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Published: April 10th 2007
Yes, you've guessed it, Frankie's been on safari again! And I'm still not bored of seeing animals, even booked on a night drive tonight so will hopefully be raving about my sightings of lions in a few days time!
It's been a while since I've written anything because I've had the very welcome distraction of Gerry flying out to keep me company. It's so good to be reunited and we're having a fantastic time travelling around South Africa together. Spent the first few days in Port Elizabeth being spoilt rotten with a luxury apartment and dinner out etc. Thank you everyone who sent me a card and presents it was really nice to have a suprise package!
As a birthday treat we went on a game drive in Addo National Park. We had such a good day and I swear we saw every elephant in the park in the space of a few hours. No exaggeration, we stopped at one watering hole and there were at least 100 elephants scattered around it. Some having a much needed cool down in the muddy water, others lining up waiting for their turn for a dip. We spent about an hour
Now you see them...
...the final resting place of two innocent dung beetles!
just watching them playing and splashing, mothers helping their babies out of the water and young bulls mock fighting. We also saw meerkats scampering around in the grass, another animal I've loved ever since seeing a wildlife documentary about them when I was a kid! On a sadder note, I got very upset when we stopped to watch a pair of flightless dung beetles going about their businesss of rolling dung, when a car overtook us and squished them both without a passing glance.
For the past 10 days we have been staying in the beautiful Transkei in mud rondavels perched overlooking the stunning Wild Coast. This area of SA is totally undeveloped, remote, wild, romantic, with a traditional subsistance way of living preserved. Me and Gerry fell in love with the area as soon as we arrived, after a couple of hours bumping along down the worst roads I've ever seen, and I feel a bit empty now that we've left. It's one of those places you can get lost in and forget the real world exists. We both found ourselves inspired by the places we stayed, including a couple of eco lodges that were so nice I'm
not sure I want to mention names for fear too many people will visit and spoil them! We spent our time chilling out, cooling off in the sea, collecting shells, learning about Xhosa traditions. We went on a guided tour of the village, learning about how they build their houses and having the privalige of meeting boys who were celebrating, having just been circumcised as part of their journey towards manhood. We also met the local traditional healer who took us on a guided walk through the forest and showed us all the plants they use for medicine and luck.
Unfortunately we had to leave our little piece of paradise but we did so in style, walking the 20km over hills and across rivers towards Coffee Bay. The guys at Bulungula sent us off with the directions 'Keep the sea on your right' and with just two words of Xhosa we started walking. Typically we got lost and ended up taking a longer inland route, but it was still spectacular scenery. Everyone we stopped to speak to and ask directions from were extremely friendly and helpful. One girl walked for half an hour, uphill, barefoot, with a baby on
her back, just to show us the right path, and asked for nothing in return. Because of our wrong turns we arrived at Hole in the Wall as the tide was coming in and couldn't wade across the river - although Gerry tested it out much to some local kids' amusement! We ended up taking a detour upriver to the nearest ford and eventually staggered into the village as the sun was sinking behind the hills. With 10km still to go to Coffee Bay we decided to wait by the side of the road for a lift...but not one car went past and the only interest we got was from an old lady who wanted to buy Gerry off me!! Tired, dehydrated and the darkness encroaching, I was ready to give up and cry when suddenly the owner of the bar we were outside came out and offered us a lift if we came in for a drink first. Three beers later and an interesting conversation and we were delivered safely to our hostel. A couple of days later we completed our trek by walking back to Hole in the Wall and buying Greg a drink as a thank you,
luckily this time we hitched a lift in the back of a bakkie in no time!
We stayed at three different places along the Wild Coast: Bulungula, Coffee Bay and Mpande. We were at the last place for Easter Sunday and were treated to a heartwarming sight and one that brings back happy memories of Easters at home when I was younger. Every year the owner of our hostel buys boxes of chocolate eggs and gets the guests to hide them all around the garden. He then collects all the children from the village and they go wild running around hunting them out. They are so good about it though, collecting them up and sharing them out evenly. The sight of 70 odd kids lined up patiently, hands outstretched to receive their share of chocolate was so refreshing, I can't ever imagine kids behaving so well at home. I also had my first Djembe drumming lesson at the Kraal, good fun but don't expect me to be a master when I return!
We returned to Port Elizabeth Sunday night after 10 hours crammed in the overrated Baz Bus. For much of the evening we were entertained by the
most spectacular electrical storm I have ever seen and the landscape here is so big you can see the bolts of lightening flashing all around you! We are sorting out a car and then will be heading down the Garden Route towards Cape Town and flights home....can't believe my 6 months is nearly up. See you all soon! fxx
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