Helen’s birthday today and I presented her with my present, carried all the way from Nottingham, at breakfast. Breakfast had been proudly described as “none of that uncouth sausage and bacon stuff” which had made my heart sink but was actually very nice and a good change from the huge amounts of meat that you traditionally get for every meal in South Africa. And my first opportunity to eat rusk on this trip!
Louise was up early today to fly from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg and then home to England. Helen, Dave and I were up at a more leisurely hour for a day of driving around Addo Elephant National Park. On the way we followed a truck full of lemons which appeared to be determined to deposit as many of them as possible all over the road. This was amusing at first as one or two came bouncing past but eventually it started to dump 20 or so at a time all over the road causing Helen to slow and swerve. We gave the truck a wide berth after that and the car had a refreshing citrus smell! On the way into the park we ironically passed a sign forbidding the bringing of citrus fruit into the park.
Helen drove in the morning and we saw quite a few animals including elephants (of course!), kudu, ostrich, millions of warthogs and jackals. Had to do quite a bit of reversing when a big bull elephant decided that he wanted to walk down the middle of the road.
Stopped for lunch at the restaurant on the site and for a look round the gift shop. Helen got a call from Lou to say that she had been asked to stay in South Africa for a few days to pick up some film and bring it back to the UK. So she would be waiting for us when we got back to the backpackers! After lunch I took over the driving and we saw many of the same animals that we saw in the morning. We also saw buffalo, red hartebeest, yellow mongoose and black backed jackals.
Got out of the park just as the gates were closing and just in time to join the night drive that Dave had booked for us. The weather was clear but pretty cold during the day and was even colder by night. Despite jumper, woolly hat and hood and a blanket I was still freezing! Saw plenty of animals we hadn’t seen in the day, including owls, hares and hyenas plus elephant and kudu.
I was glad to get back into the car and warm up after the drive and we were all happy to see Louise again when we returned to the Aardvark. We shelved plans to go to a highly recommended local restaurant and prepared yesterday’s meal inside in the kitchen.