Again, we felt much better with food in our bellies. It was during that lunching that we met our South African prof, Dr. Dan Parker. That is where the hilarity ensues and where I leave this blog for my fellow AWE friends to continue. Stay tuned for funny stories, adventures and beautiful views of our time in South Africa, thank you for reading and keep following us from Maddie.
And now it is my turn, Ashley to share my experiences.
Today, was the last travel day for the AWE group as we landed in Johannesburg, South Africa. The long 11 and half hour flight was very taxing for everyone. The next stop, as we wandered through the airport, was to meet Dr. Dan Parker from Rhodes University at a restaurant called Jacksons. He was taking the next flight with us. Dr. Parker is very interesting and I found him to be quite funny as well as very knowledgeable. The meal was refreshing after having plane food. It was exciting to know that there was only one more flight, to Port Elizabeth, at 11:10 am lasting a wimpy 1.5 hours, comparing it to the pervious 11.5 hour flight.
After our meal we departed for Port Elizabeth, it went without any problems and we landed to a lot warmer weather than the group expected, South Africa is in winter at the moment. The sweating started right away, I must admit I was quite happy I was wearing a black shirt so it didn’t show as badly. The group then headed to the van to pack up all the luggage for the trip to Storms River Bridge Rest Camp, 2.5 hours away, with a quick pit stop to the grocery store, Pick ‘n Pay in the Walmer Park Shopping Mall. Around 20 minutes before the camp we stopped at the Storms River bridge rest stop where we tried different types of biltong: kudu and beef. I would definitely not mind having this dried meat in Canada as it was much better than beef jerky. The first taste of South Africa never tasted so good. The view off the bridge looking down the gorge was amazing and a breathtaking moment to what was to lie ahead. The last 20 minutes of the drive made me realize where I was and the excitement of the trip started to set in.
The arrival at the camp brought us right to the coast of the Indian ocean with cabins scattered across the shoreline. Dan then drove us down to where we would be staying, a little bit further into a forested area. We first stopped at the restaurant-reception area where we saw our first wildlife, the dassie (rock hyrax), which is the closest living relative to the elephant (strange but true as it is the size of a groundhog). The group got out and picked roommates for the next 3 nights so we could finally get a hot shower. I really did feel bad for the rest of the group as the long travel had made my deodorant rather ineffective at making me smell normal. I called first shower as we figured out where our cabins were but my roommate Jessica didn’t mind too much, I think she was being polite. After everyone settled in, the group waited for Dan to arrive. The majority of us were ready but as everyone waited in the van for Maddie and Megan we noticed only shadows through the window. I think around 10 minutes passed before they emerged victorious over their cabin door. They had apparently locked themselves in and couldn’t get the door open. Even after emerging they had some more trouble locking the door again. It was probably the exhaustion from the long travel kicking in. The girls hopped in so Dan could drive us over for supper and we gathered at the restaurant called Cattle Baron around 7pm within the camp.
Dinner was filled with interesting conversation and fantastic food, I had the best burger I had ever eaten topped with an egg and avocado. The rest of the night after dinner was getting ready for the adventure to follow the next day, a day of hiking. The sound of the crashing waves surprisingly were very soothing and we all fell asleep with little difficulty! That’s it from me, Ashely Tait until the next time!