June 27, 2016 – The Last Game Drive
It had been a leisurely morning. Intermittent Internet access, food, and Coke Zeroes as we waited for the other folks to return from their white lion zoo-Ian excursion. Following lunch, we went back to our room to pack up for the early morning shuttle to the airport.
While there, I heard a rustling. A smoke monster style rustling. I called mom onto the balcony. We saw trees shaking, heard the celery crunch sounds of trees being trampled. And then we saw the cause: elephants.
For close to an hour, we watched as one then two, then three, then FIVE elephants caroused amongst the ravine. There must have been a watering hole in the gulch as we would occasionally hear a loud, booming splish splash. I thought it was more trees falling before the pachyderm herd but mom spotted a discolored tusked beast. We originally thought he had been hurt in a fire or something until we realized the discoloration was from water and mud.
We could have watched them all day as they ducked into and out of sight amongst the foliage. Despite their size, they would seemingly vanish before our eyes. We kept snapping away and pointing out swaying trees, either stomped over, chewed upon, or rubbed against by the herd.
As our neighbors returned from lunch we pointed out our sightings and shared the moment. I have to say though, I much preferred mom and I having a private moment together spotting the elephants. It may have been the highlight of the tree, mother and son elephant watching.
The final game drive of the trip was scheduled for 3:30 and once again we got to ride with Gibson. The passengers were sort of all-star guests of Ravineside and it. Ay have been the most fun I’ve had laughing during a drive the whole trip. From Carol’s unexpected sighting of an “elephant” that turned out to be a “baboon” to a water buck that may as well have been Bigfoot from the quick sighting I had of it, to the acknowledged hilarity and uselessness of telling fellow passengers, “it’s by that stick!” It was a grand trip through the upper and lower escarpment.
On top of that, we finally caught sight of giraffes!
As the sun set one last time for us in South Africa, a farewell dinner complete with a performance of African medleys by the Ravineside Choir had the feel of the last day of summer camp. Mom even got pulled up to bust a move and dance… as she clearly was being a good sport but did NOT want to be up there, I’m not going to post any photos. But she looked great! Contact details were exchanged with promises to stay in touch — and I sincerely hope many folks do stay in touch — but the call of reality and responsibilities, of time sucks and bills to be paid, of all the nagging details of life that had been placed on hold during our runcation may get in the way. Still, we’ll always have Entabeni and the Big Five Marathon 2016.
And no day would be complete without one final attempt to capture the enormity of the night sky.
Tomorrow we depart but dreams of our South African Adventure will be everlasting.