Friday, 25 July 2014

Thursday 24th July

Today we were able to get a bit more sleep and we all met in the lodge for breakfast at 7:30.  

By 8 o’clock we were packed up and on the road for the Addo Elephant Reserve, which is a South Africa National Park.  You pay upon entry and guests are allowed to drive their own vehicles on the parks roadways; we travelled in our usual game viewers with our rangers as our guides.  We were given a checklist of commonly seen animals in the park to mark our sightings.

Upon entering the reserve we immediately spotted a lone Elephant in the bushes right off the road.  As we continued to drive throughout the park we saw a whole variety of animals: Yellow Mongoose, Meerkats, a single Caracal, Zebra, the clever Fork Tailed Drongo that can mimic the sounds of other animals to their own benefit, multiple Warthogs running with their tails held high, a large herd of Buffalo, young and old, staring at us suspiciously, many male and female Kudu were spotted frequently and of course more Elephants.  An elephant bull was seen strolling down the road alone and some of the students were able to see a whole herd of Elephants with their young at the watering hole!  After a few hours of driving we stopped in to the shop to purchase some souvenirs before heading back to Hlosi Lodge for lunch.

After a quick lunch we headed to the ISIPO orphanage that was founded by 4 women in 2002 that were HIV positive to help promote AIDS awareness and reduce the stigma of the disease in the community.  The program expanded to help orphans either affected by AIDS themselves or who have lost family members due to the disease.  This program involves education, meals and a library with books in multiple languages and four computers with Internet.  

There were playgrounds, sports areas, a garden where the children can plant their own vegetables, and a chicken coop where they collect eggs to help with the meals.  After a quick tour, we got to play with all of the children.  Students played soccer, we played music on our phones and danced with them and of course took a LOT of pictures.  There were children of all ages and very few of them spoke English.  They all spoke Xhosa, however we found that a lot of smiles, music and dance cross any language barrier!  All of the kids loved wearing our hats, sunglasses, and seeing themselves on our cameras. A few of them were quite the posers!  We brought our #whosesideareyouon? signs and made paper rhino horns for the children to pose with and took a few more pictures with them for the cause.  Iowa State University students had done a clothing drive prior to the trip and we were able to donate 5 bins of clothes to the organisation.  When our time was over we were sad to leave and they were equally sad to see us go!  A few of us had to walk hand in hand with the children to our vehicles and many hugs were exchanged.  It was a wonderful afternoon and we were glad to be able to support their organisation.

After some downtime and dinner at Hlosi we headed out in the game viewers for a night drive.  With only the cars headlights and one handheld spotlight we were looking for eye reflections and were able to spot a few animals.  We saw a Jackal feeding off an Eland carcass, a herd of Wildebeest sleeping, some Zebra and a Scrub Hare.  One group’s light had a slight malfunction and decided to break so their trip ended early.  The other group continued on and they spotted a male lion sleeping in the bushes.

Everyone then met back in the lodge for the usual evening of enjoying a drink and chatting by the fire before retiring to bed for some much needed sleep.


  1. Sounds like a good time was had by all, again! Fantastic pictures as always, Jo; the ones of the children put a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye! Bet there wasn't a dry eye when you had to leave.

  2. The image of the two hands clasped together was the one that got me! Besides all the magical animals, of course!! Xx