We started the fourth day of our trip off with a breakfast buffet courtesy of Afrovibe. The kids had their choice of everything from cereal, fruits, toasts, muffins, and juices. We all stuffed ourselves and finished packing our things for our last day on the road before we returned to Kayamandi. Hotspots booked a safari game drive for us later on, but we still had enough time for the boys to play soccer on the sand dunes near the hostel. I took this time to collect sand from the beach nearby for some of our contributors.
One of the perks for donating is a “special gift” from Chris and I. We didn’t specify what the gift was because we weren’t sure if our gift was exactly legal to offer. I’ll tell you all what it is now though! Since I left to Vietnam last June, I have been collecting bottles of sand from each country I visited. Each bottle of sand I have is wonderfully different from one another. The red sand from the dunes in Mui Ne, Vietnam; the crystal-like pebbles from the coast of Koh Phangan, Thailand, the snow white sand from Koh Rong, Cambodia and now the brown sugar sand of Myoli’s Beach South Africa. Laos is a landlocked country so I didn’t come across any great sand there. I have two other countries I’m visiting before my whole trip is over and I plan on snagging some sand from those areas too. My plan is to layer the different sands in glass bottles and tag them with brief descriptions on where the sand came from and then send them to those who wanted the “special gift” perk. We didn’t want to buy a typical souvenir and just use those as special gifts. We thought this one was a little more thoughtful and a pretty cool idea. 🙂
Now with my fourth bottle of sand in tow, we set to our destination of the day, a safari game drive! This would for sure be a big highlight of the trip for the boys. It would entail a two hour drive through a massive 7,000 acre game park! When we arrived there, we were greeted by our personal safari guide who pulled up in an open-view safari jeep that held all of us comfortably. I sat in the back next to Atha and RiRi so I could take shots from the rear. The guide warned everyone to make sure we keep our hands inside the jeep otherwise a wild animal could get a chunk of it! We were pretty much the only safari jeep on course, from what we could see, which meant there was no rush with any of the animals today. We first drove to a field that was really close to the main building that held a herd of wildebeest. You know wildebeests. They are the animals that recklessly trampled over Mufasa.
We moved on over to where a family of elephants were eating shrubs. They minded their own business as we parked really close next to them.
There were two adult elephants and a baby one. The guide told us that elephants are one of the only animals that are family oriented and they tend to stick together for life, unlike other animals which will kick others out if they feel like they can become a threat. We continued on through the park afterwards.
The roads were a little bumpy and hilly. I looked over to my right and noticed Atha had his head down leaning on the seat in front of him. He was like that pretty much the whole safari trip. I knew something was wrong because he was usually one of the more talkative ones in the group. Athabile is 15 years old, making him the oldest one of the bunch. He attends Makuphulu High School as a freshman. He lives the furthest away in Kayamandi in probably some of the toughest conditions; his whole area has no electricity. When I was here last year, Atha was a bit of a bully towards some of the other kids. I constantly had to reprimand him and tell him to knock it off. I wasn’t positive if he understood me fully though because his English isn’t up to par with the others. His bullying got worse the closer it came to me leaving. Coming back now, I always wondered how he fared with the others since I left and it seems like this time he has lightened up a bit. He’s good buddies with Ski and when they’re together, I’d have to keep an eye on them because they’re always up to no good! Overall, he’s a great kid who just needs a little more positive guidance in his life. We are helping as much as we can in that cause. I’m still not sure if he was feeling sick or what during the safari but whenever we stopped to see some animals, he perked right up! We saw a dazzle of zebras and a flock of ostriches nearby amongst many types of antelopes.
We drove past some giraffes who were in the middle of eating. I don’t think the boys have ever seen a giraffe before either. One of the giraffes was pregnant. Our guide mentioned that giraffes can’t keep their heads hanging low for a long time or otherwise their heart would stop beating. Also, a giraffe could kill a human or any other mammal that could threaten it with one buck kick!
We eventually approached another gated area where the lions were held. There was one male lion and two female lions lying on the grass nearby. They were sitting directly in our path, so we had to drive over the grassy area to get by them. They didn’t move a muscle!
As always, the views of the landscapes and the surrounding areas as we drove through the park were magnificent! The drive lasted two hours before we finally made it back to the main area.
The park employees prepared a very nice lunch for all of us in the cabin; freshly squeezed juices with grilled ham, cheese, and tomato sandwiches and parmesan garlic fries. It was great!
Aphiwe in particular really enjoyed it, as he was the first one finished with his plate! Aphiwe is 13 years old and is definitely one of the smartest kids in Kayamandi. When Chris introduced Aphiwe to the other volunteers as the “smartest kid in Kayamandi”, he blushed quite a lot! His English is remarkable, and I usually rely on him to translate what some of the other boys are saying. He lives with his mom and little sister across the township and he attends Makuphulu High School with some of the others. Aphiwe is known for taking some of the funniest pictures around! He always has a funny facial expression whenever there is a photo of him in it. Lately, he hasn’t come over to Mama Zulu’s as often as the others but I found out it’s because he helps his mom out at her job in Stellenbosch and he also has to watch his little sister when no one is around. He’s a pretty responsible kid.
The end of the safari game drive meant the end of our road trip across the Garden Route. We road tripped all the way back to Kayamandi which took a few hours and a few naps from everyone inside the van. We arrived in Kayamandi around 6:30 pm. We thanked Isaac for driving us everywhere and being one of the best tour guides in the nation! There was still one more day left of the trip with the kids, but that day would be on Saturday. It was Thursday which meant the next day would be sort of an “intermission” from the trip. Everything has gone even better than we could have imagined and after a few days on the road, the boys could use one day to reset themselves and gear up for Saturday.