Day 19: A Day of Drives

At the Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa
At the Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa

Today I enjoyed two rather different drives. The first took me from near Oudtshoorn to the Addo Elephant National Park. This drive was pretty unremarkable; not a single dramatic mountain pass in today’s itinerary! Instead, the terrain was mostly level and the semi-arid climate revealed bushes and plants that reminded me of parts of New Mexico.

One road, however, does deserve special mention. For about 30 miles the two-lane highway became this:

On the road ... South Africa style!
On the road … South Africa style!

Yeah, that’s one lane of pavement for two-way traffic! If there’s oncoming traffic — no, WHEN there’s oncoming traffic! — you pull over to the left a bit so you have two tires on the gravel shoulder and two on the pavement. Assuming the other driver does likewise it works out fine. The first couple of times I had to pull off this maneuver were, I must admit, rather nerve-wracking! After that, it started seeming almost natural. And why pay for all that pavement when most of goes unused, right?

I arrived at Addo just in time for my second drive of the day, this time a game drive through the park. There were only three of us plus a guide in the Land Rover, and we saw all sorts of animals in only two hours, including literally dozens of elephants, including this fellow at the top of today’s blog entry. We also saw antelope, cape buffalo, warthogs, zebra, and, of course, the flightless dung beetle.

I was the only guest at dinner tonight at the Addo Dung Beetle Guest Farm. The meal was prepared by my host, Magda, and her sister. Entertainment was provided by Magda’s two young sons, ages 6 and 9 (whose names I could barely pronounce and certainly couldn’t spell). The older one in particular was a chatterbox with plenty to say and loads of questions. The five of us enjoyed a lovely dinner.

On another note, my thumb, roughed up a bit in yesterday’s Cango Cave adventure, is still a bit sore today but feeling much better.

LUGGAGE UPDATE: So today I bought a hat and t-shirt at the Elephant Park. I’ve not completely replaced all that was in the lost luggage, but this gets me a bit closer!

Tomorrow I hope to get some pictures of the very colorful and noisy birds that have nests hanging in the trees right outside my cabin. Later I’ll drive to Port Elizabeth for the short flight to Durban. No sharks, cheetahs, or elephants for me tomorrow! Nothing scarier than a plane flight….

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