Saturday & Sunday
We started out the day stopping in Addo Elephant Park to have lunch while on the way to Schotia for our safari. We got lucky that there was an elephant drinking some water close to the restaurant! Morgan was adventurous and tried the Kudu -which turned out to be better than I imagined. I’m normally not a fan of game, but when in Africa-right? When we finished lunch we headed to Schotia to get checked in and meet our guide, Peter. There were about 6 vehicles, most of them being open air Range Rovers (you could pay extra for a closed in car… which would have been nice once the sun went down because it got pretty chilly!). Peter was able to gives us tons of interesting information about the animals, which you don’t get if you drive through a park on your own.. so I highly suggesting paying a bit more for the guided safari. Plus this way Morgan could fully enjoy the animals rather than having to focus on driving. We saw: lions, elephants, giraffes, cape buffalo, zebras, kudu, springboks, rhinos, hedgehogs, hippos (only in the water, couldn’t find them when they got out to feed after dark), an alligator, horses and lots more birds and small animals.
Just two weeks before our safari, poachers had flown into Schotia at night in a helicopter, tranquilized Bonnie & Clyde the rhinos, and cut off their horns. Thankfully they did not kill them, which is what the poachers do more often so that they won’t waste their time hunting rhinos just to find they don’t have horns. Bonnie had been pregnant, but sadly after the attack she lost her baby. Rhino horn poaching is a huge problem in SA and if the number or rhinos killed each year keeps doubling each year (as it has for the past 5 years), it will only take 10 years for poachers to kill all the rhinos in SA. In Asian countries, it is (incorrectly) believed that rhino horn cures illnesses, so there is a high demand for them (one horn selling on the black market for over $100k). Hopefully the government can put in more effective measures to discourage the poachers.
We ate dinner in an open air lapa (ring shaped structure where the middle has no roof (and a huge bon fire going to warm us all up), but around the edge is a thatch roof covering where the tables are. The staff had fixed springbok in gravy, broccoli and cheese casserole, potatoes, chicken, mashed sweet potatoes (though their sweet potatoes aren’t orange)… it was delicious! My favorite part was dessert – Malva Pudding – a sweet pudding of Cape Dutch origin, usually served hot with custard and/or ice-cream. However the “pudding” isn’t the pudding we’re used to, it is closer to a cake consistency.
Sunday we walked to the beach so I could stick my feet in the Indian Ocean.. which was quite chilly! After getting packed up and checking out of the hotel we grabbed lunch by the water one last time. Port Elizabeth was really beautiful and a great experience. The only thing I would change would be to have a few more days down there where Morgan wasn’t working so we could have driven along the Garden Route to Cape Town!