South Africa Eastern Cape Day 4

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July 25th 2013
Published: July 25th 2013
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Today we checked out of Garden Court hotel in Mthatha, having first done a bit of provisions shopping at the local Spar. From Mthatha we travelled East past where we met Mihlali yesterday to Hluleka nature reserve on the coast. Sandi School is on the way so we called in briefly and then went back as soon as we had dropped our bags. It is a slightly strange sensation to be treated like VIPs and I hope we lived up to it! The staff and pupils were certainly very excited to meet us and we were introduced to all the staff and governors and then treated to some very lively singing and some soft drinks and biscuits all served with some ceremony. This was followed by a tour of the school, which now boasts a computer room but is still waiting to get mains water and a landline.

Since leaving the main road from Mthatha just after Limpopo travel has been slow on dirt tracks, some OK, some rutted, some washed away and some with ridges to rival the much maligned C14 in Namibia. Animals on the road can also be a challenge: sheep, goats, cattle, pigs, dogs and chickens all crossed our path. All have been avoided but you certainly couldn’t do without a 4 x 4.

The journey back from Sandi was busy with hundreds of school children of all ages shouting and waving as we went by. Some were hoping to get something but most were friendly and curious.

Self catering has proved an interesting challenge. Having bought some boerwors to put on the braai for the first night, we were hoping to get some meat from the local shops between Sandi and Hluleka. However we were told that they only sold chicken to cage...tinned pilchards it is then! I know some of the family think we’re adventurous but we’re not that adventurous.

Hluleka is a little piece of heaven on earth. After a minor glitch of our booking being in someone else’s name, ably resolved by a former Sandi pupil, we were shown to our chalet which is very luxurious. We have a balcony overlooking the Indian Ocean with the beach just a short stroll away. It has a sort of ‘Bali-esque’ feel with lush foliage running right up to the beach. Bizarrely there was a small flock of zebras right outside the chalets – I’m not sure where else you could meet zebras and less than five minutes later be paddling in the sea... There are also monkeys as well as loads of birds.

Tonight there was the most gorgeous orange full moon. Tomorrow we are looking forward to seeing the sun rise over the Indian Ocean before braving the road full of children and animals to spend another day at Sandi.

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