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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Safari at Amakhala (Nov 3rd)

Today we got up at the horrendous hour of 5.30am for our 8.10am flight from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth. We had decided when planning the honeymoon that driving all the way to Port Elizabeth and back again would be too much for a 2 week holiday so we are flying one way, then hiring a car and driving back to Cape Town.

Our flight was with South African airways and took around 55 minutes to get to Port Elizabeth. We picked up our hire car from Sixt and Stuart was disappointed to find that it was an automatic car as he likes to whizz round corners, changing gear as he goes.

We drove the sixty something kilometres to Amakhala private game reserve (just across the road from Shamwari game reserve) to Leeuenbosch where we are staying for the next 2 nights. At the time of booking the rate was R2180 per person, per trip - the most expensive part of our honeymoon by far, but the rate includes all meals, drinks and two game drives per day.

Checkin time was 2pm, but we arrived at 11am and received a warm welcome and after signing a disclaimer which basically said that we wouldn't sue Amakhala if we were injured or maimed by wild animals, we had a relaxing drink on the verandah and enjoyed the view:



View from the verandah at Shearer's Lodge


While at Amakhala our itinerary will be as follows:


  • 6am - Wakeup call
  • 6.30am - Coffee then set of on our first game drive
  • 10am - Breakfast
  • 2pm - Lunch
  • 3pm - Second game drive
  • 6.30pm - return from game drive
  • 7.30pm - Bar opens
  • 8pm - Dinner

Sounds like a busy day, but at least we will have a few hours after our morning drive to relax after the hustle and bustle of Cape Town.

We spent an hour or so lazing by the pool reading, then had lunch and set off on our first game drive:


Our Safari Vehicle
The weather started off lovely with blue sky and sunshine and almost straight away we saw some zebra and giraffes.



Zebra and Giraffe
Click Here to enlarge Photo


It was amazing to see the giraffes so close to us!



Giraffe at Amakhala
Click Here to enlarge Photo


After a while it became extremely cold and we were glad for our extra layers of clothing and the rugs and ponchos in the truck. Our ranger Matt, from Arizona was excellent and very knowledgeable about the animals and the plants. We saw lots of zebra, giraffes, springbok, rhino, wildebeest, ostrich, as well as many different kinds of birds and some insects including scorpions and spiders.



Zebra at Amakhala
Click Here to enlarge Photo




The drive was very enjoyable apart from the last hour where it absolutely pissed down with rain and I was very glad for the unsexy ponchos at that point.
In the evening we had drinks in the bar with "Uncle Bill" and "Aunt Rose", the owners of Leeuwenbosch. Uncle Bill is certainly quite a character with lots of stories to tell.
We had Ostrich for our main course at dinner, which I had never tried before and it was actally very tasty. I expected it to taste like chicken, but it was more like a very tender beef.
After dinner we had a couple of G&Ts in the bar while listening to stories from Uncle Bill, then it was in bed by 11pm in preparation for our 6am start tomorrow - so much for a relaxing honeymoon!

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