Wednesday, January 16, 2008

lions and giraffes and elephants, oh my!

after a SUPER deluxe breakfast that well complimented our super deluxe stay, we were off on our way to addo. Upon finding a pamphlet at the inn for a game park on our route (, we decided to make a pit stop. Why not, right? Briefly stopping in plettensburg bay so auntie anne could put her feet in the Indian ocean, we continued along the breathtaking route, with massive gorges and huge expanses of lush green forestry flanking our path along the N2 highway. So so beautiful.

After a brief detour, we arrived at the park with less than a minute to spare before the tour left. Jumping in the only two remaining spots on the jeep, off we went in search of aminals galore. ‘what do you want to see most?’ asked our guide. Without missing a beat I yelled ‘giraffes!’, obv.

Across the park we went, seeing and taking innumerable photos of impalas, buffalos, zebras, rhinos, and kudus. on passing the lions cage, I asked if we weren’t stopping. No, I was told. Because were going in. o-kay then. Its crazy how close one can get to the animals. Took a brazillion photos of course.

Next up was the search for the mama rhino and her one-week old baby which we found and oh my goodness was amazing. The smallest little rhino you have ever seen. And the mama was so protective. We only got a glimpse since as soon as she saw us she moved to cover her little’un from our prying eyes. THEN, it was time for the giraffes. Gosh I love giraffes. Such graceful, beautiful, calm creatures. They have three on their site, and one of the two females was in the process of giving birth. Apparently this can take a whole afternoon, but when we saw them, one of the hooves of the almost-born was sticking out. Imagine? Crazy crazy.

On the road again and en route to addo. After stopping for groceries and travelling on a VERY dubious road (thanks to my navigational short cut identifying prowess. Oops.), we rocked up to the park ( as the sun was going down. Where we are staying is just breathtaking. A chalet with a verandah that overlooks the park almost touches the fence that borders the area where the elephants come up to say hi. For serious. The sunset over the mountain that faces us was stunning. Our neighbors Cathy and Archie, an adorable elderly couple from knysna (who bought 40 years ago, before “it became overrun by wealthy foreigners and it turned too expensive for middle-class people like us”), have been coming to the park every year for the past 20 and gave us endless tips on how to properly enjoy the park, which we will surely do tomorrow. On their recommendation we went and checked out the watering hole after dark, at which we found a HUGE heard of elephants drinking, hanging out, and babies running amok.

Sometimes I still cant believe im here and everything that im experiencing is real. So so lucky am i. the hard work starts on Monday, so am soaking up as much of it as I can right now! Before we ate and after the sun had set we went over to the watering hole that is located close to the main entrance to camp. With his superstar binocs, archie had spotted a family of elephants having a drink. What we witnessed while there was best described by auntie anne when she called it a ballet. These massive animals, so graceful in their movements, a whole family of them of all sizes, drinking, playing, climbing on each other… and all of this was viewed by a solitary light, while the entire surrounding area was shrouded in darkness. Spectacular. Tomorrow we will drive into the park and see what we can find. Apparently its not just an elephant park. The big five are here, along with endless others and a whole mess of reptiles. Oh my.

Thoughts of the animals sleeping juuust to my right dance in my head while Brazilian girls sing at me that ‘je veux me reveillez avec toi’, and the moths flickering around the clock tell me that its time for bed.

A demain mes enfants.

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