The Wild African experience
Last night was such a crazy stormy night that it felt like sleeping aboard the Black Pearl. The feeling, when the wind blows and the rain falls hard against the wooden facade, is absolutely amazing. You can really feel the unfamiliar coastal weather moving the huge lodge even a tiny little bit. Tremendous yet so peaceful at the same time. I just loved hearing and feeling the liveliness of nature that surrounds me. Then I fell asleep again and in the morning it was like it all was just a dream, as the sun showed its face again and not a single semblance of the last night’s storm.
After breakfast, we had a relaxing yoga session with Justin, the yoga instructor & afterwards we headed to the J-Bay Surfer’s Village, strolled through the factory and concept stores, had great coffee and a super delicious coconut bread freshly toasted with avocado & seeds at InFood. Sitting there simply enjoying the surfer lifestyle with the warm sun on my face and the great food that amused my taste buds. It was just so calming and a fabulous balm for the soul.
But the day didn’t stop there, because we had the biggest plan yet ahead of us: a SAFARI through the SCHOTIA SAFARIS Private Game Reserve, which neighbors the Addo Elephant Park, and was an easy 1 ½ hour highway drive away from Paradise Beach. At the reception we were kindly welcomed by the staff and introduced to our Ranger Sorita.
It was such a perfect day for a Safari. Clear blue sky, 30°C and a smooth breeze blowing in the air. Sorita was our personal ranger for the day, helped us climb in her newly washed and shining Defender safari Jeep and drove us through the main gate into the reserve. First we saw a few female impalas with their young. Right after that we found 3 male elephants, one was 8, one was about 20 and the oldest and biggest one was 38 years old. Sorita told us that elephants get their last teeth in their mid-forties and when this last set of teeth is battered the animals die of hunger and malnutrition, which was a very sad yet revealing fact to hear. Sadly, that’s nature and elephants do not have the ability to change the nature of their food to suite them better when they reach their old age. After sighting these huge grey beauties, we played hide and seek with a female giraffe, which thought she couldn’t be seen by us by her hiding behind these thin bushes and branches. A really cute animal though. We were also able to see female and male springbok (the national animal of South Africa), rhinos, waterbuck, warthog and buffaloes. After our tea break, we drove back to hopefully find some lions. This turned out to be the most rewarding sighting as two males were lying in the shadow of a tree, and not too far away a beautiful lioness. The Lions were so captivating, so special and glorious to spot them in the wild like this. We were now all very hungry, so Sorita drove us to the “lapa” (a big round shelter constructed of wood with thatch roof) where a lovely fire place awaited everyone to sit around and mingle with fellow safari goers and a bar where we enjoyed a few Savanna Dry’s and Castle Lagers before we got seated at our table to have a traditional African dinner midst the atmosphere of the African bush. Dinner was simple, yet exquisite and filling meal. My highlight, and from now on, favorite dessert is “milk tart” (super geil! as our manager would say). And that amazing South African dessert just topped the day off superbly.
So, after a last cup of coffee, Sorita drove us back to our car through a starry bright and moonlit night, yielding only a spotlight, she showed us all the animals in the dark as we passed them by. It was an absolutely unforgettable experience, to have been able to witness the wild of Africa with my own eyes, right in front of me.
What a day! Not even feeling the length of the trip back to the lodge as I fell asleep minutes after getting in the car. Now that I got some rest, I’ll be writing to you about my adventurous South African Day. Cheers!