13 9 / 2014
the-steuff said: Hi Melisa, I found your blog and I am very interested about your opinion. I just book for 15 days in this elephant park but I just find out about that the park was accused of cruelty (TheGuardian). It looks horrible and I don't want to volunteer in these conditions. What do you think ? Thanks
I have refused to read any allegations made as it upsets me. This was the best trip I have ever had. I hold so many memories that will stay with me for ever. I looked after a baby elephant for a month while I was there, this was so special and so rewarding. Unfortunately the baby elephant died shortly after i left as she was very ill. She was born with a few problems. I cherish every moment that I had with her. I think about my trip everyday and can not say a bad word about it. I made lovely friends and thoroughly enjoyed my time in South Africa. You will have an amazing , rewarding time there and you will learn lots.
I am not sure what they are saying in the Guardian but I stand by my opinion that this was such an amazing trip as I am sure you have read in my blog.
I hope this is helpful
18 5 / 2013
17 5 / 2013
I arrived 7am the next morning in London. Very Long flight with no sleep, as I cant sleep on planes but made good use of the movies:-)
I was so excited to see my sister and my mum for obvious reasons but I can finally show my secret I have been hiding for the past week. I have cut my hair woooop:-). No more long hair, its now short, actually like Dora the explorer but a bit longer haha. I can now post pictures up with my new hair hehe. My sister was so shocked! It was such a lovely surprise :-) they had no clue!
17 5 / 2013
The lovely staff at the hotel let me check out late today:-) as my flight was 4.45pm, but I still got up at 6am. My body clock is all over the place since working at the elephant park.
I had my lovely free breakfast then packed. My suitcase had to be sat on for it to close :p. I think its all the Rusk biscuits I bought for presents that bulked it out. I didnt really have time to shop whilst I was here, even if I did, I wouldnt have been able to fit it in my suitcase!.
I had a bit of time before i checked out so I walked to Long Street and bought a friend a bracelet which I haggled alot for!. I have learnt from my dad haha. I also got sidetracked by a lovely coffee shop that sold massive muffins! I treated myself to one and a cappachino, took it back to the hotel room and looked through my window at the lovely view for the very last time:-(
All I can say is I will definitely be returning one day to see the ellies and to visit this beautiful country again. I could go on and on but I have already done this in my previous posts, so I wont bore you all again:p
Thank you South Africa
16 5 / 2013
16 5 / 2013
Today I planned to go to table mountain but noooooooooooo it was so so foggy that it was zero visibility on the mountain:-(
I had booked a sightseeing bus tour for today so I hopped on at the V and A waterfront in Capetown and visited a few landmarks along the way. District Six museum was very interesting and very sad to see how people suffered and the segregation that occured. 60,000 residents were forced to move in the 1970s. It became a whites only area, houses were bull dosed and lives were destroyed. It was so sad to read all the stories from the residents that used to live there.
After this, I took the sight seeing bus to table mountain. It was so so foggy:-(. I got to the point where you can take the cable car but the staff said there is zero visibility. It was actually still open! I have no idea why someone would still pay to go up there when you cant see anything. I had bought my ticket online last week so I had to get a refund :-(. Such a shame! This was actually the main reason why I came to Cape Town to go up table mountain
I visited Camps Bay afterwards which is meant to be a famous beautiful beach but on a day like today it was very miserable ha! Oh well, at least I saw it:-). It just means that I will have to come back to South Africa.
I took the bus back to the hotel, had some lunch then walked up and down Long street which is a famous street here in Cape Town for its pretty boutiques, restaurants and lively atmoshphere. I walked back to the market I visited this morning as I wanted to get some presents but felt so so pressured to buy anything I looked at from the guys that worked on the stall!. I felt so uncomfortable by myself, I left and went back to the hotel!. I prefer being with someone whilst shopping, especially in a market like that!. Also, I didnt feel confident walking on Long street, I guess its all new to me, not knowing where I am going or whats around! but it was a nice experience, I just wish I was with someone, as I didnt really buy anything ha, or maybe thats a good thing!
I met up with Chaconne in the evening. We went to an amazing vintage market. It was actually in a bar!. Her friend drove us as its not very safe to walk there. We had a lovely evening, a great way to spend my last night in Cape Town.
I will see Chaconne when she visits london in June:-)
15 5 / 2013
15 5 / 2013
15 5 / 2013
I had such an amazing sleep in the most comfiest bed ever last night! But I am so used to waking up at 6, that I couldnt get back to sleep! I think I was just excited to be in a new place and to have a good nights sleep.
Breakfast is included in the hotel I am staying at, so I made the most of it!:-). Chaconne met me at my hotel and then we got a taxi to the waterfront. We booked the 11am tour to Roben Island. I am not very good with boats as I can get quite sick! but it was fine. It took around 40 minutes to get to Robben Island. As we entered the island, it absolutely stank! I think it was seaweed or bird poo, not sure:-/. I was so amazed by the amount of birds as you enter the island. You can see in my pictures.
We were driven round the whole island. People actually still live on the island, its crazy!. There were 4 prisons. It was so interesting to hear the stories and to get to see how the prisoners lived, the rules that were set and why they were sent to prison. It was so so sad to hear the stories.
An ex prisoner then took us around the prison Nelson Mandela was in. We actually saw his prison cell which felt very strange and surreal. The ex prisoner was so interesting, his voice was so powerful, he explained everything really well, I was so amazed how everything was run back then and how they were treated.
The tour lasted for 2 hours. We got the ferry back and had a really lovely lunch:-). The weather was stunning today!. Not too hot, just right:-)
After this, we got a taxi back. I went back to my hotel and got ready to meet up with Chaconne later in the evening. Her 2 friends she is staying with also joined us for a cocktail. It was a lovely chilled evening. There are loads of interesting cafes, bars and restaurants here in Cape Town. I wish I had more time and money!.
We all wanted to go into another bar after our cocktail but the bar we wanted to go to, were charging Chaconnes friends 50 rand to get in because they were guys! ha ha, it was crazy so we quickly moved on. There are so many beggers on the streets here, it can be a bit much at times. They always say they do not want money but just some food. Chaconne felt so bad for one guy she said she will buy him a Macdonalds but instead he asked if he could have cereal and milk! awww :-(
Luckily, Chaconnes friends had a car so they drove me back to the hotel. A lovely first day in Cape Town :-)
14 5 / 2013
14 5 / 2013
This morning at 7 me, Chaconne and Lucie went to the boma to give the Banana cake I made for the guides and also I gave them a bunch of photos I printed of them in the feild with the Elephants:-)
It was really sad to leave :-(. I have had such an amazing experience here. One that I will hold close to my heart forever. Over the past 4 weeks, I have learnt so much about elephants but also about myself. I was nervous coming out here on my own but I feel my confidence has grown and I feel I am ready to explore even more and travel more. I will really miss being close to nature and the beautiful sunsets and sunrises. I have never felt so relaxed, I think its the open space and fresh air. My family will be very happy to hear this.
Life is about taking risks, exploring, making the most of it, be happy, think positive!:-). Dreams can come true. I know that not everything is possible but I have always put alot of effort into the things I love and feel passionate about that at the end it feels so nice to be rewarded or even to look back and appreciate what you have done. Like with the elephants, I do feel my contribution to looking after Feila, to collecting data, even picking up dung all contributed to the conservation aspect of the park!. Working at 1am or 3am was not a problem for me as I thought, when will I ever be able to sleep with a baby elephant again?! . I always stayed positive and worked as hard as I could and now looking back now, I am so glad I took those shifts and worked throughout the whole day. I really made the most of it and the staff really appreciated our effort:-).
I have met such lovely people here in the park but have made 3 amazing friends who I will stay in touch with forever. Christianne, Alex and Chaconne have really made this trip even more special for me. Thank you:-).
The staff at the park were also wonderful and were so kind and thoughtful. Before I left I had printed out a photo of each of them with Feila. They didnt know I had taken the photo so it was a nice surprise for them.
We left the park at 11am. Lucie and Chaconnes flight were in the afternoon but mine was at 6pm:-( So I had to wait in the airport for a long time! We had a lovely lunch in a strawberry farm beforehand though:-).
I was very emotional on the plane back, Sorry I keep going on how emotional this trip was!. It was actually really sad to leave the elephants. After 4 weeks working with them, you get to know them really well and feel attached to them in a weird way. On the plane, the view was the most amazing view I have ever seen!. The sunset was beautiful and the lights of the city were incredible, so so pretty.
I was really looking forward to getting to Cape Town because I am staying in a 4star hotel!. My dads boss is South African, so he managed to get me a really lovely room breakfast included hehe!
The flight was only 35 minutes!! So quick! from George to Cape Town. I got a taxi from the airport to the hotel but I am sure the taxi driver overcharged me as the meter stopped working, but I was so tired I justt paid and went into the hotel. I am very happy with my room:-). There is a bath!!! yaaaaay:-D and a double bed! the beds at the park felt smaller than a single bed!
Chaconne is also in Capetown so timing has worked out really well!, I have a travel buddy. Tomorrow I am meeting up with her to go to Robben Island. This is where Nelson Mandela’s prison was. Very excited.