Storms River Adrenaline

So after the safari I headed from Port Elizabeth to a little village called Storms River. I stayed at Dijembe Backpackers, which is such a cool place. You can just feel the good times from previous guests ooze out of the walls.

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See that white fuzzy thing? That’s a goat. A goat that looks like a sheep and acts like a dog

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After arriving on Sunday, I mostly chilled and read what people had written on the walls. I took photos of some of my favorites

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A French girl, Emanuelle, was also staying there. We played some pool (with me failing hard core- I’m awful at pool) and then planned several activities for the next day.

I also borrowed a bike and rode to the market to get some food. Beautiful village!

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We woke up Mondayย morning and packed our bags for a long day. We then headed downstairs to take advantage of the free pancakes (well, we had to cook them ourselves, but still. Free food!)

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Cooking free pancakes!

Emanuelle taught me how to flip the pancakes by tossing them in the pan. I’m super proud of this new skill ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

We then hopped in a shuttle (more of a taxi, really. But they called it a shuttle so who am I to change the name?) and went to the Tsitsikamma section of Garden Route National Park. We were dropped off at a parking lot on the thin bit of land between the mountains and the sea. After applying sunscreen, we started hiking. We went mostly along the coast, occasionally going into the bush (or jungle? It seemed pretty jungle-ey to me).

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In the bush, everything was shades of green, the ground was moist, and the vegetation so thick with trees and vines that we couldn’t see more than a few feet off the trail most times. I felt like I was in Tarzan. Especially when we saw baboons running along the rocks beneath us.

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So many pretty flowers!

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I love the red and white on these rocks against the blue of the sky and the sea

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Seriously y’all, it was JUST LIKE Tarzan

We eventually turned around and headed back to the parking lot. We ate a quick lunch outside the stall for Untouched Adventures, who we would be doing our next activity with.

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Lunch views

Once full, we geared up and met with a guide to go kayaking up Storms River. We picked the perfect time to kayak- there was no one else in our group! So we got our fantastic guide Tate all to ourselves.

We kayaked across the ocean just a bit and then headed into the mouth of the river.

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The mouth of the river- there’s a bridge going across it that baboons like to hang out at.

The walls of the canyon rose above us, covered in moss, mold, and vines. I was in awe the entire time. Eventually we reached a point where the kayaks could not continue. So we jumped on lilos- thick, red inflatable rafts that we just laid down on and paddled with our hands. We went a bit further up the river,, walked around some col rocks, and then headed back to the kayaks. Near the kayaks was a cliff that people often climb up to and then jump into the water. So we did that too ๐Ÿ™‚ It was a short jump, maybe 3 or 4 meters. But the water was cold and refreshing. I was most certainly awake after that!

While kayaking back, we saw a bunch of White Breasted Cormorants sitting on the rocks and drying their wings. And beneath the water we saw countless stingrays.

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Emanuelle and I, post kayak & lilo trip

Once back at the parking lot, we dried off, changed into dry clothes, and hopped on a shuttle to our next stop- a bridge. A very very tall bridge. Which we jumped off.

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1, 2, 3, BUNJEE! Photo credit: Face Adrenaline South Africa

So, bunjee jumping is cool, and I most certainly enjoyed myself, but I don’t need to do that again. Nope, I am good. But glad I did it once ๐Ÿ™‚

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Before the jump! Photo credit Face Adrenaline South Africa

Not gonna lie, I cursed for the entire first and second drop. At that point I tried to relax my body and focused on my breathing. Basically, I turned into a puppet.

We jumped off the Bloukans Bridge- at 216m high it is the highest commerical bungy jump in the world and the largest bridge in Africa. Face Adrenaline kept us safe and took these great photos and videos! The staff on the bridge are really fun, energetic, and professional.

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After the jump. Photo credit: Face Adrenaline South Africa

And after that exciting event, we headed back to our hostel. Because we signed up for kayaking together, we got a voucher for a free pizza at the pizza place in the village. We borrowed bikes and rode to the restaurant/bar and had a very delicious pizza. A group of six French guys wandered in and ended up sitting with us. Emmanuelle really enjoyed the opportunity to speak French again! We hung out with them for quite a while. I even learned some French! The hard part, of course, is remembering it the day after… Anyways, the evening ended at our hostel, my playing guitar and one of the hostel staff, Ziggy, playing a djmebe. We jammed until 1am and then I had to call it.

Damn what a great day. Pancakes, ocean, jungle, baboons, kayaking, jumping off cliffs, jumping off bridges, pizza, new friends, and music. People, life is pretty awesome ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

South African Safari

That’s right y’all. I went on a safari ^_^

On Saturday, my first full day in South Africa, I joined a guided tour to Addo Elephant National Park and Schotia Private Game Reserve. It was a small tour, just myself and three other young women. So that was really nice, not being in some huge crowded tour bus.

Addo National Park was started in 1931ย with only 22 elephants and 2270 hectares (about 8.8 square miles)ย of land. Today, it boasts over 600 elephants and 164000 hectraes (633 square miles). It’s conservation efforts have also expanded to protect a variety of species, resulting in reintroduction of animals such as buffalo and lions. And boy did we see some elephants! Before we even entered the park we saw one on the side of the road. And we saw many many more throughout the day

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I actually wrote down every thing we saw so I wouldn’t forget. Here’s my list:

  • Elephant
  • Vervet Monkeys
  • Red Heart Beast
  • Warthog
  • Zebra
  • African Buffalo
  • Black Headed Heron
  • Kudu
  • 2 Cheetahs lazing about by the Red Heart Beast carcass they took down earlier in the day
  • Eland

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After Addo we headed to Schotia for lunch and then more safari. We went to a private game reserve because national parks in South Africa can only reintroduce species that were historically present. A private reserve, however, can have animals that are adapted to the conditions in the area but weren’t necessarily there naturally. I think there may also have been fewer restrictions, by which I mean in Addo we had to stay inside the car all the time whereas in Schotia we were in an open air vehicle and got out to walk around a bit.

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Our ride for the afternoon & evening

After driving around and seeing many wildebeest, antelope, elephants, and zebra, we stopped at a termite mound. Apparently they’re a great source of protein!

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My list for what we saw in Schotia is suuuuuuper long. There were so many different animals! And they all coexisted- antelopes and zebra all in the same fields to improve their safety. Here’s the list of what I saw:

  • Wildebeest
  • Red Antelope
  • Water Buck Antelope
  • Zebra
  • Inguni Oxen
  • Guinea Fowl
  • Brown Antelope
  • Nylaa Antelope
  • Kudu
  • Termites
  • Giraffes!
  • Elephants
  • Spring Buck (National Animal of SOuth Africa)
  • White Rhino
  • Reedbuck
  • Buffalo
  • Mountain Reed Buck
  • Sable Antelope
  • Lions!
  • Blesbuck
  • Spring Hare
  • Baby Crocodiles
  • Hippo

Sooooooo yeah. I saw a lot! Here are some pictures and videos I took ๐Ÿ™‚

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Zebra!

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Giraffe! We got out of the vehicle to walk closer to these guys. Super cool!

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White Rhino!

While watching the lions I kept thinking of Dash and how much he loves “Daddy Lions.” I tried to get some photos and videos to share with him, hopefully he enjoys them ๐Ÿ™‚

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Pretty much the whole day I kept thinking “Is this real life?” Scuba diving felt like The Little Mermaid and this safari felt like The Lion King. And it was just amazing.

More in a bit y’all, I think this is enough for one post. Sending love โค