Royal Car Rental – Real Value for Money!

Before leaving Johannesburg we did some research on rental cars, most of which we found to be extremely expensive. And we were also warned of “private cars” which apparently aren’t legal to rent but are much cheaper. Being new to the country, we didn’t want to get in any trouble with police so we decided we would go with an official rental car, even through it was more expensive. We searched an we emailed all the car rental places we could find to see who could offer us the best deal. The best deal we could find was from Royal Car Hire. I dealt with Adil and he was in contact with me no matter what time of day. His customer service was great and the price was the best.  There were also additional benefits such as an extra driver for free, free delivery and pick-up and unlimited mileage. Adil said it was all organized and would be at the airport waiting for us. And he was. He took us to our car which was a little Hyundai i10, clean, unmarked, no scratches and ready to go. We were so pleased with Royal’s services and price we even decided to extend our contract for the car. Adil came to meet us in Flic en Flac and within 5 minutes it was all done and sorted. 

If anyone is coming to Mauritius and looking to rent a car-these are the guys to go to. Hotels will rip you off even if its just a car for a day.

Call Royal

Quality service at a great rate!

Thanks Adil and Royal Car Rental!

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Royal Car Rental Ltd
Prudent lane, Sadally road vacoas,
Mauritius.
   
Mobile: +(230) 9267799 / 7240404    
Tel/fax: +(230) 6965734
Email: royalcarrentalltd@gmail.com
   

Website: www.carhire.mu

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The Dodo Trail

Trail running is something I had never really tried, excepting a small 5ks I did along the walking trail alone the Klienmond sea front. I enjoyed it a lot, the sea breeze, the sights and sounds of the flora and fauna and the excitement of not knowing what challenge is around the next bend. 

So we had heard of the Dodo Trail, a run through the nature reserves on the western side of the island. They had 3 trails to choose from, a 14, 26 and 52km. Being a week after my first half marathon, and not really knowing what to expect I didn’t want to push my luck, so I signed up for the 14. 

On the Friday, race pack collections and pre race briefing were held at La Pirogue hotel just down the road from us, a well-organized gig as well I must say. After collecting my race number I proceeded to stroll around waiting for the race briefing. I saw a sign that read “From Hell to Paradise” and assumed it was for the more hard-core runners doing the 27 and 52k. We were tight for time and they were having issues with there sound equipment so I thought to myself, what more can they tell me, I rock up in the morning for the bus, get to the race and run right? So back home we went, a move I would later regret!

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So after a fair intake of pasta, a good nights sleep and a bathing of sunscreen, I arrived at the hotel ready for the transfer. There were plenty of people waiting, which was nice to see after the small attendance at the Mauritian Marathon. The bus drove us to the start point, a fair distance by road to where we were would eventually end up.

A young American lady, Nicole and myself had got chatting, and luckily for me she had a fair grasp on the French language so translated what the announcer had to say. Which was pretty much drink lots of water while you can, and enjoy the race. The pack of us, a fair 270 odd runners headed down to the start. I noticed lots of camel packs, runners wearing gloves and lots of compression socks. I however had no such gear, just my stock standard road running attire! Feeling I was in for a little more that I signed up for Nicole asked me what my goal time was, I shrugged and said I didn’t really have one, I just wanted to run as much as possible. After a high 5 and wishing each other good luck we were off.  With the large pack we quickly got separated, which was not much of an issue at the time.

The first 2km or so was on pretty flat dirt road, after that however it got tricky, we started to climb, and climb and climb! As we climbed the roads became trails and after that they became rocky hill faces with little resemblance of a trail. It didn’t take very long until I had had my first fall, nothing to injure myself, but not a good feeling. The terrain became harder and harder to negotiate, with loose gravel, loose rocks and tree roots jutting out of everywhere. And then, as if Mother Nature were having a laugh it started to drizzle. This however I didn’t mind. The fact that it made the already tricky paths wet and slippery was not my worry. I was dying from the heat, and yet to see a water point.

Running was barely an option at some points if you valued your life, and if going up was not enough work, coming down on the other side was even scarier! The drizzle had stopped and now the sun was pelting down on us! The gravel coming down the side of the mountain was loose, and the gradient was steep, so much so that at parts it seemed almost impossible to stay afoot. Luckily at what seemed the steepest part of our decent there was a fence alone the side of the trail. This provided a lifeline to grab onto when my feet started slipping out from under me.

We finally reached the bottom of the hill, and a tarred road. At this point I was suffering from dehydration and my head felt that it was on the verge of exploding. The road didn’t last long though and before I knew it we were back on a path, but now at least it was under the cover of trees. We ran along the side of a river over rocks and through a fair share of mud. At one point we had to run ankle high through the river, which would have been great if it didn’t smell of rot and death. After the marshy section we made our way back onto a road, and through a village with locals cheering us on. The smell of breakfast in the air! A marshal directed us onto a field and finally the first water point. 11km in! I glugged down 2 cups of coke and the same in water, I drenched my head and hair with ever more water. I felt my temperature dropping and started feeling much better.

We ran off the field and I immediately knew where I was, Tamarin Beach. A marshal told us something as we ran past, and I had it translated for me! 3km to go. We ran along the beach for a while, then up onto a path that took us around the rather hectic rocks that line that part of the beach. Thankfully I must add. Once we had passed the rocky area we were back on the beach and struggling to find firm sand to make the final stretch a little more bearable. At this point there were 4 of us running together, a local lady who seemed no stranger to the sport, her teammate, Nicole and myself. We ran this section in single file literally on the waters edge. We where fooled once or twice by sail boats belonging to the hotels, thinking there brightly coloured sails where the finish. But finally there it was! Our final destination.

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We pulled into the hotel and ran the last couple of meters along the hotels path. I crossed the finish line with a great sensation of relief and accomplishment. To be honest it had not all sunk in yet, it was all just to much to take in at that moment. The grueling climbs, suicidal descents, lack of water, the strong scenes of camaraderie as well as the breath taking scenery.

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It is something I will definitely do again, but next time I will certainly gear up better and be both physically and mentally prepared for the challenge!

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The Mauritian Marathon and my first Half Marathon

Lolos mum, Glynis Fox, a well seasoned runner had decided a few months back that she wanted to come over to run the Mauritian marathon. At that time I was keen on running the 10k family run as I was not the fittest person around, but 10ks I could do.

After Lolo and I got here we did some running, and I felt the need to take a more serious stance on the sport, so I started doing some distance, then some speed training, then more distance, and by the time it came to signing up for the 10k I decided to challenge myself, 21 it was. So I signed up, and the training began.

I did a fair amount of training before the race, but had still not hit anything close to the 21k mark, I think the max I did was 17km.

So then it swung around, Sunday the 15th of July 2012. A day to truly remember!!

The day before we went the collect our race packs, and listen in on the race brief.

Early on that Sunday morning I was up, before the alarm (rare I promise), excitement I am sure, and after the morning coffee, a shower and a kiss from my lovely I was off.

My transfer forgot to pick me up, but luckily for me one of the race organizers who I had dealt with drove past and saw me on the side of the road waiting, and gave me a ride to the start.

On arrival at the start I felt a little nervous, and alone as I knew nobody. But the crowds were gathered to get there photos taken with Fauja Singh, a 101 year old man who has run for many years for nothing but charity. He believes that the love he gives when he runs for the various charities comes back to him and that is what keeps him going. When you see this great man you cant help but question his age. He looks nothing like 101, maybe more alone the lines of 75-80. It was truly inspirational!

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So we lined up for the start, myself and about 95 other hopefuls. You can see the serious runners right away. The dudes and dudets kitted to the nines, feet on the start line and rearing to go. I however was nearer the middle, with the rest of the “normal” runners.

Fauja blew the whistle and we were off!!

It didn’t take long for the field to break up, and it didn’t take long for the rain to fall ether. About 2ks in it began. The first real driving rain I have experienced since our arrival. But it didn’t last long, at this point I had made a friend, a young lady from the UK who was running quite happily along side me matching my pace. We got talking and the first couple of km’s few by in conversation. A pity for the overcast weather though, because as amazing as the sea side run was, it would have been even more breath taking with the sun lighting the ocean. I left my new run buddy around the 11km mark. As she was feeling a little strained and I felt good to pound on, so she slowed a little, stuck in the headphones and I lifted my knees and got going.

The people I “met” along the way are what make running races I think! I had a mum and daughter along the way, supporting dad, but as he was not far behind me they ended up shouting and supporting me too, I met ASA runners from SA along the way, germans, frenchies and locals. There was very little other support along the way. I kind of expected the locals to be out in force cheering us on, but that was not to be. The locals were in church I recon!

Nearer the 17k mark the route pulled away from the ocean and I was running solo through sugar cane, lots of it. You see with such a small pack running there is a lot of space between runners.  Not that I minded being alone, it gave me time to reflect.

Many of the runners who had gone out fast were struggling with the heat, and I overtook them one by one as I had trained here in the humidity and heat for nearly a month and knew what I as in for.

It was also around this point that the full marathon lead man came flying past me, he made me feel like I was walking.  And at this point I felt like walking, my knees were done, and I don’t think I had any sweat left in my body. But my head kept me going! I wanted to finish in under 2 hours 30, and I would never forgive myself if I had walked and missed it. So I kept on going.

I was just before the 20km mark and a gent who was also supporting somebody running shouted to me that there was a k to go, so I put me head down, lifted my knees and started going for it.

I came into Saint Felix, and a police officer directed me onto the finishing straight, from the second I saw the people at the finish line cheering and shouting all the pain in my knees vanished, and I couldn’t stop myself from smiling.

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Lauren and her brother Cole were there cheering me on as I crossed the finish line and I really felt like I had achieved something, and I had, my first half marathon!!

MAURITIAN HALF MARATHON 2012, 21.9KM IN 2 HOURS 15 MIN

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Kite Surfing – The 1st Lesson!

Mike booked for the two of us to have our first kite surfing lesson for my birthday. We didn’t go on my birthday as our bodies were too stiff and sore from the ziplining. So we decided Friday last week, we would go. We called Christopher our instructor and he gave us the thumbs up to come through to Le Morne. We quickly got our stuff together and off we went. 

Le Morne was pumping with kite surfers, as we drove into the main area, it just looked like a sea of colours with all the kites on the ground. We met Christopher and he explained that our lesson would consist of how to build the kite and then how to fly it. 

So we build the kite with him, step by step and then we went to suit up. Not the most fashion forward gear but hey, we’re still learning. We both were given body suits, helmets, aqua socks and helmets. I personally really felt kind of dork-ish. Not cool like the other kite surfers but as mentioned above we’re still learning.

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We were then taught all the emergency brakes, how to power and de-power the kite and how to steer. Now was time to get into the water. The sea floor in this particular lagoon is weird, I cant explain it. It’s kind of swamp like, mooshy yet crunchy at the same time with plenty of sea weed. Totally bizarre to walk on.  We walked for a while and then got the kite into the air. It’s a whole lot more technical than it looks. Each of us would have a go. Whilst one of us was flying the kite, the other was anchoring the person flying the kite and then we’d switch. Flying the kite was hard, hopefully its one of those things that gets easier the more you do it. After flying and parking the kite for 2 hours in the water. The lesson was over. Christopher was a great instructor with a great sense of humour. The one word I heard come out his mouth the most was – DE-POWER!

Cant wait to go for our next lesson! We are even analyzing our budget to be able to afford it. We gotta get it right!!! Any donations to our Kite Surfing lessons would be most welcome.

On a serious note: if you are in Mauritius or coming on holiday and want to learn how to Kite Surf, these are the guys!

Check out the website : http://www.air-switch.com

Contact No. : +230 756 2627

Email : info@air-switch.com or oliver@kitesurfing-mauritius.com

Big Willy’s

We had driven past Big Willy’s a number of times and we thought we’d go check it out and watch the Euro 2012 final there. Mike called to book us a table whilst walking back to the apartment to get ready. We decided we’d have some dinner there before the soccer. We got dressed and ready and hopped in the car for our 10-15 min drive which ended up taking 2 hours! Due to the festival being such a big event, the police were still trying to redirect traffic out of Flic en Flac. We called to say we would be late and instead of being there at 8pm, we arrived around 9:45pm. That was seriously some of the worst traffic that I have ever sat in.

Finally when we got to Big Willy’s we were welcomed by the Euro 2012 promo girls at the entrance and found that we had the best seats in the house! A table set for two right in front of the huge projector screen.

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Two tables away from us, there were 3 men doing a radio broadcast about the Soccer. There was two guys chatting away in French about the Euro 2012 and they were from Radio 1 (R1). They had banners up and everything.

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Whilst ordering our drinks and deciding what to eat, the promo girls came around and painted your supporting teams flag on your face.  Even the atmosphere felt competitive and it was a good even split between Italy and Spain Supporters.

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Our food arrived and was delicious, Mike had like a creamy chicken potjie, kind of like chicken a la king with veggies and rice. Was so good and homey, even the presentation was awesome as it came in a little potjie pot! I had the squid, wasn’t what I thought I was going to get, in my mind I kind of thought I was getting Calamari rings. Never assume. I got a big piece of squid, which I’ve never really had before with a side salad and fries. Interesting but very good. For dessert we had a fantastic warm chocolate tart and a chocolate mousse and cappacino’s to wash it down! Yum! It was the perfect way to end the meal!

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Whilst eating, between course and coffees we watched Spain play like champs and the energy in Big Willy’s was unreal. People were shouting, clapping, whistling, you name it. Took me back to 2010 during the Fifa World Cup. The atmosphere was so festive and energetic that our time at Big Willy’s was well worth the 2 hour traffic jam.

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And the cherry on top – Spain won!

What a way to end an awesome day!

We’ll definitely be going back to Big Willy’s. If you’re a meat lover and want great friendly service, it’s the place to go!

Big Willy’s for the win! 

http://bigwillys.restaurant.mu/

(230) 483 7400

The Flic en Flac Festival

On Sunday, after a swim in the sea and a chill on the beach, we headed back to the apartment to go and check the Flic en Flac festival. As we reached the turn we came to a halt due to the incredible amount of traffic trying to get into Flic en Flac, we sat in the hot car and waited and edged forward slowly but surely. Most roads had been blocked off so all traffic was being diverted through the side roads where people were also parking and hundreds of people were walking. It took us a 1 hour to do 4.5km to our apartment. Once we got back we heard the people gathering on the coastal road ready for the parade. A quick shower, quick change of clothes and we were ready to walk the streets of the Flic en Flac Festival.

We walked, without even realizing how far we had actually gone. The streets were packed, people were crammed onto balconies of the apartments that lined the streets, teens were sitting on top of bus stops, whilst the kiddies were placed safely on their daddies shoulders. People were walking, drinking, smoking, dancing, eating, laughing, wearing wigs and masks. The air was full of celebration.

The Flic en Flac festival is to boast tourism and the country of Mauritius. There were floats of all sorts that came down the road, generally followed by a band or dancers. The parade opened up with Brazilian dancers that had specially been flown in from Brazil. The costumes were unbelievable-for a moment we could have been at the Rio Carnival.  We also saw Miss Mauritius, Miss Reunion, Miss England and Miss UK, each on their own float. There were a few Disney floats, with people dressed as characters. There was fire breathing, Sega Dancing, Marching bands and crazy costumes. Some floats were sponsored by a Hotel, Restaurant or Club.  Each float was themed: Pirates, Princesses, Under the Sea, Africa, Design, Parisian, Chinese, Mauritian. Most floats had a bunch of balloons attached to them in the Mauritian colours.

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A helicopter was circling and filming the event and everyone on the street was waving. The vibe was so festive and exciting and you could almost feel it running through your body. It was so awesome and something we’d never quite seen before.

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Before we knew it the festival was over, they ended it with Brazilian dancers strutting their stuff done the street. The people started to disperse but the party wasn’t over. People were partying in the streets, on the beach and in the restaurants and bars along the road.

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We walked to the beach, and since it was my birthday, my grandmother had wrapped up some Christmas cake and a candle for us to celebrate as how can you have a birthday without birthday cake. So we sat on the beach, lit the candle, blew it out, sang happy birthday and ate the cake whilst watching the sunset.

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Emba Filao – Breakfast at Le Morne

We woke up with the plan to leave the apartment early, grab some breakfast and then go to our kite surfing lesson. The first place we tried (being Sunday) was closed, then we remembered a restaurant on the public beach in Le Morne, which was perfect as that’s where we were going for our kite surfing lesson. We pulled in, it was very quiet, seemed as if they had just opened.  Their menu is on a blackboard and you have to order your meal in the front and the waiter will bring it for you. They had all sorts, they have breakfasts, combo meals and curries. We could only have breakfast as the other menu was only available from 11am. So we did. Perfect.

We chose pack (combo) No. 2

2 Fried Eggs

2 Chicken Sausages

1 Small Grilled Tomato

Toast (4 slices each)

Pineapple Jam

Cheese

Orange Juice

Coffee

We enjoyed our meal in the lovely outdoor space looking out at the sea. Tasty and filling, I once again ate too much but just couldn’t help myself. We will definitely go back, the food was good, the value for money was good and Le Morne is just too beautiful, so where better to have some brekkies.

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The Beach Party!

So our new friends had invited us to a beach party for their buddies birthday. We umm-ed and arr-ed about it and whether we were going to go or not. But our new friends insisted we come and were not letting us go home. We were exhausted, our bodies were sore but our friends were so excited for us to come that how could we not. We reached the public beach between the hotels on Royal Road in Flic en Flac, we parked the car and were lead through the forest of casuarina trees, where we found people setting up DJ equipment, getting the braai ready, making a fire and the cakes and booze were placed on the table ready to go.

It really was something we had never experienced as here, in Mauritius it is allowed, you’re allowed to have a good time and a few drinks on the beach with your mates, you’re allowed to set up a camp site and go camping for a weekend with your family. Where as in South Africa it is definitely not allowed so this was all new. We met some interesting characters, a guy named Danny for invited us to stay at his home in Vacoas, a really drunk elderly-ish man named Jake who couldn’t speak much english and just kept asking us if we like Mauritius and if we like to Sega. Both these guys couldn’t be happier to share there booze, Danny would come with another glass of rum and juice and Jake with another beer (have no idea where he was getting these beers from).

Whilst we were meeting new face, others were plying traditional music, singing and dancing. Was really cool, we stood around the fire chatting to all these new faces. We chatted to a guy named James, he is a French Mauritian and because he was talking to us, everyone who didn’t know him automatically assumed he was a tourist. Really good guy.

The DJ-ing started, the food was being passed around and people were just having a great time. It was around midnight when we were physically exhausted and need to sleep. Our hosts didn’t want us to leave but we had to as we had a full day planned for the next day. But just as sad they were that we were going, they were so pleased that we came.

Was an experience to remember, so awesome! A real beach party, not by the hotels-by the locals!!!

Thank you guys! (you know who you are) It was Awesome!

Standing around the fire

Mafiozzo

After our day at Casela we went to meet our new friend Jayson at Mafiozzo, an outdoor bar/restaurant that has a real island look to it. Everything is made from wood, the high tables, stools and fencing around it. We drive past it quite often, and always have a look in when we are going to the Spar. I really felt like pizza, Mike really felt like beer and we both really wanted to go there. So we did.

Mafiozzo has a really chilled out vibe and friendly service. My favourite thing about this place is there menu. The names of there meals are just too random. From “Blowjob Breakfast” to a “Tax Haven Pizza”. We had the Tax Haven Pizza and shared it amoungst the 3 of us. It was so good, with a nice crispy thing base and delicious topping we were ready for the night ahead.

Mafiozzo is my new best friend!

Go check it out, in the Pasadena Centre in Flic en Flac.

http://dismoiou.fr/p/mus/flic-en-flac/i1tKyW/mafiozo

We totally got lost in conversation that we didn’t take any pic – will post at a later stage!

Casela – Nature & Leisure Park

Since the past weekend was my birthday and anniversary, I wanted to do something to remember, an experience. So I booked for Mike and myself to do a full day of Zip Lining at the Casela Nature & Leisure Park.

Saturday morning we drove to Casela, which we often pass when going to Black River. You cant miss it, with their beautiful gardens along the road. We walked in, paid and were introduced to our guide – Jayson. He seemed very quiet and contained. We followed him though the park to go and get ready and put on our gear, where we met our main guide Chris. Really friendly and welcoming! We geared up and hopped on a bus and as we started leaving a tiny girl (lady) came running towards the bus, it was Juanita our photographer for the day. Brilliant as we had left of camera at home.  And off we went to the first zip line.

We were given our instructions and told not to be worried but just enjoy and have fun. And we did! Over and over again. 200m, 300m and then the longest zip line in the Indian Ocean 400m. Upside down, backwards, Awesome! We did quite a bit of hiking too, until we got to our last zipline for the morning which would take us to the waterfall and where we would have lunch.

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We got to the platform, took off our gear and clothes and went for a swim in the waterfall, we jumped off high ledge into the water but then it was time to zip line, more like foofie slide into the water, we had a quick demonstration by Jayson, who at this point was no longer quiet or contained, he was bubbly, chirpy and full of fun and laughter. We climbed up the volcanic rock (not so nice on the feet) and one by one zip lined into the water like a pelicans landing in a lake.

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We then sat and dried off before lunch. Chris went off to check something, so it was just the 4 of us. Juanita and Jayson gave us some Sega dancing lessons which we then practiced whilst listening to a combination of music from a mobile phone and Jaysons singing. Lots of fun was had. A few moments later, the Chefs zip lined in to cook our lunch. And boy, was it good! Fish Kebabs, Vienna kebabs, potatoes, rice (amazing rice-cant explain it), fresh bagette and fruit. It was delicious! Really out of the world, and the closest we’ve been to a braai (BBQ) since we got here.

We all finished up, got dressed, geared up and off we went. We hiked again until we reached a swinging bridge, cross the bridge and hiked again. Jayson and Juanita split off whilst we followed Chris, over rocks, under trees, through bushes etc. Chris spotted a deer, so we got a glimpse of her just for a few quick seconds-beautiful. He then showed us all the fruit bats sleeping in the trees. We hiked for a long time and me being so clumpsy, I don’t know how I didn’t fall. I tripped and slipped but I didn’t fall. We finally reached the canyon which I was a little hesitant to swim in as I knew there were eels in the water. But we did it! The water was very cold as the sun never gets to it. Whilst swimming, Jayson sang for us, we joined in from time to time.

“Hello, is it me you’re looking for?”

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We arrived at the end of the canyon, got out, got dry, had a smoke and carried on. We hiked some more. At this point my legs felt like jelly. We reached another bridge but this one was long and high, really high. And so we walked, slowly, carefully. Jayson was trying to scare us by wobbling the bridge, but just looking down is scary enough. Problem is: you have to look down to see where to put your next step!!!!

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I wont lie, I was relieved to have gotten across. We then continue on our last few zip lines and then the last one was the double zip line. Mike and I jumped off together and laughed the whole way across. Was sad it was over, but it wasn’t quite. Chris had found a hedgehog crawling through the grass. I have always loved hedgehogs but never seen one in its natural environment! Too cool. We walked back to park and the 5 five of us reflected on the days events, at this point we had become friends. And that made it even more special.

Back at the entrance of Casela we were introduced to Bob and John, 2 massive iguana’s. And there were just peacocks and parrots everywhere. Juanita did a great job! Our photos came out great! All in all- it’s a must do. 3 years ago, Mike and I came to Casela with my family and went quad biking and that was so much fun hence I decided to go back. Great team of people! Beautiful surroundings! And Loads  of fun, what more could one ask for!!!

Thank you to Chris, Jayson and Juanita! You guys were amazing! You made the day so special and so much fun!

There is something for the whole family as Casela. Something for everyone.

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Saying that, my body is still aching from the extremely active day but totally worth it!!!

www.caselayemen.mu

(+230) 452 28 28