Lots has happened since last posting and I’m writing this two days after the fact but will try to keep the daily diary format intact. First, when we arrived at Lairds Country Estate, we got a phone call from Susie at African Avenue to tell us that she had both good news and bad news; the bad news was that our guide at Inyati who was going to take us in a private car for our safari drives was attending his wife’s childbirth and the private car option was no longer available to us, however the good news was that she had arranged for a complete refund for our vehicle and stay and had instead found a place for us at Mala Mala Rattray’s Camp. She was very excited, as were we, since this camp is head and shoulders above Inyati but at the time we booked at it, they could not provide a private safari vehicle. They were still not able to accommodate us with a private car for our complete stay, but were putting only one couple with us for part of the time, so we thought that with a little flexibility we would have a superior experience and still do very well on the photography front. So Rattray’s Camp it is and really looking forward to it.
Went to dinner, another outstanding meal! and learned that the power lines in the region were being upgraded and there would be no electricity from 5AM the following morning until 21:00 later that night up and down the coast for 100k. I rushed to try and get the latest blog uploaded but the uplink was very slow and the power died in mid-load so I think that the web site may have been very gimpy for the last 48 hours, if even operative, since the upload was incomplete and there were probably many broken links. Am writing this 48 hours later since this is the first opportunity to sit down at the computer with a working link so will upload this and then finish the last couple of days postings later when we reach safari camp. Woke up on Sunday morning and shaved by candlelight as there was no power; shower was hot as the guest house was using a generator to heat water, but no other power was available; nice to see that they had their priorities properly established. Beautiful day and we left early for a drive into Knysna, about 20k to the west, along the sea. No traffic lights, because of power outage but during the night crews had gone out along the coast and in all the towns along the away and put up 4-way Stop signs at every intersection, so chaos averted.
Co-incident with the power outage, there was a bicycle marathon that was taking place on Sunday morning; teams of two riders who both needed to finish and each team’s finish time was the time of the slower of the two riders. About 150 teams from all over SA as well as some from Europe and NA; only a 90k ride but lots of mountain climbing involved so the times were running about 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours to finish. Really fun to watch and the restaurant that had been recommended to us for our lunch, Cruise Cafe on the Knysna waterfront, turned out to be at the start-finish line so lots of marquees, loudspeakers announcing times, and milling bikes and racers everywhere. Great fun so we had lunch, limited menus as there was no power for the kitchens, and watched the riders struggle in and dive into the sea to cool off.
Poked our way along the coastal highway and watched the surf roll in on long, white,unpopulated beaches. When we were driving to Laird’s the previous afternoon, we got some very good shots of clusters of para-sailers launching themselves off a cliff next to the highway and filling the sky; got some great shots, but wanted some closeups of launch and landing. Drove back to the area, but wind in the wrong direction so no parasailing that day. Think that the previous day’s shots will work.
Home to another fabulous dinner and early bed as tomorrow we fly to White River to begin safaris.