As we left Sondzela’s Backpacker’s we said goodbye to the daddy Nyala, and then to the baby Nyala, which were both hanging out on the road as we passed by. The mother has white stripes around her body. We drove to St. Lucia on the beach (Indian Ocean), which took until 2:30 PM because we hit some road construction. We had made a reservation through Hostel Bookers but the hotel hadn’t received it, even though I had received confirmation from HB. Luckily they had our three-bed room and since there was no one else staying in the ‘backpacker’s’ part, we had our own kitchen, living room with TV, and bathroom. We bought some supermarket cold cereal and milk for breakfast and with the bananas we bought from a roadside vendor, and the oranges we still had left, for which we had bought a wooden ‘juicer,’ we had a great breakfast the next morning. The proprietess of our hostel had a pet pig named Bacon. He liked chasing Marco and Lorenzo around the yard.
That first evening, we drove to the superb white, powdery sand beach and Marco and Lorenzo enjoyed jumping in the huge waves, just as the sun was about to set. I tried the Laundromat and the internet, but both were closed by 5:30. We go to bed early, usually after journaling, playing cards, or reading.
At lunch one day the boys were thrilled when they got their Sprite and Coke in GLASS bottles! I guess this is a rarity as the soda pop is usually served in cans or plastic bottles. To us old-timers, glass bottles seem routine, but I guess times have changed.
We did go for a little walk in the ‘St. Lucia Wilds’ and saw a caravan of caterpillars that were all connected into a long string, about eight feet long! You could see where they had moved across the path. While there were several things to do, like a cruise on the river to see crocs, or going on game drives, the boys preferred the beach as we had already seen so much wildlife, both in Kruger and in Swaziland. We did get up early one morning to go snorkeling; the water is only good for snorkeling at low tide, and unfortunately, that was to be at 8:00 AM on our last morning. It was even earlier the previous two mornings. Alas, when we got our equipment rented and drove out to Cape Vidal, there didn’t seem to be any snorkeling possible, as the water in the ocean ‘pool’ was only a foot deep, and the waves beyond the coral beds where the water was deeper were way too high. One man said that since he had last been here a few years ago, the ‘pool’ had totally filled in with sand. We saw a few swimmers (waders) but no snorkelers. So we enjoyed the wild life and birds on the drive back to town and then had a proper breakfast in a small restaurant. Later the boys again went swimming in the waves on the beautiful beach.
We had a long drive the next day to Amphitheatre Backpacker’s Lodge in the Dragensberg Mountains, which was about half way back to Johannesburg. The facility was a lovely rustic layout with a gorgeous view of the mountains. We stayed in a dorm and had two young men roommates.
The boys had some fun with ping pong, and the Jacuzzi (with suds) while I took a sauna.
The next morning the boys went for a horse ride in beautiful scenery. Two young South Africans led the way. They were lucky enough to spot two new antelope—an eland, the largest of the antelopes, and a reebok. After that, we were on our way to the Johannesburg airport to meet our Lonely Planet friend and advisor, Rudi, and his wife, Brenda, for dinner at the airport. They had generously invited us to dine at their home, but I was apprehensive about finding the airport in the dark afterwards. We managed to find each other at the airport even though neither of us knew what the other looked like. We had a lovely dinner together and enjoyed making these new friends.
Now we’re on our way to Italy to meet Marco and Lorenzo’s parents (my daughter and son-in-law) and visit the town where their father grew up. They have two aunts and uncles and four cousins to visit there, which they look forward to doing each summer.