I’m not sure how many time I heard that from Manus this weekend, but whenever he said it, I smiled. Because I knew we were about to have another little adventure. I had an idea of what we were going to do because of this awesome video Chris, from NMMU’s International Office made. However, I didn’t have an itinerary for the weekend even though there was a rumor of one among our travel group.
We were picked up at our accommodation around 10 on Friday. We were on time but the combis were not. But as we know by now, Africa is flixible. *smiles* We got everyone loaded into the two vans and headed to the third student accommodations to pick-up the last students for our trip. Evidently, they had already been there once to attempt getting the students but no one had answered the door. However, when we pulled up this time they were waiting outside for us. With the last students onboard we got on the highway. I was looking forward to our first stop at Nanaga Farm Stall, where we had lunch when we did our elephant ride. I knew that we had some yummy treats waiting for us there! I got an egg and cheese sandwich on an oven bun. It was amazing! I also got some chips (crisps) for later and drinks. I don’t know what it is but I’m always thirsty here. After our stop we still had 2/3 of our drive left before we arrived at the farm.
Our next stop was a gas station and we were told that we only had 45 minutes left on our trip. What was left out was that it was 45 minutes down a dirt/gravel road. One aspect of my study abroad experience here is that I always feel like we are dealing with a lack of information when we are on a school sponsored event. Back home we always have a lot of information but here it is never enough. One other quick point about road trips here…it is always difficult to know how long we have been in the car. I feel like a child again. Since all of the markers are metric and the cars or vans are in kpm it can be difficult to determine how long we’ve been on the road or how much longer we have to go. Couple those with the wide open spaces and all of these trips are new areas we are traveling…well, it always feels like we are driving much longer distances than time has actually passed.
The timing for the trip was perfect because at about 1/2 way through our semester everyone enjoyed being in an actual home again. The couple me and the other SCSU girls stayed with welcomed us with open arms! We had a fire on their back porch the first night we were there with beer and wine. They got us warm from the inside out! Then the next two days were a couple of the best I’ve had since being here in South Africa. We hiked, fed baby kudu who had been orphaned because of hunters, saw goats that were less than 48 hours old, had an impromptu dance party, and we ate! Oh, the food was beyond amazing! And my stomach did not get a chance to even growl the whole weekend.
Then on Sunday we all swam into the jail. The water was SO cold that if I was pregnant my child would be getting ice cream, not milk! The formation is called the jail because there is only one way in and that is through the “Front Door.” I’m sure it is a great place to cool off in the mid-December heat but at the beginning of Autumn, when no sun warms the water-it was c-o-l-d! Like everything else I’ve done since landing in South Africa, I was glad I did it! The formation has been created by water eroding the rocks of the mountain until it cut through. Now, there is a waterfall and this brilliant single formation. As SCSU students this trip is included as part of our program fee and I’m thankful it was.