Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Amazing African Adventure Day 13

We are soooooo sad that this is our last safari drive. The drive started out w/ a close encounter w/ a rhino. The look on Mom's face says it all. Carine stopped the jeep when the rhino was still a ways off into the brush. But, we sat there for a long time and were really quiet. He got SUPER CLOSE to the jeep, and I'm glad it wasn't on my side b/c I would have been freaking out. It's insane to see these animals so close up and have nothing between you and them.

Even though we really miss Sir Mark, it was kind of nice to have the jeep and Carine all to ourselves. This was the first time I rode in the front row. It was good, but I prefer the back better b/c it's more fun.

I tried out the "panoramic" feature on my phone. Pretty cool!

 For our morning break Carine drove us up to the top of a very tall hill. This picture doesn't do it justice, b/c the view was spectacular! What a way to celebrate our last safari morning break!

 While we did see a few big animals this morning (like the rhino), the highlights of the drive were all the birds. Dad has turned into a "Bird Nerd" on this trip and we would often find him sitting and watching the waterhole w/ his binoculars, even when there were no big animals there. He was watching all the different birds. 

It really is amazing to see so many COLORFUL birds. This one is a Bee-eater.

 Our favorite, however, is the Lilac Breasted Roller. We sat and watched several of them for a long time. Dad was able to get this INCREDIBLE shot of one as it came back to land on this branch. We were fascinated at all the many colors it has. It looks different from every angle.

 It was so bittersweet to come back to the hotel and have Gregg there waiting for us w/ cold washcloths and shot glasses of orange juice for the LAST TIME! We have really enjoyed being spoiled and pampered.

We will also miss Lawra and the incredible breakfast spreads each morning. If I want a fancy omelette for breakfast tomorrow, I'm going to have to fix it myself. No more being waited on hand and foot.

Autumn wanted to say goodbye to Bertha, so Lawra took her back to the kitchen. It was so stinkin' hot in there that it felt like we were in an oven. Bertha is THE BEST!

This was the beautiful water feature right outside our bedroom (you can see our bed through the glass doors). It really has been like living in a tropical paradise for the past few days. We all got showered, packed up our things, said our sad goodbyes, and were on the road back to Joburg by 11:00.

 I thought I would fall asleep, but I was too interested in looking out the window. I'm glad I had my camera ready to snap this picture of these 2 women carrying big heavy containers of water on their heads. Again, we keep wondering where they came from and where they are going since we were out in the middle of nowhere!

 It's a 5 hour drive home, so we stopped for a late lunch at McDonald's and to fill up the van w/ gas. Not quite the fancy meals we would have at Madikwe, but we're still thankful for the food.

 Instead of going straight home, Dad made a detour to take us to Cambanos Curio Centre. They have a lot of the same things as the African Market, but there are no shop vendors here to haggle you. Just employees who help you if you need assistance. A lot of the missionaries shop here, so the owners always give missionaries a discount.

 It was nice to look around w/out feeling any pressure to buy something. Plus, the price was the price! We all got a few final souvenirs to take home. I LOVED these huge colored feather pieces. Too bad I couldn't fit them in my suitcase and take them home to hang on my wall.

 I had to snap a few pics of the combies, b/c they're such a common sight here. As you can see, they make up their own rules and turn the shoulder of the road into their own lane. This one is PACKED with people, and there's no A/C. We kept wondering how much it costs to ride one, but none of us were brave enough to try it.
 We got back to the apartments around 5:00. We got busy doing laundry so we could pack up and go home tomorrow. Or, in Autumn's case she just laid in the chair by the window to relax and cool off. LOL!

 We helped Dad to sort through the suitcases of clothes we had brought to give away to orphanages or people at church. We made piles of sizes and then put them in trash bags and labeled them.

Mom was worried about what to make for dinner b/c she was DONE for the day and didn't have anything planned. But, in typical Mom style she made a FABULOUS meal out of nothing. We had grilled onions, ostrich steaks, tater tots, and pink sauce. I enjoyed drinking my "Iron Brew" soda w/ my dinner. We tried a bunch of different flavored sodas here and that one is my favorite.

After dinner we kept doing laundry, packing, and working on the puzzle. I can't believe this is our last night in South Africa! It's gone by way too fast.

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