To Africa and Back
Last night I had a huge scare – while reviewing my pre-departure information, I saw that the 2012 start and end dates varied from the dates that I thought I would be working at the cheetah rehabilitation. I felt all of the air escape my lungs because I would be arriving Port Elizabeth a full day after the dates listed on the pre-departure. When I went through all of my correspondence, however, including confirmation letters from both my Khaya contact and the owner of the reserve, the dates listed matched what I had originally anticipated. It still worried me, so I sent an email to the woman at Khaya, and I realized something: the email I was replying to from her was asking for details on where I’d like to be dropped off. On the 14th. Which was the departure date in all of my confirmation letters, too. I’m thinking it’s simply a typographical error since everything but that one document lists different dates, but what a scare!
Other than that, I’ve spent the day filling in a bit of information in my notebook (car rental confirmation, directions, etc,) contacting safari operators, and researching Addo accommodations. I’m thinking about switching my hostel in Addo because the Orange Elephant failed to tell me until I specifically inquired about payments that they can only accept cash. They told me their credit card machine has been down for quite some time, and it won’t be fixed by the time I arrive. I’m disappointed that they would have let me show up absolutely unaware that credit cards weren’t accepted; I would have expected it to be in the email when we talked about booking and deposit. But no, nothing. And now that I’m not relying on Baz Bus for transport, I’m free to stay wherever I like. I’m looking into two beautiful places just outside of the Addo Elephant Park: Camp Figtree and the Dung Beetle Guest Farm. Figtree is a bit more expensive, but it’s this beautiful, luxurious oasis in the Zuurberg mountains. Dungbeetle offers bush cabins that are the exact opposite: rugged and outdoorsy, capturing the feeling of old Africa. It also offers beautiful mountain scenery. Part of my decision will be based upon the information I get from the tour companies. Let me know what you think!
In addition to the city tour and safari operators, I’ve also contacted the Botlierskop Reserve about a horseback riding safari. It’s a bit outside of George (and Victoria Bay,) so I would love to stop on my way to Cape Town. It’s also near the Cango Caves and the Oudtshoorn, where I hope to ride an ostrich and go on a basic cave tour. (I looked into the adventure tour, and I hyperventilated at the sight of the 27cm tunnel on the tour – perhaps another time, when I have someone there to encourage me!) I just need to pick which one to do on my birthday! There are a few other activities I’d like to plan – zip lining in Tsitsikamma, whale watching, and ??? – but I’m sure I can plan a lot of that along the way.
So what is there left to do really? Well, the biggest thing is packing, so I’ve decided tomorrow will be designated for Harry Potter 7 and 8 while I pack. I’ve been wanting to watch the movie ever since I saw that Carbonite file backup commercial, (“You’re going to lose everything, Harry Potter” – Voldemort; “You’re going to lose everything” -creepy Carbonite grandmother) and I figure what better time to do so while packing? I haven’t actually watched the second half since I saw it in theaters. Along with stopping by the travel clinic and picking up my Ciprofloxacin, it should be plenty to do tomorrow while it (supposedly) rains. And lucky for me, I have created a meticulous packing list with different symbols denoting whether the item has been purchased and when it’s been packed. Yes, I am that crazy.
That’s all for now. I will update tomorrow when I’m trying to avoid packing. I can’t believe I leave on Thursday!