Monday, February 21, 2011

Cap Estel Goes Safari

Maurice Messmer’s latest SL work is wild. Really wild. He has turned Cap Estel into the Serengeti. Start your adventure at Cap Estel Goes Safari, Cap Estel (229, 223, 53).

You can tour this Serengeti by giraffe or by horse. Hop on the giraffe or use the saddle rez station to get your pick of one of the four horses. They’re temporary, but they will last as long as you ride them. I picked the giraffe tour since I have horses at home, but I’d never ridden a giraffe. Their gait is surprisingly smooth.

As you ride into the Serengeti, you hear its sounds: beating drums, roaring waterfalls, and snarling wild animals. Cap Estel Safari is teeming with giraffe, zebra, Oryx, hyena, sable antelope, and even a rhino. Messmer is known for his realistic scenery, and he has outdone himself here. I felt like I was in Africa as I walked on the cracked, dry earth, crept past the animals, and peered over steep gorges filled with rushing water.

Near an old VW bus I met resident Melanie774 Kidd. She had just finished making a video of her giraffe ride around the site. The video is posted on YouTube at

We chatted about how much we both enjoyed Messmer’s work. Kidd said this was the first time she had seen one of his sims. She learned about it from another SL resident, Shoji Kumaki, who displays photos of Messmer’s work in his gallery. “I love his photos,” she said, “so I had to come see for myself.”

After our chat I continued my tour of the Serengeti. I walked across the rickety rope bridge that spans one of the gorges. On the other side I found a tall observation tower and complimentary sweat towels and water. After that hike, I needed them. In keeping with making his places special, Messmer has even made the water bottles special here. All of the SL bottles and cups that I’ve seen are scripted to automatically give you a drink, whether you want a sip or not. But with this water bottle, you are in control. You only sip when you touch the bottle.

After you hydrate, climb up the tower. It’s a tall one. But you’ll be aptly rewarded by a great view and a cold bottle of Beck’s Beer at the top. Rest up in one of the Adirondack chairs to enjoy the brew and catch your breath. If you’re in the mood for some authentic African music, touch the drum.

When you go down the tower, walk toward the middle of the area, away from the rocks, to find a zebra herd. But be careful. Danger lurks in this jungle! I saw a number of slithering creatures.

As interesting as the Serengeti is, it’s only half of the Cap Estel Safari experience. A tropical jungle waits below, and you can reach it by grabbing onto a rope swing that is near the trail. Hold on tight to descend into the heart of the jungle. You’ll land at a platform that has security screening around it for your safety. Immediately you’ll see and hear the richness of the jungle -parrots, hummingbirds, moneys, and insects of all kinds live here.

Follow the torch lit path around the lake. Here the landscape is lush and beautiful, a treat for the senses. Take your time and linger. There is much to see. Colorful butterflies flutter from flower to flower, and a baby chimp plays on a swing. Hippos lumber in the shimmering water, but a small pile of bones reminds you to keep alert.

When you reach the cafe, you can pick up one of their yummy blueberry crumb muffins. Take a moment to sign the guest book, too, and drop a few Lindens in the tip jar if you can. All those hippos probably eat a lot. Then relax in one of the chairs on the deck. The pesky dragonfly will hover around you, but he won’t bite. Look for shadows on the water while you’re resting. Messmer has thought of everything.

When you’re finished feasting your eyes and your sweet tooth, you can find a quick TP behind the fan. It will zip you back up to the Serengeti. I’ve already been to Cap Estel Safari three times, but I’ll be back again soon. I always see something new each trip.

Grey Lupindo

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