South Africa: The Panorama Route and Hazyview Elephant Sanctuary

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After our week in Swaziland, we were rejuvenated and ready to greet our first visitors! My parents had decided to come and spend two weeks with us, starting in Hazyview, South Africa.

On their first full day on this side of the world, we took a drive along the Panorama Route, near Kruger National Park, in northern South Africa. Alex took the wheel and, after losing and retrieving a hubcap, we were on our way. Other than the potholes that threatened to swallow us (and our hubcaps) at every turn, we enjoyed the sites along this winding road: eucalyptus tree farms, little towns, and mountain views.

We skipped the stop for God’s Window, as the fog was so thick we could barely see out our own, and continued on to Bourke’s Luck Potholes.

Here, we took a short walking loop to get a look at these geological wonders, reminiscent of certain areas of Utah.

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We then continued on toward the Three Rondavels Overlook, where we had views of the Three Rondavels and the Blydepoort Dam.

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As we headed back, we stopped again at God’s Window for a view of the valley.

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We spent the next day in the company of elephants at the Hazyview Elephant Sanctuary. My mom had been looking forward to this day for so long, and I don’t think she-or any of us- were disappointed when we got to learn about, feed, touch, walk with, and ride the elephants.

The two elephants at the sanctuary  had been taken as babies to a farm in Botswana during a culling project in Kruger National Park. When they were fully grown and began breaking trees and causing destruction on the farm, they were no longer wanted as pets and were sent to the sanctuary.

Being so close to these huge animals was a bit intimidating but truly awe-some, and a great kick-off to all of our animal-viewing to come.

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