It's Day 7 in South Africa and Vicki Burton returns to tell us more about her and the NCS gang have been getting up to - and this update is wild...
Hi everyone and welcome to day 7 and 8 of our Pools in Africa blog!
Day 7, Tuesday, began with an early breakfast ready for the game drive at Plettenberg Bay. We were really lucky as it's one of very few game reserves with the ‘Big 5' on site, so we were hoping to find them all.
We got on the van with our driver Patrick who was a fantastic guide for us. We were really lucky early on in the drive as we found the elephants and soon after we saw the giraffes. We were able to get off the van and get closer to them for some pictures. Patrick drove round so that we could get closer to the elephants and in the meantime we saw water bucks, zebras, antelopes and more.
After we photographed the elephants closer up, we headed off to find the second of the ‘Big 5' - the white rhinos. We were able to get very close to the two that live there.
After that we headed towards the predator section, hoping to see the lion and cheetahs. Adam T spotted the lion after we drove around the predator section looking for her. Patrick explained to us that they are currently trying to source another male lion as they have recently just lost theirs to a tragic snake bite. The female now lives alone. We got some fantastic photographs of her.
We then went through the gates into another part of the predator section where Sam straight away spotted the cheetahs. The pair of cheetahs are fairly sociable and were sat extremely close to the bus and again we were able to take some close-up, incredible photographs.
On the way back to the base, Patrick took us to the crocodiles who are kept away from the other animals with barbed wire. We also saw some wild dogs who looked friendly enough to pet, but Patrick strongly advised against that as they'd probably take your hand off!
After the game drive we went back to the hotel for lunch and some time to relax. Eleanor, Sorrell, Chris, Ethan, Craig and Luke played football tennis while Adam L, Hannah and I went in the pool. It was a bit cold in the water! Everyone else either played mini golf, went in the games room or bounced on the giant outdoor trampoline!
At 3pm we headed off to our next location: Witsand. It was about a three-hour drive and we stayed in a fishing hotel as a pit-stop on our way back to Cape Town. After a long day of travelling, we had tea in the hotel restaurant, watched the football and headed to bed.
Wednesday came around quickly and after an early breakfast in the restaurant, we set off on our next adventure. A long drive but lots of singing and car games later, we arrived back at our first hotel: Valley Heights in Kenilworth. A braii lunch (South African for BBQ, which you should know if you've been keeping up with the blogs!) when we arrived, we were soon ready for the beach. The sun was shining brighter than it had on any other day of the trip so everyone needed lots of sun cream on.
As we drove to Llandudno beach (no we didn't drive to Wales before anyone asks!) we were so lucky as Beth spotted a pod of dolphins playing not far away from the shore. We stopped to take a photo of a whale which turned out to be a rock but we can't blame Adam L and Eleanor for trying!
We arrived at the beach and got parked up before heading down to the sand. Dan warned us that the water would be much colder as the sea at the beaches in the Southern Cape were the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, unlike the beach at East London with the Indian Ocean coming in. He wasn't wrong! The only people who stayed in for a while were Adam L, Lauren and Hannah. Everyone else either sunbathed, listened to music, played football or went up onto the rocks. Adam T had headed up the rocks to take some photographs when he spotted a whale. He came back to tell us and by then there were two! Ethan W also saw a dolphin come really close to the shore, maybe 10-20m behind where Beth was in the water. Adam and Dan had also seen a seal jump into someone's surf board and scare them half to death!
We left the beach and headed along what must be one of the most beautiful stretches of road in the whole world. We stopped for some photographs of the scenery, as it truly is breathtaking.
Once we got back to the accommodation we got ready for our meal at Hard Rock Cape Town. Everyone got dressed up and they were really excited for tea.
At Hard Rock we had pre-ordered our food, which was a good job as it would have been closed by the time we ate otherwise. The long wait didn't bother anyone though as we had a fantastic time and enjoyed visiting the shop and chatting on the tables.
We arrived back at Valley Heights at around 10:30pm and headed straight to bed, as some of the group have agreed to an early start tomorrow - check back for Day 9's blog to see what it is and if they even go through with it!