Christmas Eve

I woke this morning earlier than the rest. Jean and Omo are sharing our cottage. There are two bedrooms and a small kitchen/living room combo. When I stared out the window to see if anyone else in the group was stirring, I spotted little creatures on the grass. There were two dark rock hyraxes on the grass and four brown ones sunning themselves on the wall ledge. I snapped pictures through the window; each time I tried going out to take their picture, they disappeared. The hyrax, or dassie, is an odd mammal that superficially resembles a guinea pig and is about the size of a rabbit. It is neither, however, but is more closely related to elephants, manatees, and the aardvark. They can be traced through fossils to the Eocene epoch about 50,000,000 years ago.
We packed up and took our things to breakfast at Bruce’s cottage. Bruce had made a special scrambled eggs and ham dish for Christmas Eve breakfast. Then it was time to hit the road again. Bruce has naysayed the Bushman walk, so none of us signed on for it. We came across this bird’s nest or rather a whole community . This breed builds a nest as a community and continues to add to it until either it falls off from the weight or it breaks the limb of the tree. Our first stop was at the dam for a vista view and photos. Then we headed west to the Sossusvlei-Namib region. We had driven forever it seems when we finally had a stop at a Wimpy’s service station, the same on we came to when the truck needed servicing. Snack stock-up time once again. We drove through a wildlife park on our way and saw ostrich, springbok, and oryx. The original plan was to stay in tents tonight, but the lodge did not have enough to accommodate all of us, so we were afforded lovely rooms instead. The resort Hammerstein’s is beautiful. The lobby of the main building is richly decorated with leather chairs amongst African art décor. Our room is yet the best we have had thus far. We had the option of going for a catwalk on the premises. They have two cheetahs, one leopard, and on lynx. We were able to walk in and up close to the cheetahs who are names Caesar and Cleopatra. There is a baby cheetah named Sissy who has the run of the grounds. She is about three months away from being sent back to the wild. Sissy grabbed Inger’s sandal, while Inger was swimming in the pool. Sissy thought it was a chew toy and a group of us tried getting it away from here, but finally we called for the staff for assistance. Later, I was sitting on the bench on our porch and called Sissy over. She headed right toward me and then bee lined into the Rasmusson family’s bedroom. Their door had been left open after returning from a swim, and Klas was dressing in the bathroom, I yelled into Klaus and Lena to warn. Lena came flying out of the room. Sissy jumped onto one of the beds and made herself comfortable. No coaxing could get Sissy to move, so again we had to get staff to aid us. Most of the group celebrates Christmas Eve as the main event day with Christmas being more of a day to relax. Dinner was a festive affair in the main dining room of the lodge. It was decorated for Christmas and candles on the tables. We had four tables reserved fro one group. The starter was cold pumpkin soup that was exquisite. The salad bar had a number of choices, while the entrees included Oryx, beef or chicken. We had a choice of three desserts. We shared the table with the Rasmusson family of four adding to our holiday spirit to share with such a wonderfully family. The chandeliers were carved ostrich eggs. Later we congregated outside on the grounds for beer, chats, and then to bed for another early morning.Today’s mileage was 350 km. 1790 km as a running total.