Hi this is Henry. We spent the last few days out of Internet range. These were our safari days.
Wednesday we said goodbye to our friends in Eshowe and travelled to St. Lucia, on the Indian Ocean, where we checked into the cute-as-heck Umlilo Lodge and took some time to shop for African jewelry and carvings. For dinner we had a traditional South African "potjie" which is like beef stew cooked in one pot over an open fire.
Thursday we took a two-hour boat cruise on the St. Lucia Estuary, where there are hundreds of hippos and plenty of crocodiles and birds. Later we drove to Hluhluwe-Umfoloze Game Reserve, where we've stayed for two nights at Hilltop Camp (not camping, but it little "rondeval" huts). Each day, we took a very early (6am) and later (5pm) game drives. We saw a pride of four lions twice! Lot of beautiful zebra, giraffes, warthogs (only the male warthogs think the females are cute), hyena, elephants (one mama with her LITTLE baby in the river), and lots of antelope and birds. Our guide was Xolani, a warm gentle-hearted guy from the town of Hluhluwe, the "X" in his name is pronouced with a "click" in the back of the mouth, sort of like when you're clicking to tell a horse to get moving.
Friday mid-day between safari drives we left the park to visit nearby Nykaniso High School, where my friend Jesper and I sponsored classrooms two years ago -- so now the 11th graders don't have to walk 10km (6mi) each way to go to school in another village! The students there are great dancers and singers -- they won the district and regional competitions, and went to Johannesburg (a mighty journey!) and won seventh in the nation! Hooray! The kind principal gave me a beautiful zulu basket.
At Hilltop Camp the night before last I was up half a dozen times trying to mouse-proof our rondeval (hut) from the devil mouse - kept getting into the trash can, or our backpacks, or the groceries... BUT last night in a flurry I caught him by stepping on his tail, picked him up, and swinging him by the tail I sent him into orbit out the door. He didn't come back! Flying lessons! The rest of the travelers are thankful they didn't have to deal with him.
Tonight we're sleeping in Piet Retief on a stopover as we drive to Johannesburg for a few days learning history and Apartheid.