Day 4? Is that all? It seems like a lifetime that I’ve already been here! Cape Town was great, felt like the UK, honestly. It felt great to get out of the city and take the four hour drive towards Mossel Bay. The core of Africa has embedded itself into my soul…it has been laying dormant for some time, but now, after time spent out in the open South African country, it has returned.

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Our drive was breathtaking through the mountains. We took the N2 up through Praal and rejoined the N1 towards Mossel  Bay. We saw baboon warning signs, that made us laugh, and then qe saw the baboons lurking about the guardrails on the side of the interstate! We drove past ostrich farms and chased mongoose off the road. We drove through mountains and then the country opened wide and spectacularly.

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It was suggested that we listen to ‘Serial,’ a podcast series developed from creators and producers at NPR. We both felt the pull of the story and resultingly, the drive felt quick and light on us.
After briefly viewing the Indian Ocean, our first time seeing it, we arrived at Botlierskop. We knew the place would be beautiful, as the photos showed it’s richness, but we were still amazed.. The reserve is nestled between the Outeniqua Mountain range and the Indian Ocean. The reserve was started by a veterinarian and his wife,  by Dr. Dirk and Mrs. Magda Neethling, who have prominent names in the game farming and veterinarian industry in this region.

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The name, Botlierskop, comes from an unusual rock outcropping on a nearby hill. The hill, a “kroppie,” was said to have been a lookout for the town of Mossel Bay. When a ship was coming into the bay, a lookout would make a fire on the hill, letting area farmers know a ship was arriving-sort of a makeshift lighthouse.

Upon arriving to check-in, we were
greeted with Rooibos, a staple tea that is served everywhere in ZA {A completely divine red tea}  and sat hearing a reception guide tell us of our upcoming adventures. When we were ready, we were taken to the Manor House by golf cart, as our car had already been driven down to the house. The house is part of the original farm and has seven rooms. Arriving ar the front ofbthe house, a nyala was hanging out by our car!! Our driver kind of hurried the animal away, but I wanted to hug it!! Gratefully our room was on the lower floor of the house, with a view and a door that opens right out to where a small herd of blue wildebeest, bontebok, nayala, kudu, rhinoceros, and sprinbok were grazing. It was sunset and the wildebeest were literally frolicking in the small watering hole nearest our room!

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If I could have been happier, I would have levitated!! We quickly settled in our rooms and then sat outside, toasting our honeymoon, this place and Africa. As the sun set, a curious wildebeest made his was over to us. He scratched his horn on a nearby tree, checked us out {from a mere 10 feet away} and then grazed for a half an hour right next to us! As the sun decorated the sky, we slid into a state of relaxation and contentment.

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Dinner was served in the main house, and we trekked up the hill, past a gigantic mound of animal poop {yes, I’ve started to wonder whose poop is whose out here…} and sat down to enjoy a gourmet four course meal.
I have been taking photos of almost everything I have eaten on this trip, which has included mostly curries, yum! However, I don’t feel I can do it justice to write about the food all the wine as an aside in a post. I am reserving these ideas and tastes for another post entirely.

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