Knock knock. “Hello!?”. No response. I bang on the door this time. Still no response. We just arrived at The Robberg House B&B in Plettenberg Bay after driving for six hours from Gansbaai. I was super annoyed and the beach right behind us didn’t calm me down. After another five minutes of calling the B&B’s telephone and continuous knocking and yelling, the “front desk” lady finally heard me (she was in the pool area at the back) and let us in. I won’t lie. I had this sour look on my face and her apologies didn’t dampen my grumpy state. She offered us drinks right away (that helped) and I still barely spoke two words her (I had to admit the beach-themed décor was superbly done.) I don’t know why I was being so annoying; I kept thinking about the negative TripAdvisor review I was going to write about the place.
The front desk lady then opened the door to our room. That’s when everything changed. My sourpuss face melted away into glee. Our room was a palace. We had a king size bed, two sofas, a desk, two balconies with seating, and with still enough space to comfortably fit another king size bed. I was warming up to Plettenberg Bay.
The rest of our time there felt like a dream. We spend a good deal of our time at the B&B to relax and get caught up with our blog writing. I reflected on why I lose my cool so easily. We were supposed to be on a spiritual journey learning to be chill and positive. Be that annoyingly-always-happy person that you avoid but wish you could drink her kool-aid and forget about all negativity. What do I really have to complain about? Aren’t we travelling around the world and “living the life”? Why do I let little things, like someone not opening the door at the snap of my fingers, fluster me? I don’t know.
We eventually ventured out to visit animal sanctuaries and the Robberg Nature Reserve. Even though the preserve was ranked as the number one attraction to see in the area, we almost didn’t go. I couldn’t understand how the animal sanctuaries could get beat by a park.
Our first stop was to Tenikwa. I thought seeing leopards and cheetahs at Tenikwa sanctuary would be the highlight of our trip, but it wasn’t. The wild cats behind bars clearly didn’t belong there and some of them acted like domesticated housecats. We were hoping to interact with some of them but we soon learned you had to pay additional to have that privilege.
The meerkats, on the other hand, were really cool and ended up being the highlight of the wild cat sanctuary. They were the most intelligent and expressive looking creatures I had seen so far. I swear they were looking into my soul—I know that sounds dramatic but they would literally lock their piercing beady black eyes with mine. Doesn’t that give you the chills?
Pictures from Monkeyland
Monkeyland and Birds of Eden sanctuaries were next on the list. Monkeyland was a completely different experience. Our little group consisted of us two and a South African family consisting of a mom, dad, their annoying two kids who chased after every monkey, the kids’ grandmother and their grumpy grandfather whose only objective was to pull a monkey’s tail (he almost accomplished it). Oh, and a newborn baby with a stroller. There were nine different species of monkeys and lemurs in the sanctuary, and we saw all but one of them. It was pretty cool to see primates this close in an open area. I learned three things: most of the monkeys were imported from other countries (zoos mainly), Bolivian Squirrel monkeys loved mating (they were over-flowing in numbers) and that I wanted one as a pet. The moment this last thought crossed my mind our guide told us that monkeys make annoying pets; they pee everywhere, want to hump everything, and bite everyone, and for those reasons people end-up bring them to places like Monkeyland.
Pictures from Birds of Eden
The Birds of Eden sanctuary was going to have a hard time topping Monkeyland. Upon entrance, we saw massive nets (maybe three football fields) over the entire place holding in the birds. There were parrots, exotic chickens, flamingos, ducks and other birds I didn’t know the names of flying all around us. Although it was fun taking pictures of the birds, it wasn’t as thrilling as Monkeyland.
Then my iPhone and Dumpty’s camera ran out of battery. As I sat on a bench next to two small parrots, one of them jumped onto my lap and climbed up my arm using its beak and feet. I was frantically telling Dumpty to take pics with the remaining battery power left before it flew away. Then another parrot landed on top of my head and a third landed on my other shoulder. I nearly lost it. I was praying that the parrots wouldn’t peck my eye out or gorge my hand, so I kept really really still. I forgot all about Monkeyland.
As if we didn’t have our fill, we also went to Seaview Lion Park. Our theory was that in case we didn’t get to see any lions or leopards at the safari, at least we got to see them in the sanctuaries. Most of the lions were napping, but a few that were awake gave out a huge roar and gave us the chills. They were massive and dangerous looking. I was really glad the fence was there and wondered what it will be like seeing these guys out in the jungle with no fence to save us.
The park also had a separate section for tiger, black leopard and lion cubs all under one year old! They had different petting packages and they weren’t cheap. I could only pick two and settled on the black leopard and tigers, both not native to the country (black leopards are mainly in Latin America and Tigers in Asia). Petting the tigers was okay. They, like the cats at Tenikwa, were tame. The eight-month-old black leopard was a different story and really awesome. He kept climbing-up a small tree and jumping on me (little scary). I got knocked down every time (surprisingly really heavy). He would then walk away and then come sprinting towards me as if I were his game. Fifteen minutes later I left the cage scratched, bitten, muddied and totally exhilarated.
After hitting the animal sanctuaries, we went to the Robberg Nature Reserve . What was supposed to be a stroll along the cliff overlooking the ocean turned into a four-hour hike with a blazing sun and with no drinking water. Some parts of the hike were treacherous and we got lost a couple of times. However it was worth every minute. I kept stopping to soak in the secluded beaches, seals tanning in the sun, and the sounds of life all around us. It was so peaceful and painfully beautiful. Here my mean and pessimistic voices got silent. There was a peninsula surrounded by the beach on both sides and hundreds of seagulls were nestled in the sand. There was not a single human being in sight. I totally agreed with the ranking—The Robberg Nature Reserve was remarkably beautiful. I can still picture it – and that cute little meerkat staring back at me.