Up early, had breakfast then off to a spice garden by 9am. We had a fantastic private tour of the garden, our guide and owner of the property proudly showing us how he grows and prepares Pepper, Cloves, cinnamon, coffee, cardamoms and so much more.
We were smelling and eating leaves and herbs for a fascinating hour. The guide was so passionate, his garden a source of great pride to him. I could have set up a seat and just sat in the middle lost in thought for hours. So beautiful.
We purchased various spices to bring home and got to meet with various family members all working in and around the family garden and small shop, all with the same love of the life they have.
Next we went to visit some elephants. The elephants responded to the keepers voices.
They do rides for 30 minutes round the spice plantation where they live. There are 5 elephants, but only 3 work at a time. They also only give rides between 10:30 to 12 and 3:30 to 5 so not slogging about all day for the tourist trade. When not working they are left to walk around, no chains, they have a large covered enclosure that they can shelter in or walk round the plantation at their leisure.
The keepers used no sticks with sharp ends or any of the other horrific things that we have heard. These animals are truly loved and well looked after.
Back to the hotel for lunch, shared a club sandwich and a beer. Then Bobby collected us for a boat trip in the nature reserve.
No expectations of this trip, Oh were we surprised.
Sat on a boat, each seat with a number so no pushing and shoving for the best spot. We were on the top deck with fab views. The boat travels along at less than walking pace but we still had to wear life jackets. So funny so see us all.
We were only moving for about 30 seconds when a wild boar trotted down to the lake edge for a drink. Grey herons and storks everywhere. Then a shout went out. Elephant. In front of us was a group of three, two large females and a baby, playing in the water. The boat stopped so we could watch. After a few minutes they walked up in the bank and sprayed each other with sand.
Just as we were about to move on and leave, another very large mummy elephant and a tiny baby came down to the opposite side of the lake. She then led her calf into the water and together they bobbed and swam across the lake.
The Aunty of the 1st group wandered off and the two mums and babies spent time dusting themselves and looking like they were having a good chat before walking off together towards the trees.
A stunningly breathtaking experience.
We would have been happy to go home then, it was just so amazing, but the next minute we saw a family of otters playing on the bank, then splashing around in the water.
A mongoose playing with a log, deer on one bank grazing on the open plain and bison round the next corner, also a fake crocodile, ( turned out to be a log) along with so many different birds complete with the bright flashing of kingfishers swooping over the water.
The trip was about an hour and a half, we did not know what to expect and were blown away by the sheer excitement of seeing so much wildlife in such close proximity. The boat would stop at each new encounter so we could really watch. Being out on the water we offered no threat to the animals
The guard on our boat decided that Mum was obviously too old to manage to take her own photos. He took her Ipad and photographed and video’d everything for her. He just loved his job, and who wouldn’t out on a boat watching wildlife at its best.
We left the boat and made our way back up towards the visitor centre, I was slightly in front when I heard a laugh Humph. Looked back to see mum spread eagled up the concrete steps. Her foot had slipped on the sand and down she went. I’m sorry but no photos, too many people around, would of looked a bit odd if I hadn’t rushed to her aid.
In reality she has a black knee and a purple hip. A bit shaky but otherwise ok. We slow walked back the car and came up close to long tailed black monkeys as well as Rhesus Macaque monkeys. We also spotted giant squirrels and a massive natural bees nest.
Finished our magnificent day by eating fabulous Indian buffet food at the hotel.
Mum battered and bruised but covered in arnica cream and loaded full of anti inflammatory pills.
This has to have been one to the most exciting days ever.