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Anja’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 08 Oct 2005

Location: Alicadale, South Africa

MapHey everyone. It's been a while since my last entry! Cannot believe the first week has gone by so quickly... Well, I think I've definitely been introduced to the bush. I have scratches, grazes, bumps & bruises everywhere! We've been subjected to the most extreme weather - +30 & hot/sunny to +1 with a wind chill factor you wouldn't believe! Due to this I've spent the last 24 hours in bed with flu! Feeling bit better today but unfortunately it's meant I've had to cancel our weekend trip to PE. Oh well, there's always next weekend.
Thought I'd take this opportunity to fill you in on our surroundings & the people we're involved in. The town of Alicadale is quite small (about 6000 residents) but it really only has 2 roads & a railway station! Oh & a posh hotel with golf course which has recently opened. Tiger Woods is coming here next week! There's a township on the hill. It's an area of high poverty & unemployment - between 1 & 3 people a week die of AIDS up there.
Our house is opposite the Station Bar where we take all our meals. It's run by Aneika (who is from Bloemfontein in the Free State) & her boyfriend Daz (from the Isle of Wight)! They take care of us well & have become good friends. Then there is Louis & his wife - he runs a bar where we party & also owns the shop & the liquor store...They too are fab & we treat them like our parents!
We spend the week with our rangers - Steve (who lives next door but is currently on holiday), Anja(!) - I'm now called AJ or mom - who is tiny & drives the huge landrover & Terry who I go out with (along with Nat, Rach & Brad) in the bakkie.
We also spend time with other rangers & people who work on the reserve. We're pretty much jack of all trades & go where the guys need us. It's great!
So Thursday was our Guest Experience. We got to spend the night in a posh lodge as guests. Big comfy beds, bath & shower, Molten Brown products, Spa, Jacuzzi, 2 pools... Unfortunately I was starting to feel pretty crappy & we didn't have that much time to enjoy the surroundings. We got there just before lunch & had the most amazing 3 course meal. We then had a couple of hours to kill (watching the movie channel!) & then went for a game drive. We were split between 2 vehicles with rangers Ian & Jason. The idea was to stay out till sundown so that we could have sundowners on the top of the ridge. I cannot begin to explain how cold it was - I had on 5 layers of clothes & 2 blankets & was still freezing. The hot chocolate & vodka helped also....
Due to the cold we didn't see too much whilst out but in hindsight it was fun! Back to the Lodge for hot chocolate & Amarula & another 3 course meal (a few of the guys had Impala!) & then I was out for the count in the most comfy bed I've ever slept in. Unfortunately it didn't last as Jason woke us up just before 5am to go out on another game drive. And yes, it was freezing... We went in search of buffalo & hippo but couldn't find them. Saw their tracks but that was as close as it got. Got to see the white rhino with her baby which was cool - she was very relaxed & we got up close. Also saw the lions, elephant, giraffe, various antelope & birds of prey.
Thankfully the sun came up & it was hot, hot, hot... Back for breakfast on the lawn before being picked up & brought home. I had to go straight to bed but the rest held a jumble sale to raise money for the local school. Apparently the record was broken for the total raised - they are a bunch of salespeople...
Due to the amount of alcohol consumed last night by the guys we're having a disney day (Finding Nemo & Shrek). May get into Lord of the Rings later, altho the rugby & footie are on at the bar...
I'll say goodbye for now! Will try & get some more photos on later.