The Garden Route!

After having a day to recover, I am finally ready to post about the most amazing weekend ever.  This past weekend a friend and I decided to go on a trip to The Garden Route!  The Garden Route is a stretch of the south-eastern coast of South Africa.  I have heard wonderful reviews from this trip and it was highly recommended that I’d venture to The Garden Route during my stay here in South Africa.  My friend and I looked into different trips and chose to do the 3-day trip with HotSpots.  HotSpots is the company we went with.  Our tour guide was extremely personable and I would recommend the company to anyone interested in going on The Garden Route.  So now it’s time for the fun part!

Day 1 – Driving and walking with animals

Our trip began at 7:30 a.m. on Friday morning.  We took the train to Cape Town where we got picked up for our 3-day adventure.  (Little did I know that it took 5 hours to get there…. nap time!)  Once we arrived it was time for my first REAL safari!

Big 5 GAME DRIVE

The safari was absolutely fantastic.  We went on a 4×4 vehicle in a private game preserve.  Are you wondering why it is called the Big 5 game drive?  Big 5 was coined by big game hunters and refers to the five most difficult animals to hunt on for in Africa.  Do you think you can guess what the big 5 animals are?  Go ahead try!  …… Okay, one more minute!  Now you may scroll down for the answers!

  1. African elephant
  2. African leopard
  3. African lion
  4. Cape buffalo
  5. White/Black rhinoceros

Did anybody get them all right?!  If so, give yourself a pat on the back!  Job well done! 🙂

During the beginning of the safari we got really close to a cape cobra.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a picture because it slithered away very quickly! (Thank goodness.  I was starting to get nervous it was going to jump up and bite me!)  We also got very close to another animal.  If you know my sister and what she is highly obsessed with, you would guess this animal in a split second.  It’s a giraffe!  The safari was beautiful besides how cold it got as we were venturing to the top of the mountain.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the safari!

Rhinoceros

Rhinoceros

My attempt at taking a selfie with a giraffe for my sister!

My attempt at taking a selfie with a giraffe for my sister!

Lion

Lion

Lion

Lion

Zebra

Zebra

Giraffe

Giraffe

Giraffe

Giraffe

Ostrich and little babies!

Ostrich and little babies!

Elephant family :)

Elephant family 🙂

Lion Walk

At the end of the safari they dropped us off with lions.  No, they really did.  We all went on a walk with Africa’s most majestic predators, lions.  The two lions that we walked with were cousins and reminded me so much of Simba and Nala from The Lion King.  (I totally had a moment!)  The walk lasted for a little over an hour and was spectacular.  The lion guides gave us several opportunities to take pictures with the lions in various settings.  My favorite part of the walk was when one of the guides threw balls of raw meat (food) in a tree for the lion to eat.  It was out of this world seeing one of the lions jump up in the tree to get his food.  He jumped up right away!  He was probably starving!  (I’m glad he went for the raw meat and not me!)

Running away into the sunset!  Goodbye friends!

Running away into the sunset! Goodbye friends!

Beautiful.

Beautiful.

Posing.

Posing.

Nala and Simba <3

Nala and Simba ❤

Climbing the tree!  Where is my food at?

Climbing the tree! Where is my food at?

Paw print!

Paw print!

Roar!!

Roar!!

Lions!

Lions!

Lions kisses!

Lions kisses!

The day came to an end as we drove to our backpackers hotel for the night.  The hotel we stayed at was called, Afrovibe.  It was a really cool hotel right on the beach.  Unfortunately, it was raining so we couldn’t enjoy the beautiful view and beach!  (That’s okay because we were all really tired.)  Once we were all settled we went for a yummy traditional South African dinner!  (Chicken, rice, and vegetables! – I had seconds! :p)  After dinner we were all exhausted and headed to bed super early (8:30 p.m. – I am old.)

Afrovibe!

Afrovibe!

Day 2 – The longest and best day ever

Face Adrenalin – The World’s Highest Bungy Bridge

I woke up to a 6:30 a.m. wake up call!  Time to go bungy jumping!  It took us about 2 hours until we arrived at the bungy bridge.  As soon as I saw the bridge I started getting chills.  I got all of my gear on and was ready to conquer the jump!  We all walked across the bridge to where the jump was.  When we reached the jumping area they called us one by one for our jumps.  As soon as they called my number I screamed and was ready for the jump!  (I triple checked that I was safely fastened and wasn’t at risk of falling into the rocks!  Luckily, I did trust the workers because they were very friendly and trusting.)  Once I was fully fastened they walked me out to the edge of the bridge.  They counted to three and off I went!  It was the scariest thing I ever did in my entire life.  It is hard for me to remember the jump because I was in awe the entire time.  When the jump was over I was hanging there for a solid two minutes.  (Literally thinking that my feet were going to fall out of the straps)  The guy came down to rescue me acting all relaxed, meanwhile I just wanted to plant my feet on solid ground!)

If I am jumping off the world’s largest bungy jump the only way to do it is shirtless.  Call me crazy but when will I ever have a chance to do something this wild ever again.  I had to go all out! 🙂  When I got back to the top all of the guys told me that I have to jump backwards next time.  I said, “Yeah….no thank you”

Pre-jump!

Pre-jump!

Ready

Ready

Set

Set

GO!

GO!

The jump!

The jump!

Rescuing me!

Rescuing me!

Rescuing me!

Rescuing me!

I did it!

I did it!

Woo!

Woo!

 Ostrich Farm!

It started down pouring as soon as we were getting ready to go kayaking down a river.  Thankfully it did or else we wouldn’t have been able to visit the ostrich farm.  I am terrified of this animal but South Africa is teaching me how to get rid of fear and turn it into fun!  When we got to the ostrich farm our tour began with an introduction on ostriches.

Fun facts:

  • An ostrich is the largest flightless bird in the world
  • Its eyes are bigger than its brain.
  • Females – Gray feathers
  • Males – Black feathers
  • THEY ARE CRAZY! (Okay, maybe not a fact but in my mind it is!)

We were finally able to meet one of the ostriches!  Our first friend we met was named Betsy!  She was so friendly!  She wanted to give me a hug so I gave it an attempt.

I was scared.

I was scared.

She went in for a big hug!

She went in for a big hug!

She loves me.

She loves me.

After hugging good ole’ Betsy it was time to ride an ostrich.  Of course I was the only one in my group to fall off of the ostrich.  (But hey!  At least I was able to provide everyone with live entertainment for the afternoon!)  I have a video of my ostrich ride.  I am unable to post the video due to it being to large to post.  If you see me and ask to see it I will be sure to show you! (You may have to bring popcorn! :p)

On our way out we had another opportunity to interact with them.  We got to feed them!  When I went to feed an ostrich it had a little bit of food in it, so luckily only one ostrich was there.  Then our tour guide decided to dump a bucket full of food into the bucket to torture me.  SURPRISE!

They are out to get me!

They are out to get me!

Uh-oh!

Uh-oh!

Starving birds!

Starving birds!

They were hungry!

They were hungry!

Were we rode ostriches!

Where we rode ostriches!

Standing on ostrich eggs!

Standing on ostrich eggs!

Elephant Feed & Ride!

If there is one person I think of when it comes to elephants it is my grandma.  Ever since I was a young boy I remember her elephant collection and love for the animal.  I had to dedicate my ride to my loving grandma!

When I first sat on the elephant my leg started to cramp.  It was so painful and the guy couldn’t understand why I wasn’t resting my leg.  After about a minute my leg decided to stop cramping and I was ready to enjoy the ride!  It was actually really scary.  It was a beautiful view and the elephant was very calm but I felt like at any moment I was going to fall off of this very large animal.  Once we reached the water our elephant used his trunk to drink some water (It was really cute).  After everyone rode an elephant, we were able to feed them!  We fed them a bunch of fruit! (Apples, mangos, pears, etc.)  I was nervous to feed the elephant because I thought it was going to bite my hand!  It turned out that my elephant was very friendly.  She kept wrapping her trunk around me to give me a hug.  (I think she had a crush on me….sorry elephant!)

Here they come!

Here they come!

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Riding an elephant!

10410240_10152520600643105_5582605885782776102_n

Off we go!

1471303_10152520600983105_6947451220534696147_n

She was so thirsty! 🙂

Wow.

Wow.

S"ELPH"ie

S”ELPH”ie

Hugs!

Hugs!

Feeding the elephant

Feeding an elephant!

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Feeding an elephant!

Tap dancing!

Tap dancing!

Doing tricks with her trunk! 😛

Beautiful.

Stunning!

Stunning!

I think I had enough animal interactions for the rest of my life after today.  A long day filled with once in a life time activities left us all completely drained.  When we arrived at our next hotel dinner was waiting for us.  I made a poor life decision and ordered ostrich.  I couldn’t stop thinking of me riding the bird the entire time.  It was the most difficult meal for me to eat.

Ostrich kabobs!  I am so sorry Betsy!

Ostrich kabobs! I am so sorry Betsy!

Day 3 – Cango Caves

Our last stop on the 3-day trip was at Cango Caves.  Cango Caves is located in Precambrian limestones at the foothills of the Swartberg range near the town of Oudtshoorn.   The principal cave is one of the country’s finest, best known, and most popular tourist caves, and attracts many visitors from overseas.  As we walked through the cave the view was outstanding.  When we were at the one section of the tour our guide asked if anyone could sing.  My friend pushed me and raised me hand.  She told me to sing a song (of course I chose to sing “Part Of Your World” from The Little Mermaid).  The reason she wanted someone to sing is so everyone could hear the echo from inside the cave.  After singing my little heart out we went on the adventure part of the tour and climbed through tunnels and small spaces!  It was very challenging but tons of fun!

Cango Cave!

Cango Cave!

Cango Cave!

Cango Cave!

Cango Cave!

Cango Cave!

Ready to climb through the cave!!

Ready to climb through the cave!!

Cango Cave!

Cango Cave!

Cango Cave!

Cango Cave!

Climbing through the cave!

Climbing through the cave!!

Climbing through the cave!!

Climbing through the cave!!

Cango Cave was the final stop on our 3-day garden route tour.  I had such an amazing weekend, I’m sure you can tell from my super long blog post!  I hope you enjoy the pictures I posted for your enjoyment!  Please feel free to comment on my posts with any questions!  I would love to answer them and share more stories!  Cheers! 🙂

 

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