As there were 23 of us on tour, we drove up in two Quantum van’s and fortunately for us as we were the 2nd bus to depart, we were able to sleep late on Saturday morning. A leisurely stretch out of bed, morning coffee, a refreshing shower meant that we could cherish one hour of a chillax snail pace speed.
Our first stop of the morning was the farmers market in Slow Town, aptly named because of the laid-back atmosphere of this beautiful town, and one of a handful of Slow Town’s around the world. The majority of skipped breakfast as we were warned there would be tantalising food to eat and that our taste buds would colour us happy with sampling all the goodies. Once the gap was filled, curios were bought, we headed to The Elephant Sanctuary in The Crags, Plettenberg Bay. Some volunteers opted for Monkeyland but Megan & I headed to see the Elephants as this was one project we were negotiating adding to our broad spectrum of projects. Elephants are my great love (besides Rhino’s, Giraffe, Serval, Cheetah, Leopard which all feature high on my list of favourite wildlife animals) but to get up close with an Elephant was on my bucket list.
The guides are extremely tender with the Ellies and can read any body language sign. I love the feel of the elephant, the soft patches, the rough patches and the hard patches. They are only youngsters but it is the aim of The Elephant Sanctuary to one day release them to make it out on their own. Luckily for them, they will have each other.
Megan and I were taken for a walk around the facility and explained what the volunteer would experience on this project. The facility and the accommodation is in the most peaceful and tranquil valley where forest of trees surround you for miles around. This was a project we were excited to be introducing. We chatted about ethical volunteering and none of their elephants have ever be trained, chained, beaten or harmed in any way.
Next stop – lunch and it was right next door to the Sanctuary. They made the most-delicious-absolutely-to-die-for burgers and fries (the thin American-styled fries) and what better way to wash that down in the hot winter sun, but with an ICE cold Savannah. By now I was thinking that Cape To Addo needed to introduce a Gourmet Food & Drink Tour as so far we have been surprised with the most awesome restaurants with the most magnificent meals on the menu.
Lunch was a lively chatter with quotes like “are you going to eat all of that … you do realise you might throw up your food whilst bungee jumping” or “I still don’t know if I am going to jump” and those who were outwardly brave were trying to make this adventure sound like a walk in the park. As we crossed several bridges it was all laughs until we received the Bloukrans River Bridge and the words escaping the mouths of these young dare-devils made us laugh until our sides ached. You would not catch me jumping from that bridge so a volunteer and I sat in the pub and watched it on the TV, whilst continuing to sip on ice cold apple cider. It is good to have my fruit during the day and I was determined to keep my healthy attitude going during this tour.
After the jump and the volunteers had collected their certificates and picked up the video we headed back to Sedgefield. I have never seen a bunch of wound up, bouncing-off-the-ceiling youngsters, as this bunch. The adrenaline rush was so great that we knew they had to come down from the high and then the crash came! Within minutes they were all fast sleep and slept until we reached the Backpackers. Me? I fell asleep too and woke myself up snorking like a little piglet which had everyone who was awake, laughing at me. At least I was entertaining!