Class on Apartheid, Long Bus Ride, Game Drive, Savanah Dry
Our last day of class with Dr. Karen. We were kind of sad. She was engaging and answered all of our questions and told us what she really belived. We finished the activity we were working on the day before (summarizing articles about apartheid). My groups article was about how they used separate but equal to separate the people and get away with a free and equal laws. We all took our sweet bit summarizing and we had a break of tea and South African treats. We ended class with a long dry documentary video. It highlighted the riots from the views of the African newspaper and the white newspaper. A lot of people slept through it which is very rude. It really needed subtitles though because although they were speaking English it was a struggle.
We had all of our things packed the previous day so we left half of our baggage in an empty room at the guest house and loaded the other half in the trailer. We were headed for a weekend in Pilanesburg Reserve for game drive safaris. Pilanesburg is only 2-3 hours away so fairly close. Much closer than Kruger Park which is the largest safari park that most people think of when they think South Africa safari.
The bus ride consisted of packed lunches and rows and rows of sunflowers. Dr. Leedy explained the assignments for the class. We would have to turn in a photo journal and a 15 page research paper on any topic related to South Africa. It wouldn’t be due until July and I was like thank goodness because I wouldn’t be settled in Oakland till June 8 and then I had concrete canoe nationals and then I could write the paper.
We arrived at the resort and didn’t have much time to get into our room, set our things down, and change into warm clothing. Each house fit five people but we had four in most. Madi and I were in the bottoms floor with a king bed and Eli and Ama were upstairs in the loft with three twins. The room was very nice and clean but the resort felt empty. There were lots of little cabins like ours, areas for camping, areas for trailers, and wide open spaces. Dr. Leedy told us to keep the windows closed because of the monkeys and we thought he was just messing around with us.
The first safari was a sunset safari so we were told to dress warm so I wore leggings under my jeans and a long sleeve shirt and brought two warm jackets and a hat. I didn’t end up putting on my layers till the very end and didn’t even need the last layer.
We talked about safaris with Dr. Leedy about safaris and asked if he was planning on joining us on the extra safari. He replied with the iconic and memable line. “I have been on hundreds of hours of safaris” We use “hundreds of hours” for anything when we mock someone pretending to be an expert. This was one of the most quotable lines of the trip. (The others were variations of Mihael in the diamond mine “I am not expert on diamonds but the security seems pretty low” and Matt in Johanasburg when approached by a beggar “Everyone in this city needs our help”)
We all walked out with our warm gear and stepped into a giant keep. There was enough room for all of us in a seat and Dr Leedy sat in the front next tour our guide. I don’t remember his name but he was really nice and friendly. His smile lit up the jeep.
We drove through a gate with grating just like the safaris at animal kingdom. Working the first 15 minutes of the drive, we saw a baby elephant. Not joke. Close enough to touch. We then saw a bunch of rhinos. The sun started to set and we started seeing giraffes in the distance. The giraffes in the sunset. It was amazing. Amazing.
As the sun set, it started getting colder and the layers came on as the wind whipped our faces. When it started getting dark, our guide handed a spotlight to dr leedy. He moved the light outside the front of the jeep. Side of the vehicle lit up and Dr leedy had a light scanning the front. In between the high grass we were looking for big cats in the dark. We found no cats. Near the end of the dark ride we did see a few rhinos so it was pretty groovy. We also saw the butt of a brown hayenna before it ran into the brush. The night didn’t end up too cold (even Leedy said it was a mild night).
Our guide dropped us off at dinner. There was a lodge dinner area where they set up a buffet for our group. They had jello and pudding for dessert and I thought it was weird and funny.
A not too late night because we were getting up v early in the morning for our sunrise game drive.