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anna_moon Bathurst - A travel report by Polly
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Bathurst,  South Africa - flag South Africa
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anna_moon's travel reports

Lions, and elephants, and pineapples, oh my!

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After performing several puppet shows in Grahamstown, we stopped on the road between Grahamstown and Port Elizabeth to visit the Shamwari Game Reserve. After a fun day on safari, we spent the night at the Summerhill pineapple plantation in nearby Bathurst.

Favourite spots:
Bathurst travelogue picture
It was interesting to stop at a private reserve as later we would visit the famous Kruger Park. Shamwari was different from Kruger in several ways – it was much smaller, and the vehicles we were able to go off-path, so we saw many more animals in a shorter period of time. Our guide told us that he had led a tour for the stars of ‘The Ghost and the Darkness’, such as Val Kilmer, when the cast had visited. Fun name-dropping aside, he was extremely knowledgeable and made the trip exciting. He taught us about the ‘Big Five’, how to find elephants (sights, sounds, and smells), and the correct pronunciation of zebra (it rhymes with “Debra” – zed, not zee, you silly Americans). We tracked down a herd of elephants, a mother rhino and her frolicking baby, giraffes, and various antelopes. On this reserve, the lions are kept in a separate, fenced-in area. I wish I had had a camera with a zoom lens, but some of the animals got so close, I didn’t need one.

What's really great:
Bathurst travelogue picture
Also included in our tour of Shamwari was a stop at ‘Kaya Lendaba’, which the reserve bills as a ‘traditional African Healing village’. Though I wondered how authentic it would be, the three ladies who lived there swept us in with a “Makos!” and told us how such a village works. The architecture was interesting – the clay huts doorways were mouths, and the eyes served as windows. Large bones and pieces of gnarled wood were set up as fences (to keep the monkeys out, they told us).

Sights:
Bathurst travelogue picture
The giant pineapple on the plantation at Bathurst rivals the tacky cement tee-pees and other similar tourist traps found in the American west, but it’s still good fun. Climb to the top of the world’s largest pineapple, and be educated on pineapple production along the way!

Accommodations:
Bathurst travelogue picture
We stayed at Summerhill plantation, in clean, nicely decorated rooms set up for a family – four or five of us stayed in one room. It came decorated in raspberry and white stripes and plaids, complete with large, comfortable armchairs surrounding a fireplace.

Restaurants:
We had a delicious lunch at Shamwari before our safari, and were given hot cocoa afterwards (it was a bit rainy that day). We also ate dinner at Summerhill, and had the best hamburgers in all of South Africa (for some reason, we kept getting fed burgers). The dining room was a large and warm wooden lodge-type setting. And of course we sampled slices of pineapple.

Published on Wednesday January 21th, 2004


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