Happy New Year, everyone!
2018 has already given us a lot of exciting new experiences and I am eager to share them with you.
We celebrated New Year’s Eve with a long weekend in Hazyview, South Africa. Hazyview is located just west of Kruger National Park, so we took a little “safari detour” on our way there. We were lucky to spot two lions lounging in the sun, an elephant herd playing at a watering hole, and the regular herds of zebra, kudu and impala grazing in the bush.
Hazyview is an excellent departure point for Blyde River Canyon, the third largest canyon in the world (and South Africa’s equivalent of the Grand Canyon). The Panorama Route winds through various tourist points throughout the canyon. We were able to visit quite a few of them, including The Three Rondavels, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, Lisbon Falls and God’s Window. Since we were there on a holiday weekend, these sites were quite packed with tourists, but that did not detract from the breathtaking views of the natural beauty. We also had fun exploring the towns of Graskop and Hazyview.
To top it all off, we spent New Year’s Day at the Hazyview Elephant Sanctuary, which is home to two rescue elephants from Namibia. We got the chance to touch, feed, kiss and even walk with a 4-ton bull named Caspar. It was a fascinating experience and I was amazed by the complexity of these creatures; we learned that elephants have excellent memories, an amazing sense of smell and even an emotional gland that indicates what they are currently feeling. Such wondrous animals! Though I have to admit—it was a bit intimidating when I sensed this massive elephant walking behind me. I immediately feared getting trampled by Caspar and a friendly guard stepped into reassure me that all was well and that Caspar would keep a safe distance while I lead him by the trunk. Whew!
So now I keep asking myself—with this kind of start, what else does 2018 have in store for us?!