Sunday, February 24, 2008

Camping & Addo

I am exhausted after our second trip. Yesterday the WAC kids left bright and early for a nature reserve. We arrived around noon and cooked up some egg and cheese sandwiches for lunch and hung out until our guides took us for a walk through part of the nature reserve. We walked for awhile and our guides, whom we found out later we both younger than all of us, pointed out interesting things like aardvark burrows and termite mounds. We walked for awhile and they showed us a pond we could go swimming in. We walked back to the luxury campsite carrying the wood for our braii and the six of us that were going back to swim changed and we headed back to the pond. As we were walking it started raining, but we were all still excited for the swim. We all headed into the murky water. It was so nice after the hot day. Once we were in the water and we looked down at our limbs we realized that we were the color of Oompa Loompas. It was funny/disgusting. We swam for awhile and Bryce, Kevin and Kieran found overhangs for us to jump off of into the water. It was a lot of fun. We got a chance to test out the waterproof capability of my digital camera, producing several portraits of Bryce, Sonya and me in the orange water. We all walked back after our swim to take showers in the outdoor showers. Each tent, which were very, very nice, had an outdoor bathroom with it. They were nice bathrooms, not like an outhouse, it just looked like a regular bathroom with three. So when you were showering/using the bathroom you were just out in the open. We all ended up taking naps and meeting up a little later for our braii. The boys had a tough time getting the fire started, but in the end we had a great flame-grilled meal of steak, sausage, garlic bread, veggie burgers and salad, fruit and wine. It was delicious. Afterwards we all stayed up for a few hours, enjoyed some drinks and one another's company and talked for a few hours. It was an incredibly funny/interesting/unforgettable conversation. The boys are crazy.

We had to wake up at 7am to leave for Addo and we all crawled out of our tents and onto the bus for the trip to Addo National Park. The scenery along the drive was beautiful. There are just these rolling hills and mountains. Everything is so green and lush. It's gorgeous. At one point we saw a pack of baboons on the side of the road. That was really cool! There were baboons at the campsite; we could hear them, but we never saw any.

We arrived at the park for our Game Drive. Our driver was very fun and the drive was really exciting. Our first animal spotting was an elephant near the road. From there we saw many more elephants at the watering holes (Addo is known primarily as an elephant park, although they have the "big seven"). We also saw warthogs, kadoo, antelope, ostrich, zebra, buffalo, turtles and African birds. It was all very cool. The zebras were close to the road and the a turtle and kadoo crossed the street in front of us. This was something I've always wanted to do. It was amazing seeing the animals in their natural setting. The elephants were very entertaining. They were playful and they had babies with them, it was very cute. Up close a zebra's stripes look painted on. Warthogs are much cuter than they look. Unfortunately we didn't see any lions, but I'm not going home without seeing them. The surroundings at Addo were absolutely beautiful. The mountains and the billowing clouds. It was breathtaking. I plan to return before I go back to the States.

Be sure to check out my Flickr page (link to the right) to see all of the pictures!