Zip Lining & Whale Watching

IT’S WEEKEND! Or at least, pretend it was weekend J Last weekend we were able to get outta PE! We took a weekend trip to Tsitsikamma national park. Tsitsikamma is in between PE and Cape Town and where we made our bungee jumping stop. Instead of jumping off a bridge, we zipped lined through the treetops! It was pretty fun. We got all harnessed up went on ten different lines in the woods. It was really pretty. I felt like Tarzan! The lines ranged from beginner to medium fast, to super fast! By the end of the weekend I was really sore from being all tensed up on the lines. Believe it or not, bungee jumping was more freeing/relaxing than zip lining. You were constantly tense and clenched up so it wasn’t as relaxing as you might think. Here is a link to the website where you can see some pictures of what the canopy tours are like (we had to leave all of our bags/cameras with Dr. Murphy). Tsitsikamma Zip Lining Canopy Tours.

            After the canopy tours we went to see about our sleeping situations…. We were backpackers. Backpacking. In a backpacker’s lodge. Let’s just say we weren’t prepared for that! Bunking it up with total dude strangers in the same room? No thanks! But we did have a good dinner that was included. In South Africa they have what’s called a “braai” which is Afrikaans for “roasted meat” and is basically the American equivalent of a “barbeque”… I think braii sounds classier. However I didn’t eat the meat 😛 so they made me a veggie wrap think on the grill that was super tasty.

            On Sunday we left early to drive to our whale watching location. There was a good size group of whale watchers going with us, probably about 40 or so. Before we left we all went around and said where we were from. There were people from Japan, Italy, Germany, England, Brazil, France, SA, and then us Americans. I was shocked at all the different locations people were traveling from! So we all got on the boat, which was smaller than I thought (“you’re smaller than I remember… whereas I barely remember you at all” YOU HEARD ME!). It was a beautiful day outside so it was great weather for being at sea… until we got out to see. The waves picked up as we got out in the water. We saw a school of seals and were able to see evidence of whales (we saw some blows from their blow holes and a few backs), but nothing really impressive. What was impressive was how seasick I felt!! I was fine until the boat stopped. We stopped many times and just bobbed up and down, up and down in the water while we scanned the waves for signs of whales. That’s when I felt it. At one point, three of the people form our group (including Dr. Murphy) threw up in the back of the boat! It was miserable! I had to turn away from one of the girls who kept saying “I think I’m going to throw up, I think I’m going to throw up” because I WAS GOING TO THROW UP TOO. But I didn’t. Thank God. No more whale watching for me!

            Besides the almost chucking and soreness from zip lining, it was a nice weekend. Sorry I couldn’t take any pictures on account of I was up in a tree and I was trying not to puke!

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Ellies, Zebras, and babies!!

Molo! This weekend we were able to take a day trip and visit the Addo Elephant Park just outside of Port Elizabeth. Addo is one of South Africa’s National Parks, and it was nice that we were so close! Here is a link to the Addo site online: Addo Elephant Park. You can read about the park on the website, but it’s the third largest national park in SA and is nearly 450,000 acres! It is HUGE! It’s been around since 1931 when there were only 16 ellies that lived in Addo, now there’s over 500 elephants, lions, hyenas, leopards, zebras, antelope, and more!!! Our driver, Nelson, (when we met him, he said that he is the smallest “Nelson” that we would ever meet in SA!) drove us to Addo on Saturday. What’s nice about the park is that you just pay the entrance fee, and then you drive through the park in your own vehicle! You can stop and take pictures whenever you see animals, but you just have to stay in the car. We saw so many!! Along the road we could always tell that elephants had been there based on the plentiful amount of lovely elephant crap. Yep. The park is so big that we drove around for about 5 hours before we stopped and had lunch at 2. And we still had more to see! It was so cool to try and spot animals. Off in the distance we were able to spot herds and herds of Zebras. I love them! We drove to a man-made watering hole where a herd was chilling at and we even saw babies and their mommies!! I’ll have to upload some photos. We didn’t just see animals; we were UP CLOSE to animals in basically their natural habitat. Even though Addo is technically a closed in facility, the park is so big, that you forget that you’re within the boundaries. So the animals can LITERALLY roam as far as they want. Addo isn’t like a zoo where you have zookeepers feeding the animals and different enclosures for different species; it’s like the wild. The animals find their own food and have their own homes wherever they want within the park. One of the best attractions at the park is the watering hole that is generally occupied by herds of elephants. Like 50 elephants all gathered around the watering hole. Some role in the water, some play in it, and others just walk around the watering hole and chill with their lil friends! Right by the watering hole is a place where cars can park and just watch the ellies interact with eachother at the watering hole. We saw lots of babies with their mommies! Did you know the gestation period for ellies is 22 months!!! Try being preggers for that long! The mama elephants are very protective of their babies. The babies literally walk underneath the moms and never get separated from her. It’s amazing that they don’t get stepped on! What’s interesting at Addo is the male ellies have tusks but the females don’t. When we went to the Knysna elephant park, both males and females had tusks. The only way you could tell who was male and who was female was to notice the… 5th leg. Yeah. I will never get that picture out of my mind. But at Addo, the males are much much bigger than the males at Knysna, and they have tusks so you know their males. And the females are kind of medium sized. But look at the pictures that are to come. I can’t find words for what it was like, and after visiting Addo, I’m like super duper excided for our Kruger safari in November!! Addo was pretty much 1/10 of what Kruger has in store for us. Starting today is our third week in PE, on Wednesday we’ll be halfway done in Port Elizabeth!!! 68 more days!!!!!!

 

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A family of ellies!!

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A mama red-hearted beast and her baby! (no dad present… go figure, mom was doing all the work!)

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Another mama and her baby

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the zebra watering hole

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YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL! She was very pretty!

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this is the elephant watering hole… where 50 ellies were hanging out! We were so close too.

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this guy reminded me of LEVI! Struggling to get out of the water like he needed someone to HOIST UP HIS HINEY LEGS ONTO A BED in order to get out! Sound familiar, mom? 🙂

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WELLLLL! follow your mommy, little guy!

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I stand corrected. THIS is the Levi of elephants!!!!!

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Stay by your mommy!

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needless to say the cars parked right there left!

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so handsome! this was a herd of males, we pasted the females that were all together. I thought it was funny that the men traveled together while the women did the same!