3 May 2012, Gail’s trip log

What a great day. We finally got to the essence of South Africa – we went on a photo safari at a game preserve! We docked at East London around 1130 and got on our tour bus about 1230. The weather was sunny, but a little cool and breezy. We took sweatshirts with us, but didn’t need them. Bus to the game preserve took about an hour – low point of the day, actually. The air conditioning was not working and it got hot and stuffy. The guide spoke with such a heavy accent it was difficult to understand him. There was nothing very interesting about the town itself – and once we left the port area, it was a pretty ho-hum ride. This all changed once we arrived at the Inkwenkwezi Game Reserve. We were met with Xhosa tribal dancers and singers in colorful costumes and cold glasses of fresh orange juice (or champagne) and a fantastic buffet lunch in a very nicely decorated restaurant. After a last stop at the ladies’ room, I was “hoisted” onto the seat of a 4×4 vehicle with a canvas top – total in vehicle was 11, counting driver. Dan and I both got outside seats on opposite sides, which was awesome to see everything and take pictures from both sides. Driver was fantastic and fellow passengers in our rig were very friendly. We went up and down some pretty steep dirt roads – and very bumpy and rutted in many places. We were warned to hang on and keep our limbs inside since brush scraped by at times. We rode around like that for 3 hours and it was amazing. We didn’t see any elephants, but we saw many giraffes, including 2 babies, many lions, many ostriches, emus, impalas, zebras and baldbucks. The total reserve is about 20 square miles, and the lions have their own special area of a couple square miles. We had a break in the middle where we walked around and had a can of juice and were able to water the local bushes ourselves. Our guide was very informative and great when we wanted him to stop or back up so we could get a good shot. We covered a huge territory as it was such a large preserve. I will probably be sore tomorrow but it will have been worth it. Altogether a great day. After 3 hours we all clambered out and lined up at the potty again. The ride back was in the dark and guide gave up trying to talk after a bit and we all just sort of vegged out. Hopefully we got some good pictures today. We had dinner as soon as we got back – 630 – and we sailed away at 700. I managed to snag a washer and thew in a load – finished about 900. Dan is upstairs going through pictures. To bed soon. Cape Town is next stop.

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