Sunday, May 15, 2011

Easter Travels: Bulungula on the Wild Coast

Over the Easter (and other) holidays, a group of friends and I braved a 20-hour bus ride from Cape Town to the Eastern Cape to spend some time at Bulungula, an eco-lodge on the Wild Coast. Here are a few pictures from our time there.

There were cows and other livestock roaming free everywhere--our driver called cows, goats, sheep, horses, and donkeys "the Transkei's Big Five." Transkei is the old, Apartheid-era name for a part of the Eastern Cape, a former "Bantustan" that was designated "independent" of South Africa. Although today it is beautiful and in many ways untouched by modernity, there is also significant poverty.

The girls take in the view.

We participated in a "women's power" activity--part of the lodge's income-generating tourism activities for locals--which was, in all honesty, a whole lot like all the village experiences I've had. Which means extremely awkward, somewhat boring, and lost in translation. We carried water on our heads, had our faces painted, gathered firewood, and ground corn. Probably not an experience I'd repeat, but it was certainly instructive.

This was a serious labor of love from my friends. Being the most prone to motion sickness/barfing, they let me have the front seat of the shuttle that took us from Umtata to the lodge (3 hours or so on really, really bad "roads").

This little gentleman was very cheeky and would tickle attack without advance warning.

The pictures really don't do justice to how stunning it was.

Following delicious an Easter egg hunt (for Allie's birthday), we curled up by the fire and waited for dinner to be served.

Incredible sunsets, followed by a sky full of shooting stars, every night.

More pictures here.

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