Thursday, March 13, 2008

South Africa - Saturday (Mar 1)

Saturday morning I awoke and joined a number of other guests on the Land Rovers to go touring the reserve and see what animals we could see. We left the lodge area around 7 am and drove out. There were three Land Rovers going out. Each had a guide and eight or nine guests. Once out past the lodge we split apart and each group went their separate ways.
The brush at Buffelsdrift is very thick so it is hard to see a lot of animals or very far on the landscape but it was very fun to get out and experience the countryside. We did run across some white rhinos and a number of giraffes.


The driving tour was a just over two hours then we returned to the lodge for breakfast by the lake. By that time it was near time for me to check out and be on my way.

After leaving Buffelsdrift I drove just a bit further north of Oudtshoorn to the Cango Caves. These are some truly amazing limestone caves that have been carved over the years. Not very much of the cave network is open to the public but they do offer a couple different tours. I just took in the standard tour rather than the adventure tour. The adventure tour requires some caving and working your way through tight cracks and such. On the standard tour you just walk through the caverns about 550 meters in to the mountain. They believe the whole network runs well over 5 kilometers. The pictures I took in the cave with it's lighting weren't that great so I'll let you look those up elsewhere. Really striking though.

I spent a couple hours up at the Cango Caves area then started heading back to Oudtshoorn. Along the way there is a semi-zoo like park called the Cango Wildlife Ranch. It is slightly cheesy but, more importantly, it is a cheetah rehabilitation facility. I guess it could most closely be related as SeaWorld for cats. Anyway, they have a lot of rare cats, birds and alligators there. You can even pay a bit extra to go in a pet some of the cheetahs or go cage diving in an alligator pond. I didn't do either.

Thought this was a funny shot of a turtle resting on an alligator.


I'm sorry but if you ever get up close to a stork, they are ugly. Why would we say they bring babies?


These are a pair of white lions. From what they told us there are less than 500 left.


Extremely rare white tiger.

So, as if all that wasn't enough for one day I then had to drive south to get on what they call the Garden Route. It's basically a beautiful scenic drive through the coastal region of South Africa. To get there from Oudtshoorn you can go really two main ways. You can take either the N12 to George or the R328 to Mossel Bay. Both routes take you through some beautiful mountain country. Most people end up taking the N12 to George and drive the popular Outiniqua Pass in the mountains. Francois suggested the Robinson Pass along the R328 was actually more striking. So, I ended up taking that route down to pick up the N2 near Mossel Bay.





After picking up the N2 in Mossel Bay I drove on for a while before finally stopping at my destination for the Saturday night - the Garden Route Game Lodge. It is located on the N2 just outside Albertinia.

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