Thursday 14 May 2015 Addo Elephant Park
The princess sleeps with earplugs and covers her eyes with a black mask so as not to let in the early morning light so I was surprised to find her up with the sparrows and ready to go! We were out the gate by 7:05 and as we admired the gorgeous sunrise she said, “I’d better take a photograph so I’ll remember what this looks like because I’m never up to see sunrises!”
She is sitting comfortably in the front seat and has warned me not to take photos of her without make-up – but she somehow manages to get it on between sightings – while we’re watching birds I suspect!
We drive around until 10ish finding the usual suspects – warthogs, a variety of buck, zebra play-fighting the odd elephant and lots of birds the highlight being a bar-throated apalis. Two pale chanting goshawks in a tree are also great and of course the bokmakieries are iconic in Addo.
Back at the hut we shower, the princess tarts up and Earl and I go to the communal kitchen to make breakfast. The princess has specific requests – no tomato and no kidneys please! Dad presents her with eggs, bacon and banana cooked to perfection. We slum it on scrambled eggs and kidneys – somehow I think we got the better deal!
When Her Highness is ready we set off for another game drive. We hear on the grapevine aka the Addo Face Book page that there were two male lions on the Gorah Loop 2 hours ago so we head there without expecting much. There are a few gathered parked on a bend and we see two lions a little way off but fast asleep. We snap a photo just to say that we’ve seen them then move on to enjoy more exciting things.
Our drive is fruitful and we have fun watching Princess’s favourite creatures, marvelling at the Kudu and eland, amazed at the number of warhogs abound and are thrilled at how plentiful the game is. We spot one jackal but he is no mood to pose for a portrait.
We go past the lions once more – still fast asleep and then go back to camp for lunch. The Cattle Baron has edged into the Sanparks. I hope all goes well and that I won’t have to do battle and change their name to the Battle Caron. The service is good. The Princess and the Earl order beef burgers. I settle for a house salad. The latter is stunning. The princess needs to do Battle with Caron. Her burger is inedible – “If I throw it against the wall it will bounce,” she tells the longsuffering waitress. “Let me try the chicken burger instead, please.” This turns out to be just perfect. The chips, too, are done to perfections. The Earl eats his burger but admits it was rather disgusting. “You should stick to Banting,”I say smugly. My salad is full of greens, tomato, avo, cheese and grated egg. Yum!
After a loo break we set straight off for another game drive. It is now 3:30. We head for Gorah Loop and get there around 4 – the lions have not moved – still dead to the world. We see a tail flick slightly so know they are in fact alive. Off we go in search of the ellies. We find lots and enjoy all the other game and birds too. “We should go to the lion sighting at 5,” I say. “They’ll wake up then.”
“They’ll only wake up if buffalo turn up,” says the Princess knowing that this is their favourite food.
So we continue on our way and enjoy the other things to see in this beautiful park.
We find ourselves back at the lion spot just after 5 – but they’re fast asleep. We switch off the engine and wait to see if anything will happen.
Suddenly the Princess yells – The buffalo are here! And sure enough there is a biggish herd, alert and sniffing the air.
They’re aware but are very short sighted and don’t actually see them. A few separate from the rest and begin grazing in the bushes behind the lions. One of the lions sits up,
The other rolls over and lies on his back.
The grazers suddenly realise the lions are there and return to the herd. They regroup and start walking toward the lions. The boys leap up and start running toward the parked cars. The buffs chase after them and see them off. Wow – what an exciting sighting. See the video on Youtube
We follow the lions for some time and marvel at seeing elephants in the background too.
The gate closes at six and so the whole fleet of us head back to camp.
After packing up for an early departure tomorrow we decide it is too cold to do a braai so The Princess treats us to dinner at The Cattle Baron – they haven’t misbehaved enough to call them Battle Caron.
The Earl orders ribs – The Princess and I have grilled calamari tubes and share a Greek Salad. Perfect! The Earl is not 100% happy with the ribs – the sauce has a very strong taste that is not to his liking – It’s a half portion but he can’t finish it! We chat to the manager about our concerns and he takes it well and says he will investigate what the chef is doing and suggest some amendments to the way he does burgers and ribs! Everything else is perfect.
Addo Elephant park is fabulous. It is teeming with game, Jack’s picnic site is amazing, the facilities are clean and well-maintained and service is good. Next time we plan to visit one of the other rest camps – perhaps Spekbook tented will be fun. It overlooks a waterhole.
Friday 15 May 2015 Addo Elephant to Struisbaai
We left the park at 7:00 am and made our way to the South Gate. We spotted lots of warthogs but not as much game as when we came in. The elephants were there to bid the princess farewell.
We went to our B&B to collect a pack of beers we’d left in the fridge and the headed to Jeffrey’s Bay where we met Jim and Maureen at In Food Bakery for breakfast. It was so good to see them and hear about their wonderful experiences in Etosha and Kgalagadi. Their friend Joy also joined us a little later.
The breakfasts were delicious. I ordered paoched eggs, spinach and salmon which came with a croissant. Hold the croissant I told the waitress. Would you like Banting bread instead, she offered. Banting bread? Well why not – if it’s awful I just won’t eat it. Well it was delicious! One could eat it without butter or jam as it tasted like a savoury loaf on its own. Yummy – Banting certainly is an easy and satisfying diet to follow.
Don’t ask if I’ve lost weight – I don’t think much – I’ve been eating too much – I’m on holiday after all! But I’ve felt good and not at all hungry. I definitely have not put on any weight and I’m really doing this for health and not reduction reasons. But I am hoping the belly fat will miraculously disappear eventually! Even in my sixties I care! The plan is to be stricter about the orange list and the amount we eat when we settle in Struisbaai in July.
We arrived in Struisbaai at 5, unpacked the essentials and made a braai for supper. We watched TV for a bit and then collapsed into bed.
Saturday 16 May 2015 Homeward Bound
Earl did all the things needed at the house this morning and by 10:30 we were on the road for home. We stopped in Bredasdorp to refuel, pay an account and shop for takkies for Laurie. The latter two were unsuccessful as there was load shedding and the municipality didn’t open on Saturdays!
We dropped the Princess off at her flat at 1:15 and we arrived in Sun Valley at 2:00 pm. Another wonderful trip under the belt!