empty tables in the dining area.

Our waiter was a young guy who looked just like a young guy working in a roadhouse should look. He had on dark jeans, a black t-shirt, and slicked back hair. I should have asked to take a photo of him, but I didn’t want him to think I was some flirting old lady. He took our pie orders, then brought water out to all of us.

Nolagirl ordered the Jack Daniels Pecan. That’s her favorite. Little Phoenix ordered banana cream. The slice was huge, and she ate it all down. Izzy and I both ordered slices of chocolate cream pie. Oh. My. Goodness. It was so good. The cream part was thick and fluffy. The chocolate part was thick and silky. I ate every bite slowly and savored each mouthful.

Here’s a photo of my slice of pie:


It tasted even better than it looks.

Out of Africa, Part 2


To read the first part of the story of my Out of Africa experience, so go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/06/02/out-of-africa/

After our tour, we walked around the wildlife preserve. There are shuttles that drop off and pick up people at designated stops throughout the wildlife preserve, but it was a nice day–not too hot–so we walked.

The first animal we saw in the wildlife preserve was a rhinoceros.      IMG_2198

It was just lying about. I don’t know if it was a male or a female. It didn’t move much while we were watching it.

Next we saw a female tiger. I don’t remember her name. What I do IMG_2201remember is that she is the offspring of a white tiger and an orange tiger, so she is both orange and white! Her enclosure was such that I was not able to get any photos of her without also getting a lot of chain-link fence in the photos too.

I wish it weren’t life threatening to cuddle with a tiger. They always look so soft and snuggly to me.

After the orange and white tiger, we saw a couple of wolves. Members of a VIP tour were stopped at the wolf enclosure. Dean and Prayeri Harrison, the founders of Out of Africa, were leading the tour. They were in the wolf enclosure, petting the wolves and talking to the people about how they pay attention to the cues the animals give them and don’t push their human agenda onto the animals. At one point, one of the wolves dropped to the ground, rolled onto its back and let Prayeri rub its belly. Actually, it was less like the wolf “let” Prayeri rub its belly, and more like the wolf demanded it! The wolves were very beautiful, but there were at least two dozen people standing outside the enclosure, and I didn’t try to push my way to the front to get photos.

The next big enclosure where I stopped housed a lioness (whose name I can’t remember) and Chalet, a female white tiger. The lioness and tiger grew up together and are best friends!

The lioness who is best friends with the white tiger.

The lioness who is best friends with a white tiger.

The white tiger who is best friends with a lioness.

The white tiger who is best friends with a lioness.

The lioness likes to take their toys and hide them. She is not good at sharing!

Chalet and the lioness live in an enclosure surrounded by chain-link fencing. There is a large wooden platform in the enclosure and an observation deck for humans on the outside of the enclosure. I was on the observation deck, as close as possible to the big cats. The VIP tour came along, and Dean Harrison asked Chalet if she wanted to get up on the platform. It seemed like this is a game they play so the tourists can get good photos. When Chalet jumped up on the platform, she was above the level of the fencing, and folks were able to get unobstructed photos of her. When she climbs on the platform, she knows that Dean will toss chunks of meat to her. The lioness stayed on the ground, where she ate the chunks of meat that Dean tossed specifically to her, as well as the chunks that ended up on the ground because Chalet didn’t catch them in the air.

Chalet, the white tiger.

Chalet, the white tiger.

While feeding Chalet and the lioness, Dean Harrison explained that Chalet and the lioness are not trained, they are well-educated. The animals at Out of Africa are not coerced into doing anything. If Chalet didn’t feel like jumping up on the platform and posing for photos, she wouldn’t do it.


Dean Harrison and Chipa, the female hyena.

Dean Harrison and Chipa, the female hyena.

Next we visited the area where the two spotted hyenas live. There is a female spotted hyena named Chipa and a male spotted hyena named Chitabe. Dean Harrison explained that like all female hyenas, Chipa is in charge. (Another staff member on a later tour told that crowd that a newborn female hyena has more status than any male hyena.) At first Chipa and Chitabe were not interested in the humans, and went deep into their enclosure, away from the tour. After a while, Chipa came back to investigate further, and Dean stooped down so she could sniff him. After quite a bit of sniffing, Chipa eventually pushed her side up against the fence so Dean could pet and scratch her. Dean also explained that the laugh that hyenas are so famous for is not a happy sound. He said if  a human were to hear a hyena laughing in the wild, the human would probably be in trouble! We also learned that spotted hyenas are faster learners than primates and can teach what they have learned to other spotted hyenas.

I just read a bit more about hyenas on Wikipedia, and they are fascinating. There are kind of like cats and kind of like dogs. There are four species of hyenas in descending order of size are Spotted hyena, brown hyena, striped hyena and aardwolf.

At Out of Africa, we did not learn that female spotted hyenas have a pseudo-penis. However, I will include here what Wikipedia has to say about it.

“Although the genitalia of the male spotted hyena is typical by mammalian standards, that of the female closely resembles that of the male; the clitoris is shaped and positioned like a penis, and is capable of erection. The female also possesses no external vagina (vaginal opening), as the labia are fused to form a pseudo-scrotum. The pseudo-penis is traversed to its tip by a central urogenital canal, through which the female urinates, copulates and gives birth.[48][49] The pseudo-penis can be distinguished from the males’ genitalia by its greater thickness and more rounded glans.[11][50] In both males and females, the base of the glans is covered with penile spines.[51][52][53]” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spotted_hyena)

If you want to learn even more about the clitoris of the spotted hyena, go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clitoris#Spotted_hyenas.


The hyena enclosure is next to a shuttle stop, restrooms, vending machines, and food service areas. Nolagirl and I sat at some picnic tables for a while why the girls messed around in a sandy area intended for kids to play in. When we reunited, the girls were hungry, so Nolagirl got in line with them to get food, and I walked around the area.

There was an enclosure where lemurs live along with animals I had never seen before. The photo below shows the animal in question.

IMG_2241Unfortunately, I can’t remember what this critter is called. The lemurs were all up in a tree house sort of space. They all had their backs to the one area where I could have gotten a pretty good photo of them, so I don’t have any photos to share.

I would have been excited to see marmosets in the Marmoset Gardens, but they weren’t on exhibit. Maybe they had gone on vacation.

While I was walking around, I saw a second food kiosk with a shorter line. That kiosk sold pizza. I didn’t think I was hungry until I saw other people eating pizza, then I wanted some too. I got one slice for $3.50, which is about what I expect to pay for a slice of pizza in a touristy area. It wasn’t great pizza, but it was tasty and filling.

After we all finished our lunch, we were just in time to head over to the Tiger Splash Arena.

The Tiger Splash show was intense! I didn’t even try to take photos during the show. I was mesmerized and wanted to experience the show without a camera between me and the action. During the show, while Dean Harrison gave commentary, several humans ran around, stimulating the hunting instincts of the two tigers. The tigers would use their claws and teeth on the toys (and pretty much destroyed the toys), but roughhoused with the people without hurting anyone. Harrison stressed that the tigers could have hurt the humans, but they chose not to because the tigers and humans care for each other and treat each other kindly and have fun playing together.

After the Tiger Splash show, we walked around more and looked at more animals. We saw several tigers and saw a lot of snakes and lizards in the Reptile Resort. One of the coolest snakes we saw was a HUGE amelanistic burmese python named Melanie.

IMG_2252     We spent a lot of time at the Prairie Dog Digs because prairie dogs are so dang cute. We even bought some food for them from a gumball machine type dispenser, but these little critters are totally well fed and were not even interested in the pellets we tossed to them. That was disappointing because we wanted them to eat the food we gave them.

IMG_2254We saw a two-toed sloth! I love sloths. They are my spirit animals. I couldn’t get any pictures of the sloth because it was in its sloth house, wedged between the wall of the house and an upright tree branch. It was so slothy that it had figured out how to sit without holding up its own body weight. It was totally adorable and wonderful, and I wish I did have a photo of it to share.

The last animals we saw as we were walking on the Serengeti Road were wildebeests (also known as gnus). IMG_2259

They were milling about together in a group, not doing very much.

The girls wanted to stop at the gift shop, so we did that before leaving. I found the gift shop rather overpriced. I would have bought some postcards, had they been the standard 5 for $1 or a quarter each. I might even have splurged on some 50 cent postcards, but they were $1 each, which just wasn’t in my budget.

IMG_2242This sign to the right was posted throughout the park. I thought it was a great reminder to visitors. I particularly like the part that says, “Like us, they [the animals in the park] are sensitive and have feelings.” May we all remember that in our daily dealings with all creatures.

I had a great time at Out of Africa and would recommend visiting the park, especially during winter when the temperatures are cool.

I took all of the photos in this post.