Johan’s Diary – July 10, 2016
I woke up today in Durban, South Africa. It was a cold winter day for the people in Durban, but for us it felt like a nice summer day. It was a perfect temperature, about 20 degrees with a breeze and sun. Sophie and I had a nice breakfast and then took a walk down to the beach by the Indian Ocean. Before we left the hotel I texted Martin and realized that I was in a new continent. I was feeling a little tense and concentrated before our journey to Andi’s Farm, as it was my first time driving on the left hand side and in a new country. As well Durban is a big city with five lane highways.
We had a 300 km drive to Andi’s and Sophie was a great co-driver, reading all of the directions I had printed out for me and signs along the drive. It was a very nice drive as the roads were good and almost like Sweden’s roads, but not quite. Along the drive we stopped at the side of the road for lunch. The scenery along the drive looked like a savannah, as there were not many houses, people, or trees. It looked wavy with hills and valleys. You could see 10 km in each direction. About 10 km before we reached Andi’s farm there was a traffic jam due to construction, which took one hour to get through. We only arrived at Appin Farm just before the sun went down. We parked outside of the house where we would live and were called by Andi wondering where we were, since we were held up in traffic for so long. We watched the sun go down, it was so beautiful to watch it go down over the mountain. It was quite high, around 700-800 meters. We are currently sitting at 1, 532 altitude here on Appin Farm. That is the same altitude as in Nepal!
Two Norwegian girls who have been volunteering on the farm for one month came and picked us up. They brought us up to the top of the mountain, where there was a barbecue and bonfire. As soon as we jumped out of the car to wait for the Norwegian girls, we could hear the lions roaring from their enclosures. We also saw Mela, who was about 200 meters up on the hillside sitting in her enclosure. We walked up to where the barbecue was and also where Andi has her caravan. She had three lions close by in their enclosures. One of the lions comes from Spain, Natasha and two smaller boys around 10 months old. They were quite shy. We enjoyed a very nice barbecue with Andi and her friends from Holland.
We returned back to the guesthouse for volunteers, which felt a little cool inside, but one of the rooms has an open fire. We sat by the fire and chatted with the Norwegian girls some more. It was a very nice evening hearing stories from Andi about how she got where she is today. It’s a very beautiful place here and I look forward to seeing the morning. I can’t wait to see what happens tomorrow and hopefully meet some of the lions up close. Sophie and I brought big buoys as toys for the lions, so hopefully we can give those to the lions soon! In the morning I will go and help the Norwegian girls to build whatever needs to be done around the farm as they are in charge of construction. Sophie will follow Andi in the morning. Thank you for today, can’t wait to see what else is in store!
Lööf Foundation representative