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New Beginnings Part II

If you missed Part I, you can find it HERE.

After a week with Sam and JJ, too many hangovers and losing at card games, the two of them went back to Joburg while Lance and I left for a job interview in Kwazulu Natal. We were both looking forward to it as it sounded like the perfect job for us. Lance would be working as a field guide and I would be setting up a children’s program and basically be working with children all the time. It took us 8 hours to get there and ended up being an absolute waste of petrol. I have never in my life experienced such an unprofessional “interview”. We showed up, were shown to our room by two of the people who worked there and who were supposed to interview us. After disappearing for a while they then took us on a game drive. It was freezing cold and for some reason the reserve had a certain feel that I did not enjoy. You know how you sometimes walk into a place and there’s this vibe that just isn’t nice. That’s exactly what this place was like. Back at the lodge the two of them disappeared again and we were left on our own for about an hour, not knowing what was going on or where they had gone. Because there were no guests at the lodge, two of their staff members were watching a movie in the lounge. They looked up briefly when we walked in, asked if we were here for our interview, then continued watching and leaving us to sit and wait awkwardly on the couch. The rest of the night didn’t get any better. We had some dinner and small talked for a while. No one had explained anything about the jobs yet, so I figured maybe they were just wanting to chat to us and see if we could fit into the team. The next morning I slept in until 9, while Lance went on a drive with the head guide. When he returned he told me we had an hour to get out, even though we had expected to stay for two nights. In all honesty, I was a little relieved, because I was so ready to get out of this place. However we still hadn’t been interviewed and neither of us had any idea what we would be doing. We were given a bowl of flavorless yoghurt and muesli and expected to leave in the next 15 minutes. I took these last couple of minutes to at least ask what my job would be like as was told that “well we don’t actually have that many kids come to the lodge just yet, so if you could help out with front of house work, waitressing and other jobs, that would be great”. Uhm what?!

We got in the car, looked at each other and said “what the hell just happened?! I am SO confused”. It took us less than 5 minutes to make up our minds that there was no way we would be working here.

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_MG_4867-EditWe did get to see some lionesses and a lion on our drive, so that made up for a lot 🙂

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Another visit from the monkeys in Marloth.

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All in all we spend the entire month of November in Marloth. The weather had been amazing, we’d met some great new people from around here, had gone to Kruger twice, experienced what it’s like to have monkeys in the house and on our second to last day I even got to feed some zebras that walked past the house. It had been a very relaxing month, but we were both ready to move on, in the hope of finding work.

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On Sunday the 1st of December we packed up our stuff and hit the road. We still had some food left over, so we put it all in bags and decided we’d give it to someone on the way who could use it. Somehow we never found someone suitable and ended up taking it all the way back to Joburg. Well, in all fairness we did see a homeless man, walking on the side of the road whose day would have been made, but we were on the highway and it was too dangerous to pull over. I said to Lance: “let’s hope he’s a rapist or something and didn’t deserve it”, because I felt pretty bad about not stopping.

We finally made it to Joburg later that night and it was so good to finally have internet access again after more than a month. We were both pretty tired from the long drive, so ended up going to bed early as we had to get up at 7 the next morning for our next job interview.

This time we went to Madikwe Safari Lodge, another extremely fancy place. One of the perks of looking for work in this industry is that you get to stay in the most incredible places. As soon as we arrived we were greeted with a wet towel and a drink. We sat down to have some lunch before they showed us around the camps and eventually to our room. I had about 40 minutes before meeting with the manager for my interview, while Lance had gone for a drive with the head ranger, so I relaxed a bit, took some photos and got a nice surprise from a large herd of elephants with some very little babies walking past. It was very special to have them walk past our room so close.

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Eventually I had my interview, which I believe went very well and got to enjoy the place a little more before dinner later that night. I felt like I was the wealthiest person in the world, staying at this place, being served cocktails and the fanciest food I’d ever had. I wish I had taken some photos, but totally forgot, so I looked up a few on the internet to give you an idea 🙂

Madikwe

The next morning at 5AM we were woken by a knock on the door for our morning drive. We were told to come down for coffee and tea, before departing at 5.30, so as told we were there at 20 past and ready to go 10 minutes later. Now, apparently the American guests didn’t quite seem to understand what “being on time” meant as every single one of them rocked up just before 6 and had the decency to demand more tea and coffee. Luckily the view was pretty stunning, so I wasn’t too worried about having to admire it a little longer.

The drive was 3,5 hours and although it was a little quiet, we had a great time. We saw a couple of white rhinos, elephants, banded mongoose, baboons and some wildebeest.

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Despite them being called “white”, they actually are the same color as black rhinos. It comes from the Dutch word for “wide”, which sounds like “white”, describing their mouth, which is wider than that of black rhinos. White rhinos are also a lot bigger than black ones.

 

Back at the lodge we had breakfast, packed our bags and checked out. Today we had another interview. This time in the Pilansberg. Although we were a little apprehensive about working in this reserve, the fact that my position would be to run the children’s program, we decided to give it a go nonetheless. The drive took a little longer than expected because we received a phone call from a recruitment lady who we had been in touch with regarding a job in the Sabi Sands, guiding and working with children. She told us she had had a look at our CV’s and was very impressed. Although the lodge hadn’t confirmed yet whether they wanted to see us, she explained that my job would possibly involve looking after children for a few weeks and working as a receptionist the rest of our 6 weeks. It sounded perfect!!

Eventually we got to Pilansberg and decided to drive through the reserve instead of around it. This park has to be the most beautiful reserve I’ve been to so far in South Africa. It’s so incredible that even Lance was tempted to work here. The thing with Pilansberg is, that it’s open to the public, so during holidays it get’s so packed with tourists that you can easily end up with 100 cars on one sighting, plus the fact that this place drives 20 seater trucks, wasn’t very appealing to him. But we wanted to keep an open mind and give them a chance, so we met up with one of the head guys, who took us for a casual drive that afternoon. We had a great time and everyone was very nice, but I could tell that Lance wasn’t convinced this was a place for him.

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Back at the lodge/hotel we had dinner at the buffet and stuffed our faces until we were about to burst. The next morning we had breakfast at 9.30 and checked out at 10. Because our interview wasn’t until 1 we hang around in the lounge for a couple hours. Even though we had already made up our mind about not working here, we decided it would be a little rude to leave before we had even had our interview, so we stuck around a little longer. My job would have been absolutely perfect, which was a little unfortunate to hear, but I figured we had left Toro Yaka because I wasn’t enjoying it, so we’d have to keep looking until we would find something we both loved. We actually received a phone call back from the recruitment lady earlier that day, telling us Sabi Sabi, one of the top lodges in the country, had decided they wanted to interview us, so this made up for having to say no to a job I would have loved.

Later that afternoon we drove back to Joburg, again, had one day in the city before once again driving for 6 hours for our last interview for at least a month. This time it was back to the Sabi Sands, the same reserve Londolozi was in. When we arrived we had some quick lunch before meeting up with one of the managers who showed us around. She took us to the Elefun Centre, the place I would be working at with the children. It looked great and perfect for what I had been wanting to do. Once she had showed us round I sat down with her for my interview, which seemed to have gone well. Once I had finished the head ranger showed up to interview Lance. He then showed us to the staff accommodation, which isn’t too bad. The rooms aren’t big or new, but good enough. The all have their own little bathroom. There is a communal lounge with gym equipment and basically has everything we’d need.

After our interviews we relaxed for a bit and got ready for dinner. While eating we got a nice “little” surprise from a large elephant bull eating from the tree only a few meters away from us. The next morning at 5 I got up for the morning drive, while Lance stayed behind to take the head ranger on a drive to prove that he is not completely useless. It was cold and raining, so we didn’t see much. Right out of the gate however we spotted leopard tracks which we followed for the next hour and a half. Unfortunately we never saw it and returned to camp soon after to have breakfast.

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Not quite sure what happened in Photoshop, but it gives you an idea 🙂_MG_5315-Edit

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Leopard Track

Before leaving the reserve we met up with the lady we’d had our interview with for a final talk. She told us we had both interviewed really well and that they would get back to us early January, due to it being a new position and December being extremely busy, which suited us fine as we had been looking forward to spending Christmas and New years in Plett with Lances family.

These last 5 weeks have been far from boring and I am so grateful to be in a position where I am able to travel around the country, stay in the most amazing places, while looking for work. We’ve driven a lot of kilometers, but every minute has been worth it.

In a couple of hours we are leaving Joburg once again to drive almost 1200 kilometers to Plett, to be able to spend the Christmas holidays and New Years with Lances family. We’re both really looking forward to it. I will be without internet for a while again, so probably won’t be back until 2014.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and an amazing 2014!!
See you next year!!

Map

5000 km’s in 5 weeks!

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