We decided to take advantage of the long weekend (December 11 was one of Burkina's independence day holidays) and trekked out with a couple of our friends to the "Mare aux Crocodiles à Bazoulé." We went early in the morning, which turned out to be a good idea because as we were leaving the place started to get really crowded. Upon arrival, you pay your admission and buy a chicken (to lure the crocodiles out of the lake). A guide took led us around the water, leading us to the different places where we could see crocodiles. Most of the tour is concentrated around a large body of water. Ther are also a few other pools where the crocs hang out. The guide told us that the crocodiles move between bodies of water by crossing the street and that local kids even bathe in the water with the animals! He said that no one has ever even been bitten by one of them! At one point we saw a group of sheep grazing by the water's side, with crocodiles nearby, taking no notice at all!
Our first stop was a crocodile who was all alone by a small pool. We all crouched over him and lifted up his tail. He was so docile that it almost seemed as though he was dead. We poked at him, at the encouragement of our guide, but he didn't even flinch. After this, we moved on to a spot where several crocodiles had already come out of the water. We each took turned lifting up one of the crocodile's tails, as the guides beat back with a stick the crocodiles that were trying to come up out of the water. I was so scared to go down, and then as I approached the beached crocodile, one came up out of the water suddenly with his mouth open! Much to the amusement of the crowd around the water, I ran away screaming. We saw the oldest crocodile in the park, and the guide said he was 70 years old. We saw little babies, but they were too fast for us to get pictures of. As we were leaving, we were able to go in and take pictures with the tortoises, the oldest of whom was 90 years old and didn't really look like he got around much anymore. The very last stop was a restaurant, with ridiculously overpriced food, which we decided to skip in lieu of eating on the cheap at home. It was a really fun trip (although the place was a bit touristy for my taste), and it's always fun to discover new corners of Burkina.