25th January 2016 Johannesburg South Africa – Safari
Tip 1: Make sure you have the local currency South African Rand. You will need 50 and 100 Rand notes for tips. The rate of exchange for us is approx.. 15 Rand per US Dollar.
Tip 2: We booked our Safari Tour online with Detour Cape Town. Great company to travel with. I had sent an email enquiry and always received very promt, friendly replies. The tour was total value for money and incredible. All communication was in English.
Our collection had been organised originally for 5.30 am but changed to 6.45 am. As we were concerned about missing our collection we were up and ready to go at 5.30 am. This was going to be our normal starting time for the next few days.
After the mini bus had collected us and various other passengers we finally set out from Johannesburg at 8.15 am. It was a long drive to our camp on the edge of the Kruger National Park. We arrived just after 2 pm. Our lodge cente was called Thornhill Lodge and our lodge was great. On arrival at the Guernsey wildlife park where our lodge was, we were greeted by Zebras and Giraffe.
No time to mess around. Lunch was waiting for us then it was grab your camera equipment and all aboard for our first safari at the K...... wildlife safari park.
We left our lodge centre at 3.0 pm to start on a real African adventure that we did not expect to experience! Interested? Read on.....
A mini bus took us over to the safari park where we transferred to a 10 seater 4 wheel drive jeep. The jeep sat 9 people in the back and one next to the driver. There were 7 of us. Peter and I took the back seats and had a row to ourselves allowing photos to betaken from the right side as well as the left side and rear of the jeep. The sand tracks that we travelled on were all narrow and bumpy. Nathan our driver told us to hold on tightly. We had beautiful weather when we set out. Nobody expected any change in the weather but of course when Peter and Linda are on the road again anything can be expected!
It was not long before we saw our first wildlife.
We spotted antelopes, Zebras, Giraffe and war hogs. After an hour or so our guide Nathan received information that Rhinos had been sighted at one of the water holes. We headed to that water hole and found two Rhinos enjoying the coolness of the mud. Immediately after that we headed to another water hole to find a Hippo. All eyes were watching and searching. Various wildlife was spotted then we met up with some other jeeps who had received information that there were 3 lions at a nearby water hole. We followed in a silent convoy.. There they were..... one male and two females. We watched in silence as they drank and then slendered past us dissapearing back into the bush. Nathan our guide was satisfied. He had wanted to show us some lions and we had experienced a lot in those past three hours but were to experience more in the next one hour! Read on....
It had started to cload over around 4.30 pm but now a thunder storm was threatening. Nathan got a bit worried and wanted to get us back to safety as quickly as possible. He explained that he would be driving fast along the narrow and very bumpy winding roads and we were to hold on tightly!
The lightening had started. I have seen a couple of incredible lightening storms in Florida but never one like this. The clouds covered the sky putting us into darkness very fast and the sky was just continually lit up by lightening. The lightening did not stop and then the heavens opening and the rain came down. We were just able to steady ourselves holding on with one hand while packing the cameras into our waterproof bag. Thank goodness that I have such professional equipment and accessories. This storm was not going to be just a normal rainfall. We have never been caught in such a huge rainfall before. The rain pelted down on us soaking ever centimeter of our bodies.
The wind forced the rain onto us cutting through the open sided jeep with the sky alight with lightening. It was like being in the middle of some wild adventure film which was being filmed in Hollywood. We were thrown from left to right as the jeep ploughed along the winding bumpy dirt tracks. The rain so hard that I could hardly make out our driver Nathan at the front. I must admit we were enjoying every minute of this one time experience. Holding onto the jeep railing
with one hand and holding tightly onto each other with the other we pounded along the tracks.
Peter held me close to him, arm around my waist while I giggled in his ear. I thought it better to see it like this than to be terrified of the situation we were in. In fact I really would have liked to film the situation as we moved along but of course this was impossible, the camera would not have survived the situation and most likely me neither!
When we arrived back at the Safari centre, worried helpers were there to help us out of the jeep holding umbrellas over our heads and into a waiting mini bus. We politely refused the umbrellas - no need as we were already soaked to the skin. I did not like getting into the mini bus as I was because water was flowing from me and I knew the seats in the mini bus would get soaked. No problem, we had to get back to our lodge where we arrived at 19.45 to be told dinner would be ready in 15 minutes. Wow this was stress! We managed to get dried off, changed and arrived for dinner on time. On completion we were informed that we would be woken at 5,0 am for a 5.30 am start to Kruger National Park. Quite an exciting day and time for bed!