Week 20 - Back to Garonga
Golden Gate Highlands National Park, South Africa
Sunday 27th - Monday 28th
We woke up early on Sunday morning so that we could pack up and leave before it got busy. On our way out we popped into the shop and got some drinks for the road. When I came out to get in the car Ben gave me a present from the shop, it was an adorable little toy elephant which is awesome and I have called it Addo. I also got Ben a little present, a new mug that he can have coffee in, seeing as his other one went missing, so with our little gifts and some drinks for the road we were finally out on the road and driving back to Golden Gate
I had the first shift and drove for a good few hours while Ben had a nap, then we stopped for a while, got some more petrol and Ben took over, at which point I promptly fell asleep! By early afternoon we had made it all the way up to Bloomfontein and we swapped again. I did the last leg of the journey because I was quite enjoying the driving; I had some music on while Ben had a nap and quite contently singing along to it. Ben even woke up and had a sing along with me when we finally made it back to Golden Gate. It was around 5pm when we arrived and we drove over to see Victor in his lovely new house.
He welcomed us back and asked all about our trip, then introduced us to his family and gave us the grand tour of the house. The back garden had a spectacular view of a mountain on one side and a valley on the other, with game dotting the side of the mountain. It was the loveliest view from a house I had ever seen. Eventually though we had to say goodbye so that we could get to BCV, on our way out Ben gave Victor a little ornament elephant from Addo to say thank you for all the free accommodation which pleased him no end. I also cheekily asked him if he would take my CV and he gladly said he would take both of ours and see what he could do. Truly a great man, and so friendly and welcoming, it makes being in South Africa so much more special and makes me want to stay here when I know there are people that genuinely want to help you make a difference here.
So we left Victor and headed off to our accommodation back at BCV. Driving through the park was amazing as usual, the springbok, wildebeest and zebra with their babies welcomed us back to Besotho Cultural Village as we wound up the mountain to the beautiful huts with the breathtaking views of the landscape. There were Black wildebeest down on the plains, and after unpacking the car we watched them for a few minutes until the sun began to set and the wind brought the cold night air making me run inside and jump in the most awesome showers in Africa to warm myself up. I made some dinner shortly after and then we stayed up watching Michael McIntyre until I fell asleep.
On Monday morning we woke early and with a lot of reluctance packed the car and left Golden Gate to pick up Bens car and drop off the rental. The woman at the rental car place was so pleased that we were able to carry on with our trip and have a wonderful time and we thanked her in return for her help. We would otherwise have been stuck in Harrismith for a very long time! Once we had picked up the Landy and put all our stuff back in the car we started our journey back up to Garonga.
It was a quiet journey and all Ben and I could do was reminisce on the wonderful adventures we had got up too. Garonga would be nothing but revision and waiting for everyone to leave now that we were headed back, and finally the realization that the last five months was coming to an end had hit me. I wanted to leave Garonga and head off to a new wonderful placement so badly that I forgot about leaving Ben and my close friends behind. I was definitely going to miss girly chats with Candace, cooking and singing along to Gospel music with Rosemary, staying up late round the fire with the Saturday late night crew, and not forgetting the adventures Ben, Candace, Dan and I had had in the wonderful Chico! Even though the last five months had been a lot of hard work and tough at times, I couldn't deny that I was going to miss the place, just a bit.
It was 9pm by the time we got back to the reserve and the place was eerily quiet. We unpacked the car and went into the farmhouse carefully trying not to wake everybody up. Once everything was in and we had said hello to Malcolm and Sheldon who had come out to greet us, I took myself off to bed and what with the last ten days of epic adventures I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.