Addo Elephant National Park/East London, Day 41- We took the early morning safari with Jonathan. That meant being up at 5 am to leave at 6 am with the sun just barely peeking over the horizon. It was cold, we had on winter gloves and 3 layers with a blanket provided by the lodge. Our safari companions, Phil and Jane from Manchester, England, kindly switched places with us, so we could have a turn being in front. This allowed us to act as wind breaks….brrrrr!
Wish I could send you a little packet of of the fragrant smell of the bush in the morning. The dew accentuates the smell, sort of sage, with a bit of floral, sharp and clean. Very heady…. There was floating mist in the valleys, as can be seen the the featured photo of an old farm.
We had a wonderful trip out, seeing two young male Hartebeest, play fighting. Jonathan found Giraffes, Cape Buffalo, Velvet Monkeys and a Wildebeest.
We regretfully checked out and started driving east on dirt roads, completing our morning with a Pete safari. We saw a Warthog, more Velvet monkeys, Kudu, Springboks, Steenboks and Wildebeest.
We passed through two little charming towns , Paterson and Bathurst. Bathurst looked like a small artists colony, but in actuality is a famous Eastern Cape drinking town. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to stop, as time and gas were running short. GOG for Good Old Grahamstown is a well preserved settlers city of 50,217 with Rhodes University. Pete said, “they are all Rhodes scholars”. The gas gauge was redlining, so finding a city with gas stations was especially exciting. The beautiful Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian architecture is a treat, but the history is bloody with Grahamstown being the site of a fierce frontier battle between the Xhosa and European settlers.
We finally arrived in East London of population 267,000. It’s a good size city where we are definitely in the racial minority. We feel like we are experiencing a older version of Africa the further east we travel.
An aside, on our travels in the eastern cape over the last few days we have been seeing a fair number of familiar wind turbines. Vestas is doing well in South Africa.