|Morning coffee with giraffes|
It was a night drive, hurrah, the new guests, three ladies from the U.K. were happy to join us, so after an early dinner at 18.00 we set off, joined by our waitress and chef, we had space so why not? Just an example of the ‘family feel’ of the lodge we were in. Obviously the danger with night drives is the dark and the possibility you won’t see anything, but we were hopeful for something a bit different, though aware that there wouldn’t be photographs. It started slowly but then we came upon a spring hare, the first of many, this was new, he looked like a little kangaroo which was a real surprise, and what a cutie. Baby
|On our night drive with hand held searchlight|
I became aware we were in the area we’d been seeing the lionesses, but before we saw them we came
|Suddenly we came upon a lion wandering around in the dark. Scary!|
|Here's another photo in just the jeep headlights|
So a late night, we weren’t back till after 22.00 and early breakfast would still be at 05.30....
The Garden Route: day 21
Our last drive on our last proper day. Only two of the ladies made it, but this didn’t seem to surprise them and we were off. Giraffes the only request. Rhino aplenty seemed to be the thing of the morning. They are very protective of their rhino, they are the most poached animal so we only know they have more than 10 and less
|The lion meeting up with his two lionesses|
|It was a special moment seeing them greet one another|
|Rhinos on our final game drive|
A final glimpse of the cheetahs seemed to be on the cards, but sadly they eluded us, but we didn’t mind so much, we saw them moving around earlier. Giraffes then. It took a while, they seemed to be hiding, but then we found a ‘tower’ (the collective for a stationary group of giraffes, it’s a journey if they are moving) happily grazing away. “Do you mind if we stop here for coffee?” Oubiet asked. Silly question, it was the icing on the cake, coffee and muffins with giraffes.
|This one was having a good scratch on a handy cable|
We finally had to say goodbye and head back to the lodge for breakfast, we still had to shower, eat, finish packing and vacate before 11.00. We rounded a corner to come upon a beautifully laid table, linen tablecloth, the works, how lovely for someone, then realisation dawned, it was our waitress, our other guide Rogan, and our chef at the camp kitchen.
The perfect breakfast was for us! It was so lovely, mum and I were quite overcome and emotional, hugs for the ladies before they served us coffee, fresh fruit and pancakes, followed by the full cooked English, in a beautiful setting, the cherry on the icing on the cake.
|Coffee with giraffes. There's not many people who can say they've done that|
What a way to finish, it was a joy. I told Carly in the office on our return that I didn’t want to know if they did it for everyone, I wanted to believe we were special. We do know the Germans didn’t get it in their last morning!
We’d just finished packing the car when Bill and Rose arrived to say goodbye, we hadn’t seen them the previous evening before the night drive as we were early and apparently they were at the airport. “Hope the night drive was ok, they can be a bit boring “ they both said, Bill to Brian and Rose to me. We assured them that the lion reunion had been very special and we were very happy. Though not happy to be leaving....
|Look at this baby zebra! It was part of a dazzle of zebras (that's the name for a group of zebras)|
Leave we had to do though to Port Elizabeth (location: Isango Gate Boutique Hotel), our final destination to catch the first of three flights the following day. ‘Proper’ packing, getting everything into one bag before a walk by the sea and a wave at some dolphins. Dinner and bed.
The Garden Route: day 22 and 23
|Here's another one just landing|
All good things must come to an end, but three flights and 24 hours of travel is back to reality with a jolt. We were asked by a tourism lady in Johannesburg airport if we could answer a few questions. An hour later she probably regretted asking us, as we’d had to list what we’d done and seen in each province (and we had visited 7 of the 9), how many nights we’d spent, how much money we’d spent, how we’d travelled..... she didn’t get the standard answers from us! The flights were fine, we all got some but not enough sleep, the baggage all arrived untampered with, we ate curry and drank beer at lunchtime Emirates time, but that was about 09.00 U.K. time....
|We rounded a corner and there in the bush was a beautifully set picnic breakfast.'How nice for someone' we thought. As we stopped we realised it was for us - what a fantastic surprise!|
|Oubiet parked the truck and we sat down for a full breakfast|
Back in dear old Blighty, and there’s Dear old Abi, to collect us with a hug and deliver us home with a pint of milk. What a star.
We spent the weekend slightly vague, popping in on Sarah for a chat before roasting chicken and all the trimmings, a jigsaw and a Sunday afternoon film. It’s cold and wet, we’ve both got the dentist and he’s got an appointment at the skin clinic for a check up tomorrow . Africa already seems so far away!
|Here's our ladies preparing our two course cooked breakfast with tea, coffee and juice|