As we drive from Sydney to London, via Africa, we are sharing our expedition with you. Feel free to read on and say ‘hi’ in the comments below.
Driving out of Lesotho we dipped back into the modern era and drove through the Karoo of South Africa. This region welcomed us with big open skies and endless farming fields – it reminded us a lot of Australia. We drove for hours listening to Mandela’s commemorative service and felt moved and inspired to be in his birth place.
A hot tip had been given to us to visit a town called Nieu Bethseda to see it’s brewery. This place is literally a horse and cart town with dirt streets and plenty of arty types. The brewery was rustic and as inspiring as it comes. We both absolutely loved the ‘take it or leave it’ attitude of the menu having just ONE choice.
^ Welcomed back to civilisation in Clarens with a bucket of German sausage
^ The Karoo
^ The bumpy road to Neiu Bethseda, a slow crawl in a down pour of rain
^ Nieu Bethseda’s brewery
^ Nieu Bethseda’s brewery
^ Good day for ducks, crap day for dogs
^ … and calves
Next stop was Addo Elephant National Park. On entering we were approached buy a stumpy boggle-eyed guard who showed us where the mornings game had been spotted. He penned our map where we had already marked it from the entrance board ten minutes before. He leaned on the door with his head half way in the window and the awkward silence left us with little doubt that he was expecting us to sling him some money. It was quite a funny moment and a-typical of how we have experienced some africans treating us ‘white people’ as walking ATMs. We gave him a cheery ‘Thanks! Enjoy your day!’ and continued on our way.
One-kilometre in we were greeted by an elephant with tusks so long they reached his toes. It was so beautiful to see this graceful giant who has obviously lived a long life. He looked quite content to mow the grass with his trunk. We also spotted our first lions of the trip lazing just metres off the road. It was school holidays in South Africa, and as this park is easily accessible it wasn’t quite an ANIMALS GONE WILD experience, so we shared the lions with plenty of other cars who were lined up to watch. It was special nonetheless to watch the sleeping male lions – they looked so big and strong with paws the size of breakfast bowls.
The most special moments of our days in Addo were the close encounters with the elephants of the park. Just as we pulled up to a waterhole two gigantic guys waltzed on in, shooed out the zebra and hartebeest, and positioned themselves to drink water and splash dirt over each other. On our way out we saw elephants a hundred or so metres ahead on the road so we slowed down and stopped (of course others overtook us and got closer…). Moments later a troop of elephants and their baby chose to walk right by us. We were eye to eye and the mum could have poked those tusks of hers in the window to say ‘Hi!’ (ala. the latest incident in Kruger). But they approached us and were chilled out as they passed on by. It’s our closest encounter with elephants yet. Both my and Gareth’s hearts were pumping fast and we couldn’t quite believe what had just happened.
On the drive out we stopped by the side of the road and saw 100s of elephant in the valley below, it was a scene straight out of a movie.
^ His majesty that welcomed us to Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa
^ The elephants let the zebra’s know who was in charge
^ Lions with paws the size of breakfast bowls
^ Magnificent close encounters + a cool reflection of our lens cap sitting on the dash
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