Alicia’s Travel Diary

Friday, 20 Aug 2010

Location: South Africa

MapThis morning we woke at 6am for the last time for our last safari. The wind had picked up last night and we awoke to cloudy skies and more wind. Every other had been clear and sunny. Our safari started out chilly like most mornings, but unlike most mornings it stayed cold and felt even colder due to the harsh wind and lack of sun. We huddled in the jeeps with our coats and fleece blankets to keep warm. Our drive started with finally seeing some monkeys up close and they stayed put long enough for us to get some good photos of them. There were at least six monkeys that we could see in the trees watching us.

The next two things we saw were interesting stories and very odd. The first was a dead bird sprawled out in a tree. Gavin (our guide) stopped the jeep to tell us exactly how the bird had ended up like that. The type of bird that it was is known for doing dangerous mating displays that involve flying up high, folding in their wings and diving towards the ground and opening their wings at the very last moment to keep from crashing into the ground. This bird has misjudged his dive and ended up in the tree. The second thing was an African Hawk with a snake in its talons. We saw the hawk drop the snake and the snake fell and got caught in a thorn bush. We stopped and watched as the hawk tried to pry the snake out of the bush, but it was too stuck in the thorns. The hawk gave up and flew away and we went in on foot to get a look at the snake. The snake was a boomslang and is one of the most venomous snakes in Africa though not the most deadly because it only bites when it is really provoked. The snake was still alive, but since it was stuck in the tree we were able to get within a few meters of it.

Further along we happened upon some wildebeest that actually didn't run off all crazy when they heard us approaching so we were able to get a good look at them. The last hour was spent trying to track down a cheetah, but it was so cold and windy we figured the cheetah was well hidden resting in the bush out of the wind. We did see some more impala. Impala are everywhere and have three strips on their butt. Gavin said they are called the McDonald's of the bush due to the 3 stripes being like the M for McDonald's and the fact that pretty much every meat eater eats the impala.

After breakfast we headed back on the road to drive back to Jo-burg and catch our flight to Cape Town. We were so sad to leave!! For the drive back we took a different route so we could see different things on the drive. We went through an area called the land of the silver mists which was green hilly countryside with low hanging clouds. It was quite a beautiful area. After that the rest of the drive was fairly uneventful.

Our flight Cape Town left at 7:30pm and was about a 2 hour flight. Once again the directions that Africa Travel Resource gave us were bad, but this time the names they told us to turn at were nowhere to be found. Luckily the map proved handy again and I got us to our hotel.

Our hotel is in a upper scale residential area and is really more of a guesthouse than a hotel. Its style is contemporary chic and very trendy. The owner is a metrosexual man with a thick German accent. I felt like he could have his own design show on HGTV. We snapped a few photos before passing out in the nice and cozy bed.