It was really nice to lie in the tent for an extra hour and listen to birdsong rather than a howling gale this morning. Our site is a clear patch of red sand with a wooden fence and a shady tree. Oh and a stone bathroom block which feels to be the height of luxury. It’s a good fifteen minute walk to the lodge and at 8 o’clock one of the open-sided game vehicles drew up to take us there for breakfast. Most of the other residents had been up and out on various activities for a while but we’d decided to take it easy and recharge a bit. After breakfast we plugged into the intermittent dribble of wifi and blogged and read and looked over our pictures and enjoyed not having anything particular to do. I got the map out and worked out how much fuel we needed in order to drop off the truck empty tomorrow, and tried not to think too hard about the end of the trip. It is coming though…
The service at the Bagatelle is from the school of “Well Meaning but Erratic”. They seemed to be taken aback by our reservation and puzzled over the fact that we had booked meals with them. When we wanted lunch the incredibly smiley lady said “yes of course” and rushed off somewhere for ten minutes leaving us standing in the dining room. When she eventually re-appeared to serve the people at the only two tables set for lunch I asked where we should sit. “Anywhere you like”. Big smile. We lunched, we walked back to the campsite, and generally whiled away the afternoon until 4, when we came back to the lodge for some Activities.
The first, was a sunset ride into the dunes. Our horses were gentle sorts and fairly keen to do a lot of eating as we went.
Tom’s mount – Ziggy – seemed to think that the entire excursion had been designed to give him new dining options and consequently T spent a lot of time cajoling, demanding, pleading and eventually Taking Ziggy In Hand with a combination of heel kicks and mane-stroking to get him going. It was a lovely plod through the red sand dunes as the sun went down; springbok watching us as we went, birds flitting about and a table at the top of a ridge set with gins and tonics and other goodies. We were all beaming.
Tom was especially taken with the experience, and with Ziggy. “We have an understanding now” he said.
It was dark by the time we rode back to the lodge and Tom was all for going again tomorrow. After supper we had one more Activity: a night drive. We bundled up under blankets and the guide turned on a powerful flashlight and drove us out into the bush. We saw one or two things we’d never seen before – a little aardwolf about the size of a small fox; the flashing green eyes of a genet. There were bat-eared foxes and a small herd of giraffe too. Mostly though we just irritated a lot of springbok and oryx who were settling down to sleep. Tom just liked being wrapped up in a blanket and driving through the dark desert.