We had to race the clock (per usual) to make it out of Kruger Park before the gates were locked, but managed to have time to stop and celebrate Moglie's 200,000 km mark. The next stop of our journey would be Blyde River Canyon, but the drive there from the Kruger Park proved to be a stressful one. The night came quickly and the roads were windy and unfamiliar and there were tons of big trucks rumbling around the corners. The landy we call Rupert (aka the green monkey) had two near collisions and I was white knuckling it most of the way there. It was a relief when we all pulled up to the site in one piece. These nights in the Blyde River Canyon proved to be among the coldest nights of the trip.
Our new site was beautiful and while they tended to be a bit mischievous, I enjoyed the vervet monkeys hanging around. Our first day in the canyon we went for a drive and ended up at Potholes. I had a great time climbing around the rocks with Charlie and managed to slip and end up with wet pants and shoes. Jess and Sarah were not too keen on heights so they watched from a distance and basked in the sun. After climbing around a bit we headed to God's window and enjoyed a spectacular view of the whole canyon. You could see pine plantations for miles. We drove back towards the site and ended up at a huge waterfall that dropped down a cliff into a beautiful canyon. Jess, Charlie and I laid on the edge and looked down over a cliff that seemed to never end. Really got the adrenaline rushing!! Our final stop of the day was at a look out point that proved to have a stunning view of the three rondovals. We headed back to camp (after taking a wrong turn and getting an insiders view of the local township) and I played a game of bat and ball with the boys. We had a great dinner (Complete with smores in honor of the 4th of July) and enjoyed the impala club blues before freezing our butts off and attempting to get some sleep between the fits of shivers.
The next day the moglie crew (Craig, Julian, Dave and Mike) went horseback riding in the morning while the rest of us went for a hike. The hike was lovely and we ended up sitting on a rock that overlooked the canyon while we talked and basked in the sun. The air was fresh and the view was spectacular. After a nice long chat we headed back to camp as it would soon be our turn to go horseback riding. We headed to the barn and my senses perked up as I heard the horses nickering. The ride was nice though a bit of a tease as I would have like to let the horses loose and go for a gallop, unfortunately not everyone in the group was so keen. While we didn't do much more than a walk, it was still nice to be back in a saddle and feel a horse beneath me again. It has been way to long!!!
The last night at Blyde River Canyon was the coldest and I don't know how I managed to get through it without getting frost bite. Our last morning there was a hasty one as we just wanted to get packed and get on the road so we could begin to thaw out in the car. Jess, Sarah, Charlie and I all road in the Jeep and stopped at a nearby town to have pancakes (aka crepes) and a cup of tea. It was nice to have feeling in my hands again...next stop St. Lucia!