[Day 2] Cape Town - Safari & Night Out
I was debating on whether to do a Safari while in Cape Town because the "true" safari experience would be in Kruger National Park in the Eastern Cape of South Africa or in Botswana or Kenya. Most would do a 3-5 day safari so they can ensure to see as many animals as possible and do drives at different times of the day. I read a lot of mixed reviews online about doing the Safaris near Cape Town not being the real thing and to not waste my money while others say they were able to see a ton of animals. I made up my mind that since I'm in Africa, I had to do a safari. I don't know when the next time I'll be back to experience the real thing.
There are two Safaris by Cape Town to pick from. The more famous one is Aquila, which is about 1.5 hours away and Inverdoorn is about 2.5-3 hours away. Aquila is more well known, has been around longer, and has more animals but many say it seems more like a zoo than a reserve. Inverdoorn is further but has a more authentic safari/game reserve feel, so I opted for that.
I booked it with African Blue Tours and they were the cheapest, when including transportation with excellent reviews. It costed 2,000 Rand which is about $150. This is more than I would like to pay for a tour but it included door-to-door transportation (2.5 - 3 hours each way), buffet lunch, and 3 hours game drive. I got picked up at 6:45am, I was awake and ready this time. Our crew consisted of a group of girls from Boston, celebrating one of their 30th's birthday, an English guy who got a trip to Cape Town for his 30th birthday, and a girl from Canada. It was a pretty solid group! However, what made the tour even better was our ranger/guide. He was really funny, entertaining, really knowledgeable, and an all around cool guy. He made our 3 hour drive extremely enjoyable.
During the 3 hours we were able to see so many different kinds of animals:
We found them walking towards a watering hole so we caught them at the perfect time.
These guys were kept in a separate area because they are going through rehabilitation. They were given to the reserve after being exploited and kept in cages. Therefore, they don't know how to hunt on their own or live independently. It takes about 2 years to train the cheetahs for them to be ready to live on their own.
Like the cheetahs, the lions were kept in a separate area from the rest of the animals because they were also rescued from a mating cage so they don't know how to act in the wild. However, these guys are too old to be rehabilitated so they will have to live separately until they die.
The biggest endangerment to Rhinos are poachers who kill them for their horns. In the black market, especially in Asia, people will pay $60k - $100k for one kilo. They are used as medicine or a symbol of wealth. Cape Town has a very lenient rule when it comes to poaching these animals but in other countries if you are caught you can get executed. Some of these snipers can kill a rhino with one shoot in pitch black from meters away. So you know they are trained and do this for a living.
These animals are now on a silent extinction... That's so disheartening to hear because they are beautiful creatures. They have declined 40% since 1985 and it's due to humans, not other animals. "Giraffes, widespread in several areas of Africa, are pushed back by human development, and their habitats are threatened by agriculture, mining, civil unrest and illegal hunting."
This is the national animal of South Africa and they are everywhere!
These are probably the most dangerous animal of the Big 5, even lions won't approach them. When they attack, it's game over for the opponent. Many animals will do a fake to scare the attacker away but not these guys, when they attacked they will charge will full force.
They are stubbier than I had thought... I'm not sure but their legs are pretty short compared to their bodies but this is just a personal observation. Their strips, as you can probably guess, is used as a camouflage mechanism.
and many others.
We were able to see a lot more animals than I expected. I liked that it's a much smaller reserve than the more popular ones so we were able to cover a lot of ground and see more in just one drive. Overall, I was extremely satisfied with my experience! I would recommend this to anyone going to Cape Town.
Beer Pong Tournament
I wasn't really expecting to go out on a Tuesday night since I have had to wake up pretty earlier the past too mornings. So after I showered, I came out in my PJs but it happened to be beer pong night so how could I have resisted. A new girl from Scotland came into our room and we become partners. The first round was really rough for me. She definitely carried the team and I didn't think we would make it through to the next round but we managed. After each round I was starting to pick up my mojo and during the final round I made most of the cups and even the last cup to win their first ever beer pong tournament. We won a free shot and shot glass!
Night out in the Town
Since we already started the night, might as well continue it! We had a huge group heading to Long Street, the nightlife of Cape Town. Even for a Tuesday, it was really lively! First we went to a beer house and then headed to an Irish pub that had the cheapest drinks ever. 40 Rand for a double shot + mixer, which comes out to be about $2.50... How is that even possible?? We danced and it was a lot of fun! I have mad respect for Cape Town's night life. I wonder how it is on a weekend. I was planning to go home early but somehow it ended up being around 5am when we got back to the hostel... whoops!