On June 12th we landed in South Africa to begin the African chapter of our grand adventure. Our travels began June 10th in Cancun Mexico. From there we flew to Washington DC and had a twelve hour layover.
Of all the border crossings we have done entering the United States was the worst experience so far. I feel as though Homeland Security and the TSA have taken the title “Grumpiest Government Agency” from the United States Postal Service. And I am sure we all remember what postal workers were once known for.
During our twelve hour layover we were able to connect with Joyce’s parents to get re-supplied and also drop off some items we no longer wanted to carry with us. The biggest item for me was leaving my 17 inch laptop behind. It was nice to have to do work on but just too big and heavy to be practical for such long term travel. Now I am learning to work with a 7 inch tablet that is a lot smaller and lighter.
After DC we flew to New York to get our flight to Johannesburg on South African Air. Already on our trip we have flown two non US airlines, the other being Interjet in Mexico, and both have been very good experiences. It was a more of a “how can we make your flight pleasant?” experience and not the “how can we nickel and dime you?” experience that flying in the US has become. Which I am very thankful for because it was such a long flight.
From Johannesburg we took yet another flight to Richard’s Bay South Africa (making it 4 total flights). There we were wise enough to book two nights at a budget motel to help our minds adjust to the new time zone. There I also had the challenging experience of learning to drive left handed while being beyond exhausted from our two days of travel.
And after those two nights even though we did not feel fully adjusted yet we had to head out to the Zulu Nyala Game Lodge to begin our six night safari.
As odd as it may sound it felt like we were on vacation.
That is because most of the trip involves lots of research and planning. We are constantly having to figure out where the next roof over our head will be and how we will get there. And of course there are all the little things like food, water, and minding our money, that must always be dealt with. But at the game lodge we had a week of being told where to be and when. It was a nice break.
One downside is that most days started at 5AM because we had a 6AM game drive. But a game drive is something worth getting up early for on vacation. Nine of us would load up on the back of a modified Toyota Land Cruiser to have our guide Manie get us as close as he could to some of Africa’s beautiful beasts.
On our very first drive we were lucky enough to get close to a leopard. A cat that is very elusive and shy so it was a rare experience for sure. Animals like zebra, nyala, kudu, giraffe, hippos, and warthog, became a daily occurrence. And most days we did see cape buffalo, rhinos, and elephants. More than once we got a good look at a cheetah or two as well.
It was a good week but after our six nights we were ready to move on and see what else South Africa has to offer. We are just starting to explore so I really don’t have that much to report yet. Plus I still need to share some thoughts and experiences from Belize and Guatemala.
So what have you been up to?