Saturday morning we left for Addo! We were going to spend the night there Friday night, but it was too expensive, so we just decided to go for the day. We were also going to have a picnic, but it was raining all day, so we went to the restaurant in the park instead of taking food to picnic with. The first hour or so in the park we didn’t see much and we were afraid that the animals were hiding away from the rain. However, we did end up seeing animals albeit slowly at first, but then it snow balled into us seeing many, many elephants by the end of the day! We saw well over 100 elephants by the end of the day! We also saw water buffalo, warthogs (to which we all exclaimed Pumba!), black-backed jackals, an owl, many various types of birds, zebra, kudu, and another antelope like animal. This was the first time we’ve seen: elephants, jackals, warthogs, and kudu! The antlers on the kudu are the curly ones and they are as massive and beautiful in real life as they are in pictures.
We spent a few hours driving around looking and then decided to make our way up to the cafe for lunch and shopping at the gift shop. After lunch while driving around is when all the excitement started. We stopped at one point to watch a group of elephants who were walking around right near the road. As we sat there waiting, one of them started walked directly towards us! Dr. Baxen, who was driving, started freaking out and Laura got it all on tape! She didn’t know if she should back up or just hold her ground and not move. We eventually convinced her to not move the car any and just stay where we were. I should mention that we are required to stay in our cars at all times. We can even get in trouble for leaning out of the windows (but we did that anyway). The elephant was just walking towards us to get to a different patch of grass and we really didn’t have anything to be frightened about. Later in the drive we stopped again for another group of elephants who were slowly crossing the road. We stopped again to watch them and noticed a large group of variously sized elephants. Amongst them was a tiny baby elephant! There were two adolescents and an adult protecting the baby by surrounding him (we only know it was a ‘he’ because he had just finished peeing). There were many cars in this area while this was happening and we could tell the elephants were agitated by all the cars. At this point we wanted to back up to give them space, but we looked behind us and there was another (quite large) elephant directly behind us too! We were trapped in between a mom and her kids and another elephant. This was a little scary, but it was still great to see the elephants so up close. I got many pictures of that baby with his mom. Hiding under his mom and taking advantage of this location to sneak a snack. Overall it was a super fun day and it was great to finally see some elephants!
We decided to go to the monastery for church Sunday morning to see what it was like. We asked Dr. Baxen if she wanted to go also, since that was our only way to get there, so we were happy that she wanted to go. The monks are Catholic, so it was a proper Catholic service with incense and all. There were only 4 other people there besides us, a few monks, and Cameron (who drove us to Boudina’s Friday night). It was a very small service and when it came time for communion, we each gave the bread and wine and said the words to the person next to us before handing them the items to do it for the next person. It was very interesting to do it that way and the first time I’d seen that done.
Over all I’ve had a pretty splendid time while being here even if I haven’t been keeping you all updated on what I’ve been up to. I have received many loved filled packages these last couple weeks and those have really been keeping me going. Thank you to those of you who have mailed me packages and letters! I am looking forward to Molly’s arrival in just 26 days! That leaves me less than a month to make it look like I haven’t been pigging out on Easter chocolate for the last three weeks ;)
I hope you have enjoyed reading this 6,000 word novel of updates and have a great day!