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Grape VineyardsWe were off the ship by 8am and met by our tour guide who was taking us to the Sanbona Reserve for our Safari. Our bus (an 18 passenger van) took us north of Cape Town, over the mountains through some beautiful countryside. This is a huge grape growing region, both for fruit and for wine. Miles and miles of grape vineyards lined the highway, much more extensive than in Napa.

Carsons at entrance to SanbonaAfter a 4 hour drive we arrived at the gate of the reserve where we transferred to smaller vehicles for the hour drive to our accommodations. Sanbona is one of South Africa's largest privately owned wildlife reserves. It has over 54,000 hectares of land, including some beautiful rock formations. We are staying two nights in the Dwyka Tented Lodge which has 9 individual tents. Dwyka Tented CampBut these are not ordinary tents. They are 5 star luxury rooms with canvas tops. The beds are as good as those on the ship. The bath includes two sinks, a huge shower and a separate bathtub . There is the usual mini bar stocked with soft and hard drinks, only all the drinks are free. Outside, each tent has a Jacuzzi-size dipping pool (cool water for the expected 100 degree temps). Unfortunately, today was overcast, very windy and cool. Our bed

After a gourmet lunch, including wine and beer, we got ready for our late afternoon game drive. Our guide provided all the women with fleece hats and we were very thankful for them. Ready for Game DriveOur vehicles were 8 passenger, multi-tiered 4 wheel drive jeeps with canvas top and open sides. So with the wind chill it was quite cold. We spotted some Springbok antelopes and some Oryx, a giraffe, some zebras and a lone male elephant.Male elephant The highlight was sighting 3 lions, one of which was an albino.


We stopped for a Sundowner drink while watching the sun set over the mountains but it was too cold to wait to see the whole thing.Sundowner When we got back to the main lodge, there was hot chocolate with amarula waiting. (Amarula is a liqueur found in Africa made from the fruit of the Amarula tree, also very good over ice cream!) Then it was time for dinner. This was a BBQ buffet with various native dishes including ostrich sausage, karoo lamb chops, springbok. All very delicious. Since we have to be up early tomorrow morning for our next game drive, we just went back, showered and fell into bed.


Lion eating OryxThe next day we were awakened at 5:30 for the 6am game drive. The skies were clear and the wind had died so it was a little warmer. But we still needed hats and gloves for the early morning temps. We immediately came across one of the lions from yesterday eating their evening's kill - a huge Oryx. The other lions had already had their fill and were sound asleep under a tree. To see a video of the lion feasting, click on Lion Eating Oryx video.

HippoThen we stopped by a pond where the resident hippo hung out. As we pulled up, he stuck his head out of the water, then his whole body. Then sunk back down. Looked like something out of Disneyland! To see a short video of his antics, click on Hippo in Pond video.

CheetahBut the highlight was on the way back to the lodge, we spotted three cheetahs drinking in a creek by the side of the road. What a magnificent animal.



Then it was back to the lodge for a hearty breakfast and showers. Our afternoon game drive left at 5:30pm. This time we went to the other end of the park to find a herd of female elephants and their babies. Female Elepahnt and babyOn the way, we spotted a herd of rhinoceros eating their way thru the vegetation. Also a lot of giraffes eating the acacia trees. Our sundowner was very pleasant as it had warmed up considerably.

Rhino with baby

GiraffeThe next morning Barb decided not to go on the morning's game drive as she was getting a cold and didn't sleep well. Fred said they saw mostly the same animals, except the hippo and lions were sparring with each other at the pond.

Although not as large and varied as our previous safari in Kenya and Tanzania, we were very impressed with Sanbona. The accomodations were superb and the game drives very exciting. It is always fun to see wild animals in their natural evironment.


Statue of Nelson MandelaFollowing our stay at Sanbona, we were picked up for the drive back through the mountains to Cape Town. We made a stop at the prison where Nelson Mandela spent the last 18 months of his prison sentence and where he made his triumphant walk out the gate after his release.

To view more photos from our Safari, please go to Safari Photo Gallery. To learn about our visit to Cape Town, South Africa, go to Cape Town Newsletter.




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