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27 July to 15 August

This blog post is likely one of the longest ones we will ever right. I know that I am going to forget something. This was the trip of a lifetime. It was worth every second and every penny.

27 to 28 July

We were up early (partially the nerves of anticipation getting to me) to finish some last second packing and getting the house closed up for the next 3 weeks.

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We then headed out just before 11am for our 2:15pm flight to Heathrow.

It was significantly cheaper to fly through Heathrow then to go direct from Paris. We had about 4 and a half hour layover at Heathrow though. We tried to get into the Aspire Lounge, but ended up at a restaurant instead. It worked out perfectly because we had power and WiFi (and beer). We also stopped to buy a watch a duty free for me. I needed something more simple to wear than my good work watch. Luckily we found a Swatch duty free store.

Our flight finally left around 8pm to Johannesburg. A little over 11 hours later we were there! And Shakira’s “This is Africa” started playing in my head!

We spent about 45 mins clearing customs and getting our bags. The one thing that was interesting about customs was that they used a heat sensor on each person. I think this is to see if you are running a fever. Luckily, we were both in good health.

We met our driver and waited for entire party before leaving for hotel around 09:30 local. But first Jer purchased a local SIM card. This way we could have (very limited WiFi) just in case we might need it while we were on the road.

We got settled into our hotel, the Rivonia Road Lodge, with welcome packages and information on available tours for the day.

But first we walked up to the shopping center a few blocks away. We realized that Jer forgot to pack a bathing suit. So we found a Woolworths to see if we could buy one. Keep in mind August is winter in South Africa. So the sales people were looking at us like we were crazy. Luckily, they had some in the back that worked for us. Before heading back to the hotel with Jer’s new swim suit, we stopped and had lunch at News Cafe. Nothing too crazy.

We then walked back to hotel and ready for Soweto tour.

Soweto is the former district that was segregated. It was also the location of many violent apartheid riots in the 70’s. We spent a few hours with our tour guide, Qobo who lives in the area. He showed us the good, bad and the ugly. We also went to the Herman Pieterson Museum and passed by the home built for Nelson Mandela after he was released from prison. It was an overall eye opening experience. In the bad and ugly section, the power was ‘stolen’ from a near by transformer, there were water pumps for communities and chemical toilets. Also, some of the homes have asbestos roofs.

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We were then back to hotel and tried to ordered dinner through app which did not work all that well. We eventually ate some light italian food before passing out  before 10pm (this will be a theme for the next 3 weeks).

29 July

This morning we were up bright and early to meet our guides. We traveled with Sunway Safaris. Our tour was a small group tour (12 people max but we were 11) and was a contribution tour. What this means is as a group we will make breakfast, lunch and dinner most days together. Each day 4 people on the tour are designated as helpers to prep and clean up the food. We also met our guides Clinton and Victor. And lastly we met the Red Badger/Ladybug/Big Red. She was our traveling companion for our entire trip.

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We left the hotel just after 7am for a long day of driving. Our first stop was at Pilgrim’s Rest for lunch. But first we walked through town and stopped to get a hard cider.

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Then we made our way to Bourke’s Luck Potholes, which is a nature area where water flows and collects in what look like potholes. We walked around enjoying the scenery. The water was safe to go in, but we decided against it today. However, we watched a few people straight up fall in and be soaked from the top of their head to the bottom of their toes. We did the best to not laugh….

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We then went to God’s Window. This is up a on plateau that overlooks the lowlands below it. The views were stunning.

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When we came back to Big Red we were met by some fun little monkeys.

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We then arrived at our lodge, Mogodi, for the night at around 6pm where we had dinner at the restaurant at the hotel. I had a literal quarter chicken. Jer got Bobotie, which is a South African Meat Pie. Both were very tasty. Keep in mind that the sun sets around 6:30pm right now and we always needed to be at our lodging destination for the night before it was dark. To keep warm during dinner we had a beautiful fire built for us.

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The stars were also out in plenty on a beautiful and clear evening so we tried to mess around with our new camera after dinner while a few of us sat outside with some beers. I promise this will get better with more practice.

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30 July

This morning we had a simple breakfast (which we were on clean up duty) and we were on the road before 7am.

Today we were off to Kruger!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But first, we needed to stop in Hazyview to stock up on food for the next 2 days to feed 13 people (and we also need snacks and water). We were told the water in South Africa is safe BUT is different than what we are used to drinking. That difference can be from what minerals are in the soil to the types of pipes the water is coming from. It is better for people not from South Africa to drink bottled water. So we would buy a 2.5 gallon jug every 2 days and pour it into our reusable bottles.

And then just like that, we were at Kruger before noon!

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After getting checked in at the station and checking the board for animals sightings we made our way into the park. These posted boards were very cool because you could see where people had seen this different animals that day and the day before and hope you could follow and find them too.

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What is cool about Big Red, is that she has multiple windows. The smaller ones were to help air circulate and not get wind blown while driving and then larger ones that can be opened wide to let the air in and to view the animals. Everyone opened up their windows and we headed off on our first game drive of the trip!

The first animal we saw was an Impala, which is very fitting. They are considered the McDonald’s of South Africa as they are everywhere to eat and the lines on their butt make a letter M.

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The highlights of what animals we saw today were 4 of the 5 ‘Big 5’, elephant, water buffalo, rhino and leopard. We also saw giraffes, hippos and hyenas.

We actually watched the leopard hunt! Even though she missed the impala it was amazing to watch. It was right out of National Geographic! She attacks around 1:20 mark of the video.

We stopped and had lunch at the Pit Stop in the park which was pretty simple. Here are a few photos from today.

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We then came back to camp by 6pm. We were staying at Pretoriuskop. Our room for the evening was a traditional thatched roof hut. The walls were circular so that if snakes came in they would follow the walls and come back to the door and leave. It was also believed that bad spirits would do the same thing.

Before bed, we did our first batch of bathroom sink laundry and hoped it would dry before we left Kruger in 2 days.

Animal Count: 24

31 July

Today we were at Kruger all day! We were up at 06:15 and off by 07:15.

One of the first things we saw this morning were 2 cheetah brothers walking down the road like it was no big deal. They were maybe 6 feet from us! Since it had rained overnight, we were told that felines do not like it when their paws are wet. Therefore, they will use the roads to get around the parks to stay off the wet grass.

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We also stopped at a watering hole. There were multiple Water Buck and impala stopping by to get a drink. We also saw over 50 plus Cape Buffalo’s just chilling, eating grass.

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We stopped to have lunch, which was more like brunch, with bacon, eggs and veggies.

We then saw multiple herds of animals, all with juveniles (older than 1 year). This included giraffes, zebras and impalas. The little ones are so cute!

We continued on our game drive and got back to camp mid afternoon. We dropped off one the guides so he could start dinner and then headed back out for a late afternoon game drive.

This was probably one of the best moments we had. Jer was up front helping to navigate, because of being one guide down, when we came to the fork in the road and Jer decided to go left. No more than 2 minutes later, someone yelled STOP!

There was a male lion about 20 feet away from us. We watched him for a bit because he was yawning. Our guide told us, when lions yawn it means they are getting ready to wake up for the night. We continued to watch and 1 male lion turned into 2! The other was laying down in the tall grass and we couldn’t see him. Both the lions started to wake up. They wanted to play, scratch, pee and walk. It was like watching two massive house cats wake up from a long nap. We stayed with them as they walked and played in the bushes (including getting flowers in their manes’) before heading off to hunt for the night. I will never forget this.

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We then rushed back to camp to make it before the gates closed at 6pm. Tonight we had Braai (South African BBQ) for dinner. We were all high on adrenaline from completing the Big 5 already with many more game drives to come!

After our crazy day, we had already signed up to do a night drive. It was super cold and rainy but when in Africa! Since it is pitch black we used 2 massive spot lights and had to try to look for eyes. We did not see many animals but we did see impalas, giraffes, rabbits, a hyena and a genet.

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We were back and in bed before 10pm. In the morning we head for Swaziland.

New Animal Count: 22

1 August

Today, we were up at 05:15! We had Big Red all packed and ready to leave by 06:30. We did one last game drive through the park in the morning on our way out.

One of the first things we saw was a very very pregnant giraffe, she looked so uncomfortable. She was all alone which shocked me but we were told that is normal.

We then continued to drive and right along the road there was a hyena den, with baby hyenas! They were all playing as the ‘babysitters’ kept an eye on them while the alpha hyenas were out hunting.

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Then we came across a big grouping of elephants, over 20! They were everywhere you turned!

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Lastly, we turned down a dirt road as our guide said he had a surprise for us. We first passed a rhino that looked hurt.

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And then we reached what he was talking about. There was 1 male lion watching over their recent kill of a cape buffalo. There were also over 100 vultures waiting for the lions to leave to feast on the remains. Yes I said lions, there were supposedly 3 female lions just out of sight.

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On our way to the gate, we passed a large herd of buffalos with juveniles. I wonder if this group had just lost one to the lions.

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And just like that, we were off to Swaziland!

But first, we had to stop at a grocery store to restock for food. The areas we were driving through were very impoverished. And there were very long lines at ATMs. Since it was the first of the month, the government payments were made to people who were on welfare. And when I say long lines, like over 200 people in line. As we continued to drive we saw roaming dogs, a donkey, cattle, goats and chickens everywhere.

We reached Swaziland at the Jeppes Reef border crossing just after 11am. Yes 11am. We even made it through customs in under 45 minutes!

Swaziland is a true monarchy. After British rule, the people of Swaziland voted to bring back the king.

We stopped at Piggs Peak for a quick lunch of sandwiches and some decent views as well.

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We then headed to Malolotja Nature Reserve where we took a nice leisurely 1.5 hour hike. This was super nice after sitting for 3 days in big red. We saw a few more animals including rock dassies, which look like big hamsters but are the closest relative to the elephant because they have 3 toes.

We came to a high point where some of the group (including my crazy husband) decided to climb on top of rocks for better views and pictures. Crazies.

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We then were at our lodge, Hawane Resort, by 5pm. We all had our own bungalow that reminded me of the Smurf homes. The only downside was the super small electric heater. Thank god there were heavy blankets.

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New Animal Count: 11

2 August

This morning we were up and gone just before 8am. As we drove for the border, we were passed by the King’s motorcade. Pretty cool I must say. We then stopped at a local craft market before going to the grocery store to stock up.

We crossed at the Golela border crossing by noon again without any issues.

Just like that we were back in South Africa. As we continued to drive we stopped to get some game jerky, think deer jerky. But we got Kudo and Nyala. It wasn’t that bad.

We then headed to Mkuze Park. At the park we went out to a blind at a watering hole. We were able to see birds, turtles and nyala. We then kept driving and found 3 male lions! They were all just lounging around. The guide said they had a big kill yesterday and lions are lazy after they are full. At this point we have now seen 6 males lions and 0 female lions!

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We then made our way to the Sunway Safaris Lodge in Zululand by 6:30pm. It was our favorite place we stayed at. We were glamping and we loved it. We had a wonderful meal including a malva pudding.

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When we went to go to bed you could hear the animals all around us. You could hear the hippos grunt and the hyenas laugh (and god only knows what else).

New Animal Count: 2

3 August

This morning we were up and out by 6:30am. We went started the day at Hluhluwe and iMfolozi game park.

The highlights of the park were having an elephant bigger than Big Red walk just pass us, within 3 feet. It was just stunning. Also, we had lunch along a lake in the park where there we animals all around. Nyala, kudo, elephants, etc.

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We were supposed to be picked up by a local Zulu guide at 1:30pm but he was a bit late. Once he finally arrived, Mdu took us up to a primary school in a small village. Unfortunately, since we were late the kids were leaving to go home. They were going on the ‘school bus’ which was a pick up truck with a cab on it with 30 kids stuffed in the back. Insane. We dropped off the supplies for the kids and then walked over to a multi-generational family home to learn more about the culture.

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We were back to lodge by 5pm. After quickly dropping a few things off at the tents, we met back up to take a walk down to the river. We saw all sorts of bugs that super creeped me out. At the river, it was full of hippos including a juvenile who kept pushing off it’s parents to come above water. So freaking cute. There were also hundreds of birds nesting in the trees, and just before the trees were crocodiles just waiting for eggs to drop in the water. It’s the circle of life.

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We passed through a grove of fever trees. They have a green dusting on them. The early settlers figured they were getting sick from the trees (when it was actually malaria).

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After enjoying a beautiful sunset, we had another wonderful dinner at the lodge. Then the guys thought it was a great idea to get the black light out to go look for scorpions. And they found a ton. The black light works for the scorpions to glow because of their exoskeleton. This is not my cup of tea. The guide went onto tell us that not only to scorpions like dry trees but also thatched roofs…like the ones in Kruger. Talk about creepy crawlies. To cap off another wonderful day we had a nice fire in the pit with some beers. This is the life.

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However, before dinner I found a nice tick on my leg, I think from lunch. It had already embedded in my calf but we got it out, head and all. Now just to make sure it doesn’t bulls eye over the next two weeks (fast forward, no bulls eye so no lymes disease or tick bite fever).

New Animal Count: 5

4 August

This morning we headed out just before 7am to head to the Drakensberg Mountains! Fun note from last night; we were woken up multiple times by sounds from hippos and bush babies having the time of their life. Today is a very long day of driving on bumpy roads, which lead to many upset tummies.

Our first stop of the day was at a roadside market, Zamimpilo Community Market, for fruit and some crafts.

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We continued on driving for the next 3 hours before we stopped for lunch at Howick Falls, which were just beautiful. During this stop we also did our shopping for the next few days as we would be deep in the heart of the mountains.

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After lunch, we were slightly delayed due to traffic but eventually made it to the Nelson Mandela Capture Sight Museum. It is currently under construction but packed full of great information, of which I am sad to say, I was not aware of.

We walked down to the monument of the exact spot he was captured on the side of the road. It is so powerful to think this man was in prison for 27 years because he wanted equality.

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After the museum, we had another few hours of driving before we reached the lodge around 6pm. The roads were VERY bumpy. Not like basic bumps, like massive craters. And a large part of the road was dirt. It was NOT fun.

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We all made it in one piece to the Lotheni KZN Wildlife Park Chalets in the Drakensberg. We had a nice dinner followed by learning a new card game to enjoy some time outside with a fire and a few new local beers we had picked up on the way in.

These ‘chalets’ were very interesting. There was only electricity from 5pm to 10pm. After the electricity was turned off everything was powered by gas, including the heat, which made me nervous for CO2. But we needed a good night sleep before our 9 hour hike tomorrow!

Before we headed to sleep though Jer went outside to play with the camera and taking night photos of the stars again. Since we were in a place where there was no lights around it ended up making for a pretty amazing sight.

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New Animal Count: 0

5 August

Today we hiked in the absolutely breathtaking Drakensberg mountains. And it was a hike of all hikes.

We were up early to prepare a heavy breakfast to fuel us for our hike. We also needed to pack lunch since we would be eating during our hike. This was also a pretty amazing way to wake up:

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The morning started off cold but it quickly warmed up, which we were well informed of so we dressed accordingly. We also made multiple stops to make sure everyone was good and we were also able to drink water from the river. It was the cleanest purest water I have ever tasted. Also, some of the coldest. In which my crazy husband and some of our group went ‘swimming’ in. Not for me.

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We stopped for lunch along the river and looked in depressions in the water to see if there were any diamonds. Highly unlikely, but still fun to look for.

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We then started our way down, which was the worst part. I have weak ankles so I ended up twisting my one ankle pretty bad but nothing I can’t fight through.

We also came across an amazing bug on our way back. It is hard to describe so take a look for yourself:

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We made it back to the chalet to relax and get ready for dinner. Dessert tonight was a ‘specialty’. It included bananas, condensed milk and …. mayo. It was sneaky gross. But you couldn’t tell the mayo was in it, unless you were told. Not for me.

After dinner it was time for cards again!

New Animal Count: 6

6 August

Today, we left just after 6am as we were heading to the Wild Coast and had a full day of driving, again.

However, I pulled by neck checking under the bed and was in a pretty decent amount of pain. Luckily we stopped early for a bathroom break at a grocery store where we got some icy hot. The whole bus smells like mint but my neck is feeling better.

Not much to talk about today since it was mostly spent on the road, but we did stop for lunch along the side of the road about halfway there and had some furry friends try to join us for lunch.

After 11 hours of driving, we finally reach our lodge for the night, Benmore Lodge, around 6:30. The lodges each have 2 private rooms, which is nice. We shared our lodge with the guides and it is the first time since we got the South Africa that we are not sleeping in a single bed!

7 August

Today, I was up before our alarm went off thanks to the most annoying birds known to man, think of a car alarm. I decided to go up to the gate to get WiFi since that is the only area you could get it. This is the first time I have had WiFi since we landed in South Africa. I had over 100 messages on social media and my emails would not even load. The WiFi spot is outside under a tree and of course I got pooped on by one of the annoying birds. Hopefully it brings good luck!

I went back to our cabin to have coffee on the patio where I had a nice view of a small herd of zebras. I could get use to this.

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We had a nice hearty breakfast before heading out to Kei Mouth. Our first stop was a Shell Museum which had an amazing collection from all over the world.

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After we were done at the museum we drove just a little ways to a hiking path for a short hike down to Morgans Bay to enjoy some time at the beach. Jer was sad because part of our hike took us through a golf course he wished he could be playing.

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Since we were at the beach, we all decided to be a little bit crazy and go swimming. It was not warm and the water was super choppy! But it was fun!

We had lunch beach side, looking out at the Indian Ocean.

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We then took a short walk up to the top of a nearby hill to overlook the Indian Ocean. It was just stunning. This was a great time to reflect on how lucky we had been over the last few days in South Africa and the last year and a half of travel. Sitting there just listening to the waves break and the wind blow, was truly peaceful.

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Back at the lodge, I took a nice cold shower because they ran out of gas. Oh well. We had another wonderful Braai for dinner and we were in bed early to head to Addo Elephant Park in the morning! But of course we had to play some cards again…

New Animal Count: 6

8 August

Today we were up and out by 6:30am and we reached Addo by 1pm after a few stops.

While our guide checked us in, we had lunch at the restaurant where most people ended up getting burgers.

We then went to our wooden chalets, again single beds, but very nice.

Once everyone was settled it was time for another game drive. There were not a ton of animal sightings, but two of them made up for the entire afternoon. First we saw our first dung beetle of the entire trip, followed by an amazing elephant walking right down the road past the truck!

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After seeing those two things almost immediately we saw the normal Zebras, warthogs, and many different antelope along the way. Then we almost drove right by a Jackal sitting right near the side of the road! We ended the afternoon with another dung beetle sighting, this time with a ball of dung.

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After we were back we walked over to the blind at the watering hole to see if there was anything out, but no luck.

Tonight was our last group prepared meal. And the guides went all out, we had Potjiekos, a traditional South African dish. The tables were set up with table covers and candles. It was really nice. But the dishes were not, it was a bit aggressive but everyone pitched in!

We then played cards by fire and looked at the stars again since there was no unnatural light.

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9 August

Today we were up and out by 7am.

We did a game drive on our way out of Addo. We saw a bunch of birds again in the morning but on of the highlights was Jer spotting a 100+ year old leopard tortoise which are an endangered species. We also have now almost completed the entire Lion King cast as Timon and his friends made an appearance this morning.

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We also saw a family of elephants at a watering hole. There was a baby elephant with them and the little guy could not figure out how to properly use his trunk to drink the water. So after teeter and tottering on the edge of the water, he eventually fell in! It was so stinking cute!

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Just before we got to the exit we had yet another elephant walk within 3 feet of the bus!

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After an exciting morning it was back to more driving eventually stopping for lunch at Storms River Bridge around 1:30pm. After lunch we went to Tsitsikamma Forest’s Big Tree which is a 800+ year old Yellowwood tree which is over 35m tall (188ft for the Americans). We got the opportunity to walk all around the forest and it was the best smell on the face of the earth. The smell of clean area and I wish I could bottle it up.

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After enjoying the fresh air we headed to our lodge for the night in Kynsa, The Lagoona Inn. We were on the 1st floor with a balcony overlooking the water. Just stunning.

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Once we were all checked in, I sat on the balcony enjoying a South African Beer, eating Kudo jerky and watching the sunset. We also played a round of cards before heading to dinner.

For dinner, we went to a local restaurant, Bosun’s Pub and Grill, which was like your normal pub. We enjoyed some good food and good local beer before calling it a night before 10. We were also introduced to an amazing dessert drink, Don Pedro, which is basically a milkshake with Amarula liquor. Yummy!

New Animal Count: 12

10 August

This morning we were up and out by 8am and we reached Tsitsikamma again around 10:30am. Today’s adventure was a hike along the coast to a waterfall. This was NOT an easy hike. It was on boulders that were wet so falling was very easy. Luckily, everyone made it with only minor scrapes and bruises. Round-trip it took us about 3.5 hours to go 6.25km.

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We all piled back into the truck once we were back, however before we headed back to the lodge we stopped to do something a little bit crazy. We decided to bungee.

Bungee jumping was just insane. I can not explain it in words. Your stomach doesn’t drop and the sound (after you stop screaming) is so serene.

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After bungee we headed back to the hotel to clean up to head into town for dinner.

Tonight’s dinner was at Dry Dock, where they had fresh caught oysters so I was in heaven.

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Today was an overall absolutely amazing day. And you guessed it, we were in bed before 10pm.

11 August

Today we headed out around 8am, I know a late morning on this trip. We were heading from Kynsa to Hermanus and it was a rainy day. The rain is a blessing and a curse as the region is in drought and needs the rain, but messes with our plans a little. We have had so many beautiful days though so I guess they all can not be perfect.

We stopped and had a quick lunch in the rain, not ideal but it worked in the end. Jer also got a South African soccer jersey (of course) since we stopped near a shopping mall.

We got to our hotel, Baleens Hotel, to drop off our stuff and finally just before heading into town the rain let up. Tonight we have a 5k walk from the center of town to where we were having dinner at Dutchies. The first 2.5k took us 1.5 hours and the last 2.5k took us only 38 minutes (we were late for dinner). But on our walk we spotted some whales (big spouts of water), enjoyed the salty air, and the waves splashing. The ocean was really rough from the storm. Fun fact, Hermanus is known as the whale watching capital of the world because it provides a natural safe area for the whales to breed every year.

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We had an amazing dinner which started with a chorizo and shrimp starter. For the main dishes I had a salmon and tuna hand roll with a salad and Jer had the crab special and we ended with another Don Pedro (you may notice a pattern over the next few days) and apple pie.

We were back to lodge around 11pm, much later than normal.

12 August

Today the group had a choice to go shark cage diving or whale watching. But unfortunately the ocean didn’t agree with this and it was too choppy, 6+ meter seas. So it was all cancelled. We didn’t leave the lodge until 10am because of the bad weather.

We stopped in Hermanus for an hour to walk around and do a little shopping. We then piled back on the bus to head towards Cape Town.

On our way we stopped at a farm stall, Peregrine, for lunch just before noon. We were also able to find some cool teas and spices here!

Our next stop of the day was at Morgenhof Wine Estates around 1:30pm for a wine tasting! We are spoiled by wine in France but I must say I like a good Pinotage.

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We arrived at our final lodge of the trip, Sweet Lemon, in Cape Town around 4pm.

We were not far from the water, and Green Point Park, so we took a walk for about an hour and a half with a few of our friends.

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Tonights dinner was at Marco’s African Place and we piled into taxis around 7:30pm. We had a wonderful night at Marco’s. I had Kingklip (fish) and we split a carpaccio made up of springbok, crocodile and ostrich to start. We also got a bottle of good Pinotage for just 10 euros. At Marco’s they have live music which was a mix of traditional African music and dances along with remixes of Adele and Bob Marley. Overall it was a great experience.

We were back to lodge around 10:30pm to head to bed.

13 August

Today is our last full day in Africa! It’s hard to believe this wonderful experience is coming to an end so fast.

We were up and out just before 9am and made our first stop at Hout Bay around 9:30am and enjoyed their covered market. There was amazing artisans and some pretty good coffee!! Also, there were beautiful views back towards Cape Town.

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After a few stops along the way, including Chapmans Peak pictured above, we reached the Boulders Penguin Colony around 11:30. Before we went in, we order lunch to be ready when we got back at Cafe Penguin. At Boulders, we saw one of the worlds largest penguin colonies and there were even babies! The one thing I did not expect was how stinky it was going to be.

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After the hanging out with the penguins for a while we grabbed lunch (and did some shopping at the Aloe store) and headed towards Cape of Good Hope. We got there around 2:30pm. The one crazy thing was on the way there, we passed so many bikers and the roads are very narrow and windy. Not the safest.

At the Cape of Good Hope, we were at the most touristy place we have seen since we have been in Africa. It was so bad, people were fighting to take pictures in front of the Cape of Good Hope sign. A little crazy, but we got ours of course.

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However, the view at the top was beautiful and well worth bobbing and weaving through all the people.

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There were also baboons everywhere and they were experienced food thieves. This was especially apparent when we made our last stop of the day at Cape Point National Park and were walking up to the lighthouse.

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We were back to the lodge around 5:30pm and left for tonight’s dinner at Karibu around 7pm. South Africa also wanted to send us off with one last beautiful sunset tonight.

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Karibu was the nicest place we ate at the entire trip. I had a crawfish bisque and salad followed by my very own Don Pedro.

We were back at lodge by 10:30pm to get a good nights rest before our final day in South Africa.

New Animal Count: 4

14 to 15 August

As they say “All good things must come to an end” and today was that day for us to say goodbye to South Africa, but not before one last amazing experience. We left the lodge just before 9am and got to the base of Table Mountain around 9:30am.

This mornings activity was to hike up to the top of Table Mountain. We started our hike up around 9:30am. And I mean up. The hike was only around 5k in length, but your elevation changes by over 800m! Needless to say it was not easy. We were so sweaty, we went through a lot of water. Thankfully we started this first thing in the morning and it wasn’t too hot out today.

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We reached the top in 1 hour 45 minutes (better than the expected 2 and a half hours). We actually got to the top before the people who took the funicular because the line was so long!

We enjoyed the views from the top (and the temperature change). We also had a quick lunch at the canteen.

We then took the funicular down (we were so gross from the hike).

We got back down around 2pm and headed back to the Waterfront to do some last minute shopping.

We were back to the lodge just after 3pm in time for some quick showers and our final goodbyes before we left for our flight.

The taxi showed up at 3:30pm instead of 4:30pm for everyone not just us. However, there was bad traffic so didn’t get to airport until 5pm anyway.

We made a minor whoopsie at the airport. We had our knives in our day packs from hiking and forgot to put them in our checked bags. So we ended up having to toss them.

We then settled into our 7:30pm flight for the next 12 hours making our way north again to London first.

We arrived at Heathrow just after 6am, but only a little over 2 hour layover this time, thank god.

We left for CDG around 8:50am and were back in our apartment in Paris just after lunch. Now, we sleep.

Total Animal Count: 122

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