Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Monday, May 23 and Tuesday, May 24

On Monday afternoon Tino, Amanda and Tianda dropped us off at Tangala Authentic African Camp for our last evening in South Africa.  Saying goodbye to new friends was a little tough...but it was also nice to be alone for the first time since arriving in South Africa.

Tangala is an electricity free camp on the Thornybush Private Nature Preserve.  It is a small camp with only six chalets.  Upon arriving in camp, we learned that we were to be the only guests for our visit.
Our Thatched Chalet - Very authentic, as well as romantic

See...I told you it was Romantic!

 I truly felt like this was taken straight from Meryl Steep/Robert Redford's 'Out Of Africa'...'a colonial Africa feel', as their website so aptly describes it. 

After arriving, we took some time to sort through some of the souvenirs we had picked up over the weekend and to just relax on the deck.  It was soon time for High Tea.  Since we were the only guests, we had our tea at the Lounge's conversation area instead of at the dining table.  It was a beautiful view overlooking the swimming pool, the watering hole and the Drakensburg Mountains in the distance.  We watched as warthogs, baboons and impala wandered through the open field.

After High Tea, we loaded up on an open air truck for a game drive.  Thornybush is famous for being a place to see the 'Big 5': Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino & Cape Buffalo.  We had seen the lion, elephant and cape buffalo while driving through Kruger...so we were hoping to see the rhino and the leopard during our stay.
First thing we see on our game drive is a Puff Adder!
 I don't like seeing snakes.  Jim and Arno had seen four or five black mambas while we were hunting.  Thankfully, I missed seeing them all!  I think seeing a snake raised three feet or more off the ground would have given me nightmares.  Though the mamba is the longest snake in Africa and the fastest snake in the world, he is known as 'the gentleman of the bush' because he will give way to humans rather than face them.  The puff adder on the other hand is the cause of the most snakebite fatalities because he refuses to move out of your way.  This one just sat in the road for a good five or ten minutes while we waited for him to move.  (We were on a conservation ranch, so they don't just take them out like I would!)

Once Mr. Lazybones decided to crawl on off into the bush, we went down to the waterhole where we got our first look at the White Rhino.
White Rhino - Our 4th 'Big 5' sighting...we only have a leopard left on our list. 
But we are told those are much harder sightings to come by unless you stay for a couple of days.
According to our guides, the name White Rhino is a mistranslation of the original Dutch name 'wijd'...which means wide.  It is really their wide mouths that are being described, but somewhere along the way someone mistook 'wide' for 'white' and the name stuck.  The other rhinos which have the narrow mouths were then name 'Black Rhinos' but they are both really the same color!

Giraffes at dinner time!!!

At this point I was thinking 'Jungle Book' instead of 'Lion King'!
 As the sun slid lower into the skies, I couldn't help but think how this was to be my last South African sunset.  I was a little bit sad at the thought of it.

Getting close to sundown...I will truly miss looking out at the African sky.
 But then the radio crackled and the truck leaped into action.  Another game truck had heard a leopard nearby and we were heading that way.

Our guides were actually congratulating us at having seen the 'Big 5' in one day. 
They had prepared us that this might be one animal that we didn't find.
 It was almost dark and he blended into the trees so well.  I had to lighten these photos for you to get a look at him.

He was just snoozing in a tree, waiting for it to get dark enough to go hunting for dinner. 

We were parked (in an open air truck) right underneath the tree.
After a little bit, he decided he was tired of having his picture taken so he started down the tree.

He was standing just feet from the truck on Jim's side.

Look at those eyes!

He started off into the bush...when our driver punched it to try and cut him off so that the other game trucks could get a look at him.  I didn't want to be the one between him and dinner!
 This was a young male, but B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L!!!  Actually, that word sounds too plain for this animal.  I would love to hunt a leopard one day.  Of course that costs a lot more in money and time...so we will see about that.

After we stopped the leopard, we moved out of the way to allow the other game trucks a closer look.  We drove to an open area to enjoy the sunset and our Sundowner.
Sundown at Thornybush Private Nature Preserve

 Y'all may be tired of seeing my sunset pictures, but I can assure you I have been selective and not subjected you to all of them!  I love sunset in Texas...in Arkansas...in Africa, it doesn't really matter to me.
Our Sundowner meal.
 It isn't dog food bowls, I swear. 
We toasted to the day and had a light snack before heading out for the second half of our game drive.
 After our stop, we headed back out to see the nocturnal animals.  The first ones were the female lions.

Female lions in the sand.
 This one is laying in a dry river bed, but there were two more just beyond her in the tall grass.  I asked the guides if the females always stayed together without a male.  I was told that there was definitely a male, he was just probably out patrolling their area before they began hunting for the night.  As we sat there taking picture after picture, all I could think about was what if he was on his way back to his harem and he was coming up behind us!  I could not stop looking over my shoulder.  I mean, we were in an open air truck!

After the lions, our tracker pointed out several other animals, but most didn't stand around long enough for us to get pictures.  There were a couple of lemur type animals and antelopes.

As we were nearing the lodge, our driver threw the truck in reverse and our tracker jumped out of the bull seat to capture our last wild animal of the trip.

Jim and the Chameleon

 This chameleon was hiding in a bush near the edge of the road.  By the time I got my camera out and ready, he had already began changing colors on Jim's jacket.

We were greeted at the camp with a glass of sherry and the announcement that Amanda had arranged for a private dinner at our chalet.
Private Dinner on the Deck
So Romantic!!
 This electricity free thing really does lend to the romantic feeling of Tangala.  We enjoyed a sumptuous meal of curried chicken with all the trimmings.  It was delicious!
Happy 30th Anniversary to us!
 The humorous part of stay happened as Stella was announcing our dinner menu and going over our agenda for the next day.  She was letting us know that we were to be picked up for the airport at ten o'clock the next morning.  The game drive would return just before nine, breakfast was at nine and we could shower at nine-thirty.  She mentioned this shower thing several times during the conversation.  After she had left, Jim looked at me from across the table and said, "did you get the idea that we were supposed to shower at 9:30 and not before?"   We laughed about it and went on with our dinner. 

After dinner, we decided not to go on the morning game drive as we would need to repack for the airport.  It was time to sort our luggage so that we could meet all of the security requirements.  Thinking that we could get up a little bit later, shower and leisurely pack before breakfast...we turned in for the night. 

The next morning I awoke around seven and as usual, made the restroom my first stop.  I noticed something out the bathroom window.
African Hot Water Heater
 It was our water being heated for our showers!  I had forgotten all about that electricity free thing including water heaters!  No wonder we were told three or four times that we could shower at nine-thirty.  That was how long it would take to heat the water! 
Our Last African Sunrise

It was time to say goodbye to Africa...and I hated to go.  At this point, we were both tired and ready to go home...but at the same time, this place pulls at you.

Do we have to say goodbye?
For the next thirty-six hours, as we drew closer and closer to Waller, Texas, we couldn't help but think about what people were doing back in Africa.  It was a wonderful trip and one that will remain with us through the years.  As we were shopping on Tuesday in Polokwane, a shop owner had made the statement, "Africa calls".  As we got our last glimpses of South Africa in Jo burg, I knew exactly what she meant.

Totsiens - Goodbye!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your trip with us. It was almost like being there....not quiet! Aunt Fran