My Dad's 75th birthday celebrations - week 1
Well my father has taken birthday week to another level - birthday month! I suppose he does have reason, it is his 75th after all. I have flown in from Australia to share in the celebrations.
The celebrations started off with a family get together at a safari (game) lodge (Askari Game Lodge) near the Magaliesberg north of Johannesburg, South Africa for 4 days. 
This is the first of 3 birthdays! The first was just with immediate family. We also cracked a bottle of 75 year old port that my father had kept just for this occasion.

As you can see it was pretty cold - but the staff gave us our own room for the night and lit a huge fire. Thank you ever so much more making it a memorable experience for the whole family.
My Dad's 75th birthday celebrations - week 1
The highlights of the weekend included 2 game drives and an elephant experience. 
The best time to see wildlife in Africa is in winter, when the grass is shorter and there is less water so the animals congregate at water holes at sunrise or sunset. In South Africa, this means it is really cold especially when you are in an open air game viewing vehicle. The rangers at Askari Lodge obviously know this - so they provided us all with blankets.
Game Drive Askari
They have trained 2 elephants and every Sunday afternoon they came to the lodge to feed and so us tourists can take pictures. These elephants were rescued from a cull and given a second life. They are particularly fond of drinking from the swimming pool.
Family at Askari
My 2 brothers - John and Barry - with their gorgeous children, Jade, Gina, Kayla and Jessica!
My Dad and I stayed on an extra night and had an elephant experience and an extra game drive thrown in free. Neither of us had any idea what we were up for. We met our ranger Yolanda at 8am after breakfast and for a 2 hour game drive. We then drove back to the lodge to watch a video explaining how they had taken wild African elephants and trained them. Elephants can apparently remember up to 80 commands. 
We then drove to the elephant enclosure where 2 elephants and their minders were waiting for us. They showed us how they could kick a football and catch it on command. One of the elephants then lay down and we were able to touch his skin, tail etc.
Next we had to feed him an apple. This is where the trust comes in. You hold the apple in your mouth and then the elephant gently takes it from your mouth. Then you lower your head and the elephant 'kisses' you to say thank you. This was an incredibly moving experience that I will remember all my life.
Elephant Experience
The purpose of this is to educate us humans so that realising what incredible beasts these are!
Next was a birthday dinner on his actual birthday - with all the family and the second birthday cake. We bought Dad a new camera, printer and a photo shoot for his birthday. 
75th Birthday Party - 2nd Cake
This weekend Dad is having another party for family and friends at the Dainfern Country Club and we will be having our 3rd cake! Diet here I come! Then next week Dad and I are flying to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe for 3 days. I am going to need another holiday when I get back to Australia!
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