On my very first day in Cape Town I asked about what kinds of things we would be seeing. My program coordinator, Mieka, mentioned the basics which included things like: Robbin Island, District 6, and Table Mountain. After going through a long list she thought for a moment about what she might have missed and eventually said: “Oh yeah! We’re also going to Fairy Glen.” I laughed slightly, thinking about what a ridiculous name Fairy Glen was, and when I asked her exactly what it was I wanted to jump up and down with excitement. Fairy Glen is a game reserve and we were going to go on an afternoon safari there. The chance to see these animals in their natural habitat as opposed to behind zoo bars thrilled me.
As the day when we would travel to Fairy Glen approached my excitement only grew. After a long weekend at the homestay I was ready to do something touristy and I had faith Fairy Glen would deliver. When we first got there we were immediately served some refreshments and taken straight to the house where we would have our dinner. On the way there we saw rhinos, zebras and even a glimpse of an elephant. I already knew this was going to be a great experience.
Fairy Glen is a big five safari which means that they have lions, rhinos, buffaloes, elephants and leopards. All these animals are referred to as the “big 5” because they are the five most difficult to hunt animals in Africa. The only one we didn’t get a chance to see was the leopard. According to our guide this is because the leopards like coming out at night.
The animal that got the closest to our safari-truck was the buffalo. It charged at us and for a moment all you could hear was 13 girls screaming. The guide insisted that the buffalo wouldn’t be able to tip the truck but I still wonder what it would’ve sounded like if it had actually hit us.
Another animal that got really close to us was the male rhino named Higgins. The female rhino, Lady, was right behind him. Both rhinos were missing their horns. Our guide told us about how poachers had come in the middle of the night and hacked off the horns of the two rhinos. Both rhinos were severely injured but they managed to survive the terrible event. It hurt to see them without their horns but they seemed to be healthy and happy as they walked on by our truck.
One of the first animals we saw other than the big five was a small little antelope called the springbok. It seemed as if there were millions of them around. Behind every bush and every tree; they seemed to spring up out of nowhere. We were told that they had over 100 living at Fairy Glen.
After passing by numerous springbok we came upon the wildebeest. They were all standing together and I got a short flashback to the lion king and the wildebeest running all together in a stampede. Then I saw the small baby wildebeest and all thoughts of lion king disappeared.
Speaking of the lion king we saw our fair share of lions at Fairy Glen. They were enclosed in their own section of Fairy Glen to keep them from eating the other animals. It seemed like they had plenty of space but our guide didn't seem to want to give them any space. We drove right up next to them and when one of the blankets fell down to the ground we left it there instead of going to pick it up. I hope they lions enjoy having a bright pink blanket.
The night before leaving for the homestay I treated myself to an exotic ostrich burger. I felt a little guilty about it once I saw some real live ostriches running around. I think they sensed I had eaten their friend because as soon as the guide stopped the vehicle for us to take some pictures they turned tail and ran. The only good picture I got was of their butts.
Some of these mountains were just insanely beautiful. It was a cloudy day and chance of rain was 60% so everyone was afraid it would rain. The clouds had other plans besides crying though and they enveloped the mountaintops in blankets of white.
Just looking at all these animals and the beautiful land in which they live made me finally realize why it’s called Fairy Glen. It’s simply magical.