Saturday, February 20, 2016

Amazing African Adventure Day 10

 Today was another early day b/c Dad wanted to be on the road by 6:00 am. We had a 5 hour drive ahead of us to get to the Madikwe (muh-deek-way) Game Reserve. Even though it was a long drive, we enjoyed getting to see some of the beautiful South African scenery.

 We stopped after a few hours for a potty break. We didn't realize that you had to pay 2 rand (about 13 cents) to use the restroom. Dad only had 4 rand, so Mom & Autumn got in the same turnstile so they could go through together. Lexie & I tried the same thing and we got stuck! We were laughing so hard that we were crying! Dad rushed over to the gas station and got some more rand and freed us from our prison. I'm kicking myself that we didn't get a picture, so this one of Lexie recreating it will just have to do! I'm sure this will be something we talking about for years to come. "Remember that one time we got stuck in the bathroom turnstile ..."

 Dad thought we had to be there by noon, but we really didn't need to be there until 2:00. I think we took the hotel staff by surprise when we showed up early. But, they met us at the entrance to the hotel w/ cold washcloths that had a touch of lavender oil on them (that's what Stefan is handing to Autumn).

We walked onto the property and were met w/ this sight! They have their own watering hole, and there was a giraffe standing there getting a drink! What a welcoming committee!

 We kept looking at each other in disbelief that we were so close to animals in the wild!

 They had us sign some waiver forms, and they made us these fancy welcoming drinks. We kept saying over and over the whole trip about how "POSH" everything was. We are NOT posh type people, so it took some getting used to.

 Our rooms weren't ready yet since we had gotten there so early. But, we didn't mind one bit. Gregg showed us "The Blind or Hide." It's a shelter where we can sit at eye level w/ the watering hole and watch the animals up close, but we are protected. It gave us a whole new up close perspective on the animals!

 Is this the Posh Life or what!?!?!

 It was funny to watch the humans watching the animals. We all had our binoculars and cameras out and ready to see and capture what was going on at a moment's notice.

While we were waiting for our rooms to be ready we saw over 33 elephants come to the watering hole! Gregg said that since they're in a drought the watering hole is getting a lot more action than usual. 

We were all blown away when we were escorted to our rooms. They are so fancy, and the best part is that we each have an A/C unit in our rooms. Dad had wanted to stay at the Eco Bush Camp where you boil your own water and stay in little cabins. We are soooooo glad that Mom put her foot down & said she wouldn't go unless we stayed somewhere that had A/C.

It was sooooooooo hot outside and there was nothing planned for a few hours, so we took the kids to the pool to swim. How crazy is it that we were able to be in the swimming pool and watch elephants, giraffe, zebra, and other animals get drinks at the watering hole!?!?

After the kids were done swimming, we went back to the blind to watch the animals. We saw 16 giraffe at the watering hole at one time! They are very skiddish, and kept looking around before they would kneel down to take a drink. That's b/c they are most vulnerable to prey when they are drinking.

At 3:30 we all met at the table to have a late lunch before heading out on our first safari ride at 4:00. We were all super hungry since the last meal we had eaten was breakfast before 6:00 am. They had the most delicious quiche and fresh fruit for us. The man sitting next to Autumn is Mark, and he had been there for about 5 days already. He told us not to go too crazy eating, b/c they would feed us a full fancy dinner when we got back.

 Carine (our safari driver) took us to what used to be a huge watering hole. As you can see, most of the water has dried up. But, we saw a lot of animals there. We all fell in love w/ this herd of elephants that had 2 babies and a few teenagers mixed in w/ the adults. It was funny to watch them interact and the teenagers would chase after any antelope or zebra that got too close.

 Dad was so happy when Carine stopped to show us a dung beetle. We asked him why he likes dung beetles so much and he said, "b/c they remind me of my kids!" LOL!

Along our drive these 2 big rhinos were stopped in the middle of the road. It was scary to realize that we are in an open vehicle and if they decided to charge us there is nothing we could do to protect ourselves. We were so close to them. However, Carine was telling us that to them we are just a big box against the landscape. She said as long as we didn't break the profile of the box by standing up or sticking our arms our or making a lot of noise we would be just fine!

 After driving around for about 2 hours, Carine stopped in an open space and let us get out and stretch our legs. They also provided us w/ some drinks and snacks ... POSH, I tell you! It was crazy to think that at any time a lion or rhino or hyena could come walking across our path! We stayed pretty close to the vehicle just in case. We saw so many different animals, and we all took so many pictures, but I don't want to post them and bore y'all to death.

 We got back from the drive at 7:30 ish b/c it gets dark around then. We all went back to our rooms for about 30 minutes to freshen up and get ready for dinner. Before dinner we got to sit at the bar and have a drink (like Shirley Temples, Sprite, orange juice, etc). They had a flag representing where their guests are from, along w/ the South African flag. It's little touches like this that made us feel so posh!

 This is the beautiful table setting for tonight, and each night it was different. The food was incredible! When we ate our 3:30 meal they had us pick between one of two entrees that we wanted for dinner. We all got an appetizer, entree, and dessert. The food was what you would find in a very upscale restaurant back in the States!

It was so neat to eat dinner and watch the animals come to the watering hole at night. The hotel has a webcam on the watering hole 24 hours a day, and the picture is refreshed every 30 seconds. So, when I'm back home in the States I can pull it up anytime and see what's going on at the watering hole! When we finally finished dinner at 9:30 we were all exhausted and ready for bed. Especially when we heard that we leave for the morning drives at 5:30 am! What an amazing first day of our African Safari!!!

No comments: