Wow. I know I’ve kept you all waiting for so long… but I’ve been working on the post. And we’ve been doing some other stuff too… but this should answer all your questions!
So on Friday lunchtime-ish, my darling Glugster and I set off for our destination. Which for me was still a mystery.
All week I’d been falling asleep at my desk, and when I started dozing off in the car, I asked my sweetheart if he would mind me catching 40 winks. I tipped my seat back and slept almost all the way there!!
Shortly after I awoke we pulled up at the gates of the luxurious 4 star Plumari Game Lodge. It’s beautiful, and we were put into the deluxe chalet, number 14, aka “Warthog”! Our little veranda looked out onto what they call the elephant pool, and there were kudu and waterbuck at the pool when we arrived.
Plumari was the first game lodge in Gauteng to sport the big 5- though the leopards are not residents- and shortly after we arrived we set off on a game drive. We were the first tow people in the vehicle, and we were snuggling and canoodling and giggling as we usually do, when a loud American accent pronounced that we must surely be honeymooners! We grinned and said “not yet”… We saw SO many animals, including catching a glimpse of their 3 lionesses through the long grass, where they were lounging after polishing off half a cow. We also saw several birds, and then were very sorry we left our bird book at home.
Coming back from the game drive led to dinner in the lodge restaurant. Several courses, all snazzy and different to “the usual” and oh so yummy!
We then retired to our cottage, where our king-sized bed had been turned down and the electric blanket turned on.
Talk about spoilt!
We, erm… went to bed early 😉 because my darling told me we’d be having a really early morning.
The next morning, I was awoken at 5h30, with coffee, by my Glugs. We got dressed, and then set off for another destination that was to be a surprise for me. I was already immensely excited, and it was dark so I couldn’t see much along the road… but when we turned into the driveway of Bill Harrop’s Original Balloon Safaris– my butterflies started doing backflips!!
They were already filling the balloon (one of the three biggest in the country) when we arrived and had coffee- and I was stunned by how big it was! Even the basket dwarfed the bakkie standing next to it! It wasn’t long before they called us over to climb into the basket- which held 17 people including our pilot- Tracy-! We then had a short safety talk, and Tracy started filling the balloon with hot air using the massive burners above our heads. We rose so gently and slowly I didn’t even realise at first that we weren’t on the ground anymore!
It was gawjiss from up there, and my darling remembered how I love to fly in a way that I can still see the ground beneath me!
About halfway through our hour-long flight, my Glugs turned me to face him (I was taking pictures like a mad thing of course) and said that he had been planning to go on one knee, but space in the basket was limited, and said “Will you marry me?”. He had the ring box in his hand and opened it to offer me the ring! I said yes as he slipped the ring onto my finger, and as we kissed our pilot said, “Finally! I was wondering when you were going to get around to it!!” She then took a picture of the two of us, and there was a chorus of congratulations from the other occupants.
As our flight continued, my sweetheart told me that he has been on cloud nine since we met, and that this was as close as he could get to the actual clouds.
When we landed about 11km from where we’d taken off, a little bus was waiting for us and we had champagne and orange juice, as is traditional, and marveled at how fast they packed up the balloon! Back at Bill Harrops’ we had a wonderful breakfast and were then given certificates of achievement- as well as a special congratulatory card for Glugs and I!
We then took ourselves back to Plumari, where the staff came to look for us to ask if we wanted breakfast! After thanking them and saying we’d just eaten, we then retired to, erm… catch up on some sleep *ahem* and woke up in time for lunch! Lunch was taken in Plumari’s restaurant looking out over the elephant pool, with fabulous birdlife, waterbuck and kudu for company.
After lunch, we went on another game drive! This time we were on a MUCH bigger game drive vehicle and there were about 16 of us on the drive. We didn’t get to see any lions that time, much to the other occupants’ disappointment. We did see lots of other animals though. I got some pretty cool pictures of the rhinos and buffalo on the second game drive.
On Sunday morning, we actually got to sleep a little late, and then went back to the restaurant for breakfast.
After breakfast, we went for an “elephant experience” which started with a DVD about where Plumari’s two, semi domesticated, elephants- Damara (the younger elephant) and Nzeve– had come from and how they’d been trained, and a safety talk. A short stroll past our cottage later and we met up with the two ellies where they waited for us with their handlers. They gave us a short demonstration of the commands they’d been taught, and then they lay down so that we could run out hands over their skin and ears. It’s amazing how hairy they are, and how hard the hair is!!
We were then shown by their trainer how we would be feeding them oranges cut into quarters- including taking a piece that we’d be holding in our teeth! After feeding orange pieces to the first elephant, we did the same routine with the second elephant, and then as a bonus, the elephant was told to take his “victim’s” hat off- which he passed to the handler in his back- and then “kissed” them on the head with the slobbery end of his trunk before handing the hat back! My “kiss” thankfully dry but the ellie LOVED the feeling of my Glug’s short hair and he got a head rub and a kiss!
Then it was lunchtime, and we went back to the restaurant where we watched the elephants play and push each other around and throw dust on themselves.
Then we got brave… and made the decision to hike to the top of the koppie to see bushman petroglyphs! It was quite a hectic walk up the hill, but our guide- though almost unintelligible most of the time- was highly entertaining, rambling on about the “fokken skelm ou mense”!
By the time we came down we were beyond buggered, and still had to drive home.
And we weren’t done yet!
On the way home we stopped at my mommy and daddy darling’s house! My siblings and their significant others, and my granny darling, and some of my cousins were all there waiting for us. I had made arrangements earlier in the week with my mommy darling for the party, and for my sister C to pick up the knucklehead and for him to bring the two bottles of champers we already had in the fridge… and my sister C giggled since she doesn’t know anyone else who arranged their own engagement party before they actually got engaged!
I then later found out that my darling Glugs and my mommy darling had already been arranging a surprise engagement party when I decided to organise something with my mom!
Sorry baby… I do so love organising… *sheepish grin*
We toasted our engagement with bubbly- and my daddy darling briefly speechified and managed to say no less than THREE times that we’d all been waiting a loooong time for this. And of course I had to tell everyone how he’d popped the question since we’d been pretty much incommunicado for the entire weekend apart from thé twitpic and an mms to friends and family.
We got home totally wiped out, but blissfully happy.
And as most of you can imagine, I took well over 600 photographs over the weekend, and I’ve loaded some of the ones I really like in a flickr set for you all to see!
And, before I forget, you can get hold of Gisela Piercey, a Tour Operator for Southern Africa- who helped my sweet Glugs with the organising- like this:
email: gpiercey [at] gmx.ch
phone/ fax: 046 648 2632