December 10, 2008

From S. Africa: Typical Day

So here's a typical day on the game reserve: wake up call at 5:00 a.m. (yes, really). Here's a wake up call: knock, knock, knock (outside your door) and then someone says, "Wake up, ladies." Very funny. So we get up, brush our teeth throw on some clothes and go have coffee or tea at 5:30, and then we get on the Land Rover about 5:45 to begin the first game drive of the day.
On the drive you have a guide (driver) and a tracker, who sits on a seat in front of the Land Rover's front grill and you drive through the bush (on some rudimentary roads but sometimes just through the bush, plowing down trees). On this morning's drive we saw water buffalo, giraffes, impala (so up close and personal that it takes your breath away), and an elephant, (with an erection, no less, and let me tell you THAT was impressive)...and on and on. At our last game reserve (Thorny Bush) we spotted the Big Five, which consists of lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo, but this reserve - Sabi Sands - is bigger and more spread out with denser foliage and taller trees so it's harder to find animals. But thrilling when you do. Partway through the drive we stop somewhere in the bush and they make us coffee (instant) or tea or hot chocolate. Very civilized.
The game drive lasts about three hours. Then we come back to the lodge for a lavish breakfast at 9:00 a.m. After that it's free time until a late lunch at 3:00. I mostly use my free time for sleeping but there's also a spa where you can get a massage or manicure, etc.
After lunch, which is at 3:00, we go on the evening game drive where you do it all again, only now it's dusk so you can find different things. Partway through this drive you stop and they serve cocktails and snacks. Again, very civilized.
When we get back at 8:30 we freshen up and have dinner at 9:00. And then the day begins again at 5 the next morning.
I know it sounds exhausting but it's so stunning that you don't even notice how tired you are.
Well...that's not entirely accurate. I'm noticing it right now, actually - it's 10:45 a.m. at the moment - so I'm off for my nap.

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