Safari to South Africa with Adventures by Disney - Part 2
by, 05-26-2012 at 09:32 PM
A few weeks ago, I began a series on a unique trip I took to South Africa with Adventures by Disney (ABD). If you've never heard of ABD, it's a unique arm of Disney Travel which creates fully planned vacations around the world. You can get caught up on the first part of my adventure here: South African Safari Part 1.
Day 5 Garden Route
Word of the Day: Knysna --Knynsna means ferns
Early 5:29 am
We met the group in the lobby where the hotel provided us a continental breakfast. We then were given a boxed lunch on the way to the bus to eat in route to the airport. When we got on our South African flight in Cape town we were served another light breakfast. I was definitely well fed and ready for the flight to our next destination.
We were met at the George Airport by our trusty bus driver who had thoughtfully driven most of our luggage the day before (so we would not have to bother with luggage hassle at the airport!). Our next stop was the scenic Fancourt hotel where we arrived about 9am and had a sprawling (you guessed it) breakfast We then went to . . .
Wow, this place was awesome! (with a name like Monkeyland, it has to be good!) The monkeys are all surrendered by their owners who were overwhelmed by the difficulties of keeping these intelligent wild animals as pets, others are surplus primates from zoos.
This place is amazing. Imagine walking through your local woods, but instead of seeing squirrels everywhere there are monkeys!! There are many types of Primates here: Prosmimians (lemurs etc), New World Monkeys (Found in central and south America, all with prehensile tails), Old World Monkeys (All Monkeys from Africa and Asia) and Apes (represented in Monkeyland by Gibbons and Humans).
We were amazed and amused by these great creatures, and found out one important tip: When your guide says no food, this means dried fruit also.
One of our group took out a PIECE of a dried apple to eat quickly (diabetic and needed to raise blood sugar) and a gibbon did NOT like that it was not his and got quite close, showed his teeth and his posterior to us! At that point, the apple was quickly tossed to the offended monkey and we scampered to the gift shop. Whew!!
Birds of Eden is a short walk next door.
Birds of Eden sanctuary was created with the intention of re-homing a number of unwanted birds, giving them the opportunity to live in a more natural environment. The birds here were quite beautiful and many got quite close to us. There were also marmosets which followed us around almost like a puppy. We did not touch any of these animals, but they got rather close to us.
After our tour of Birds of Eden it was lunch time!
Good thing we had multiple small breakfasts earlier, as it was about 2pm and we were hungry. In my opinion, was one of the best meals of the trip!
Lunch at Bramon Wine Estate—fresh homemade food, great wine Lunch was set up on picnic tables in the vineyards. The food was incredibly fresh and the wine was phenomenal.
Next up was a motorcoach ride to Pezula. Normally ABD stays at a hotel in town, but this trip Pezula was our hotel.
WOW. Pezula is called the Pebble Beach of South Africa. There is a golf course running throughout the grounds, and there is even a castle you can rent!
We got to see the castle as part of our hotel tour. Nelson Mandela stayed here, as well as many rock stars and celebrities wanting privacy. We went through 5 privacy gates (with guards!) to get to the castle.
Built into the rugged cliff-face with direct access to the beach, the castle complex has its own chef, executive butler and housekeeper. I can certainly see why the rich and famous like it here!
After being wowed at the castle we went to check into our own rooms at Pezula.
Dinner was on our own in Knysna—I almost had zebra but chickened out at the last minute. Zebras are just too cute.
If you would like to follow the story in even greater detail, please follow my full detailed trip report posted to MiceChat's Boards here.
We went back to the hotel and were looking forward to dreams of Monkeys, beautiful birds, and plentiful breakfasts. In our room was a note warning us about the baboons that wandered the property. We were winding down from our fun filled day and found this warning at the end of our in our in-room welcome letter:
Fyi“PLEASE BE AWARE OF BABOONS ON PROPERTY”
Pezula Resort and Spa is an eco-resort and there are baboons and other wildlife on the thr property. They are sometimes seen within the hotel grounds and have been known to enter the suites, looking for food. If you see a baboon, do not confront it or try to block its way, and do not give it any food. Inform reception as soon as possible. Please close and lock your doors at night and when you leave your suite.
We did not see any baboons at any time when we were in Africa, so I guess this letter warned them off for the whole trip!
Day 6 –Knysna
Word of the Day : Bakgat –means cool or awesome in Afrikaan
Featherbed nature reserve-
We boarded a ferry across Knysna Lagoon then took a Unamog (4 wheeled drive off road vehicle—like a slow jeep that seats 16)to the top of the reserve.
This was a beautiful spot in which you had a choice of how to descend:trek or truck.
In Truck, you ride the Unibog back down but you don’t see as many beautiful vistas.
In the trek, you are handed a walking stick and have to hike down a narrow and rocky walkway. Truck is faster but more stark, trek is more challenging but beautiful.
My Auntie took the truck and make it down very quickly. I took the trek, and most of the walk was pretty and not too challenging. Except one part. The cave.
There was a cave in which you could go down and feel the Indian Ocean (it was cold). That was great and we got some good shots, but there were 135 steps going down which was fine. It was the 135 steep steps going back up that made the journey more challenging !
Once everyone was caught up, we had lunch and we were on our own for a few hours before it was time to get ready to go to the Knysna Elephant park.
Dinner with the Elephants at the Knysna Elephant park—wowsers.
The elephants were amazing, and we got to get up close and personal with them. I was surprised to learn how soft the skin was behind their ears and how rough the rest of their skin was.
We were told to take our backpacks/purses etc with us from the tram and we got to see why. When we were out of food for the herd the matriarch went straight to the tram to see if there was anything hiding food from her.
We had dinner at the elephant park. I tried Warthog, which was not bad, but you will see in my next report how it might have been bad karma.
Have you visited South Africa or taken an Adventure by Disney?
Teresa Cory is founder of Fairy Godmother Travel (Dusty calls me the head pixie). I have been a Disney-only travel agent for 10 years. I've been planning MiceChat group trips for several years and am proud to have been selected as the "Official Travel Agency of MiceChat.com". I'm a native Texan and live in Houston with my husband and our rescued Dachshunds. Both of my boys are in college at Texas A&M. Contact Teresa at FairyGodmotherTravel.com for MiceChat group trip information or for any of your Disney travel needs (or email [email protected]).