Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A trip to the Ceres, or, Animals of the more exotic sort seen in Africa

2012.06.17-IMG_4260 The Inverdoorn Game Reserve was quite nice. We were picked up by Richard (our driver) promptly at 0900 and were soon on the road. We were soon out of Cape Town and headed towards the mountains. I wasn't really expecting to go through the mountains, instead imagining a slow transition from the more grassy areas of Cape Town to the more dessert-y areas. 

The roads instead started to climb and turned into the twisty two-lane roads familar from the Sierra foothills. At near the peak of our climb, we paused for a scenic overlook that was quite spectacular.

Going down the other side of the mountain, we stopped in a small town, Ceres, for a bio-break and shopping (if you needed anything). We picked up some sundries and a bottle of Klipdrift South African brandy (which would serve us well in the coming days).

Arriving at Inverdoorn, we were met in the outdoor reception and signed a long, small print indemity release. Then, we were taken to our chalets. Very nice stucco buildings, two people to a chalet. Local decorations included springbok rugs and a native crafts. Best part was a rooftop patio where we could later scan the horizon, watch the stars and see the sunrise.


Lunch was at one and we ate out in a big patio. A very nice buffet and then some time to get ready for the first safari.

So, let me first off say that calling a ride in a Land Rover in a game reserve a "safari" was a bit of a stretch for me, but that was the term used. So be it. We had our group of 5 plus a mother daughter from Brasil (daughter and her German friend studying English in South Africa - which, again, in my opinion, was a strange choice!), and a Cape Town couple on a short holiday.

Our guide was guide was Alex, youngish fellow, very engaged and knowledgable. Drove around for about 2.5 hours. Bright and sunny at first, but then got pretty chilly. Stopped at one point for a little picnic with hot tea/coffee/cocoa.

So, we saw:
Cheetahs, Lions, Springbok, Rhinos, Ostrich, Zebra, Wildebeast, Cape Buffalo, Giraffe (maybe some other horned antelope types - started to loose track of them).


Back to the lodge, went to the rooms, freshened up. Doug brought out the brandy and we sat on the roof and sipped a bit before going off to dinner. Met up at the fire pit; chatted with the others in the group (the 10 on the safari were the only people around). Doug, Christine and Alex (the guide) fiddled with the fire for a bit. Sipped more brandy.

Dinner time. Sat at the "Giononni/Holland" table. Lots of little appetizers brought. Ordered a bottle of Chenin Blanc. Four pork dishes and 1 fish (William); some troubles with the order and not enough pork. Lots of chatter with the wait staff. Eventually more pork arrived.

Went back to the cabins and then up on the roof for a final nightcap. Lots of bats flying around, stars a bit obscured by the clouds, but overall quite nice. All to bed.

2012.06.17-IMG_4297 2012.06.17-IMG_4347 2012.06.16-IMG_4209

Woke up around 7:00 am the next day. William and I went out to rustle up some coffee. Hoping to get some in a takeaway cup, but instead were given a full coffee service. Met up with the rest of the group at the main lodge for breakfast. Cereal, crepes, yogurt, an option for bacon, eggs, and sausage. Back to the rooms to finish packing; over to reception to check out. Also got the wifi password that they were having trouble with on Saturday, but only had time to sign on for a quick few minutes. 

Back to the meeting point to hook up with Alex for the 10:30 safari. We gave him a BHL button, cards and lecture. The Cape Town couple bailed out on the safari, but two Indian fellows joined us. Away we went.

Took a different route this time. Today, the lions were more active and we got very close to the rhinos, Cape Buffalo, Zebras and cheetahs. Hippos were added today and also a "walk with the giraffes" (who didn't cooperate and ran off).

Back to the lodge by 12:30, freshened up in the rooms, finished packing and were debating what we should do (get lunch or go) when the van and driver arrived and said we were going. So we went, packed up the van, headed out. French owner woman stopped us at the gate to wish us farewell and also ask for 30 Rand for the wifi vouchers.

Took a different route back, everybody fell asleep in the van and before you knew it, we were pulling up at the Cape Town Lodge for our last night in South Africa.

So, in terms of animals we saw quite a few. Ok, so I admit that the main sighting occured in a game preserve, in an area of South Africa where many of these animals are no longer native, but all in all, these species all pretty much lived in the same general area at one time or the other.

So, in more or less in the wild (around Cape Town):
  • Cape Zebra
  • Bat
  • Seal
See on the game reserve safari:
  • Ostrich
  • Cheetah
  • Wildebeast
  • Zebra
  • Lion
  • Rhino
  • Oryx
  • Kudu
  • Impala
  • Springbok
  • Antelope
  • Hippo
  • Eland
  • Cape Buffalo

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