Jason's Southern African Journey 2005 travel blog

The animals are so used ot the horses that you can get...

Large kudu bull

A family of elands, the largest antelope in Africa

Mother and baby zebra

A big group of black wildebeest hiding in some trees

A male waterbuck sitting at close range. Evidently, this is ver rare...

My guide Andre and the beautiful mountains in the background

The impressive stables of Welgemoed Stoet

The most vicious animal of the day...a three month old dachsund

Me and Andre after our ride

Hi everyone,

Sorry for not updating yesterday. I had a great morning horseback ride with my guide and owner of the nearby stables, Andre. Just off his property is a large wildlife preserve that is used almost exclusively for horseback tours so the animals are very used to the animals and allow you to get real close for some great pictures. Keep in mind, though, that I was on the back of a horse when the pictures were taken so some of them might be a bit off-center. About 2 minutes into the preserve we came around a bend and not 10 feet away was a group of giraffes eating from some of the high trees. This was my confirmation that I was indeed in Africa. They gave us a quick look but could care less that we were there and I was able ot get some real nice shots. As we went on over the next 2 hours we saw basically everything the preserve had to offer; eland, kudu, zebra, wildebeest, waterbuck and springbok. The only two commonly seen animals we missed were oryx and warthog. Like I said before, since the animals are so used to the horses it was rare that the animals we came across ever gave us more than a quick glance. Andre said that on a good day in that preserve yuo could sree as much game as you could in a day at Kruger National Park, South Africa's oldest and most well-known park. Obviously there are no predators in this preserve, otherwise we would need some really fast horses and really strong rifles. Overall it was a great first wildlife experience here in Africa and i would recommend that anyone who has the opportunity to do it on horseback do it. The peace and quiet of being out in the bush without engines roaring really enhanced the experience. Now, for why I didn't update this site yesterday...

As it is the low season here, I am one of only two people staying at this backpackers lodge. The other guest, Rene from Switzerland, arrived yesterday morning and is a good friend of the couple who own the lodge. When I returned from my tour Rene and I got a ride into town from Christel to pick up some odds and ends. En route we found a luiquor store (or "Bottle Shop", as they call it in South Africa). Rene came out with a case of his favorite local beer. Not to be outdone, I came out with a case of local beer...and a bottle of red wine! We got back that afternoon and started drinking a few down when Yogi had the idea that we have a braai, what South Africans call a barbeque. An hour later a couple of guys from Pretoria (the capital of the country located just north of Jo'burg) showed up so we ended up sitting out in the large thatch hut out back where the grill is, drinking beers and eating some unbelievably good meat. I had every intention of gettihng in a quick update but one beer led to another and pretty soon I was about 6 deep and made the executive decision to wait until today. I think it was for the best. Anyway, today I went to the Magaliesberg Elephant Sanctuary where you get very up close and personal with some incredible animals. I'll put a post from this in tomorrow morning and then do another one in the evening after I get back from the DeWildt Cheetah Reserve so I should be caught up. I promise some great pics.

Thanks to those of you who have left messages or sent an e-mail

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