Day 21

I’m not sure what the Mother Nature thinks is so special about June 25, but this morning was the prettiest sunrise I’ve ever seen. Pictures featured in the photo gallery. I spent the drive to Khayelitsha watching the beautiful pink sky and also speaking to our third (yes, THIRD) new driver this morning, Nomalady. This was one of the first times I’ve seen a woman driving a car in South Africa so hooray for gender equality!

Unfortunately, this dry spell at the clinic is really dragging on. We arrived this morning and spent half the day filling out paperwork, you know, the normal grind. But when we took our tea break this morning, we saw that Maci had a new puzzle book filled with crosswords, sudokus, etc. Most of the afternoon (after the paperwork was all done) we spent solving said puzzles as a group of six– an interesting task. Unfortunately, in line with some days last week, today was rather anti-climactic. However, we did spend some time today planning our shark cage diving trip… details will be covered tomorrow!

When we returned home, I hit the gym, talked to my mom on the phone for a while, and went grocery shopping with Morganne– also rather anti-climactic. BUT after this grocery shopping, Morganne took me into what may very well be the cutest stationery shop I’ve ever seen called Fabricate. Thank goodness I had my hands full of groceries because otherwise, my wallet would’ve been in trouble. Big time. Before we left, I headed down to Pick n Pay (imagine Kroger vs. Whole Foods (Woolworths)) to purchase one of those puzzle books for myself… I was missing my sudoku fix.

I returned home, whipped up some cauliflower noodle and veggie stir fry, hung out with Austin, Charlie, Morgan, Sarah, Morganne, and Tess, and am now headed off to bed for tomorrow morning, we have a 6am wake up call for shark diving. Xhosa word of the day is “sister” (or daughter, little girl, etc.): sisi.

Day 13

Today was another early morning but this time, 200% worth it. We reported to the game vehicles at 7am after some coffee and set out for our sunrise drive, searching for every animal that we had missed the day before. Our first hit was the two elephants kept in the park. Unfortunately, this reserve is only 8 combined farms and about 2000 hectares (~5000 acres) whereas other parks like Kruger (northeast South Africa) are more than 4 million hectares. Because of its small size, it cannot sustain free-roaming elephants or lions (legally) and, instead, has those two species cordoned off and taken care of by highly trained zookeepers. For the first time, this park felt more like a park than nature by having these animals contained. However, the elephants and lions were all rescued from hunting lodges and rehabilitated/socialized so I guess it’s all for the greater good. We watched the elephants eat their breakfast (lots of grass) with the sunrise behind them and it was the definition of a money shot (see below for proof).

Next, it was onto more ostriches, zebras, lions, antelope, then, finally, the giraffes. I learned more wildlife facts than I can remember and absolutely basked in the beauty of these animals all while witnessing the most beautiful sunrise I’ve ever seen. It was pink, blue, orange, and cast shadows over the lateral acacia trees to create a surreal vista. If you remember the beginning of “The Lion King”, that’s exactly what this morning felt like. The biggest animal highlight of the morning was the giraffes who walked right next to our vehicle. They’re so friendly and so majestic! See below video for our giraffe escort (sorry it’s huge)

After we returned to the lodge, we had a wonderful breakfast of omelets, fresh fruit, toast, and the like. On our way out, we hit up the gift shop for some animal shirts and many postcards. We hopped back on our shuttle and begrudgingly headed back to Cape Town. I’ve spent the rest of the afternoon grocery shopping, catching up on the blog (sorry, fans), and watching Mad Men. It’s time to sign off so the Xhosa word of the day is “giraffe”: indlulamathi.