Trip Start Oct 26, 2009
3Trip End Nov 23, 2009
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Where I stayed
We were fairly Jet lagged so had a decent sleep and then mid afternoon went for a walk down to the shops. Patrick assured us it was a fairly safe area however we felt completely out of our element. Everything was so heavily fortified and we felt like we stood out like the tourists we were.
It was a lot colder than we expected with not a lot of sun about. We spent a couple of days just getting over the jet lag, playing cricket in the backyard and organizing the Safari.
I booked accommodation in the National Park through the website www.sanpark.org and organized a rental car to be delivered to the hostel from www.aroundaboutcars.com and when it arrived we quite shocked with the square shoebox that was meant to take us on Safari. I have seen wheelbarrows with bigger wheels. Still after checking over the car we loaded it up and hit the road in a pre-organized route to the highway towards Nelspruit some 450km away. It was an amazing feeling having everything falling into place and heading towards Kruger. The drive went smooth, stopping off just once for lunch and some Biltong that Steve had already decided he wanted none of. The drive was fairly boring despite the huge storm that blew over us and we were shocked at the amount of seemingly lost people just wandering in the middle of nowhere or resting on the side of the road miles from civilization
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We organized an extra day with the hire car once we were back in Johannesburg and decided to head to the Lion Park on the outskirts of town. Driving to Kruger had been an absolute breeze compared to trying to make our way through the congested highways. I have never driven in so much chaos in my life and it was quite nerve-wracking at times. With the Soccer world cup approaching they need to fix these roads and fast. There is a tone of roadwork that is going on and I have my doubts that they will finish it in time. We finally manage to make it to the Lion Park. It was a mix of emotions seeing the animals locked up that we had only days before seen roaming free. There were numerous animals in the park but the highlight and the reason for the visit was the chance to play with a Lion Cub.
We were brought into the enclosure just four of us (We were lucky) and the cub immediately took to chewing and clawing at my pants
After the cubs we visited the rest of the animals and then drove around the lion park tracks where we entered a series of giant gated enclosures where packs of lions were house, able to roam around. We got very close to some very big boys. One curious adolescent lion took to chasing the brake light on the car – I was very worried the thing was going to attack the tiny car we were in – I wasn’t looking forward to paying the insurance excess!!
On the way home we stopped at a stunning casino. This place was inspiring, really fake, really over the top but inspiring anyway. They had essential rebuilt a whole European Town under the roof of this huge building, complete with shop fronts, paved roads, fountains, everything. We spent a good couple of hours in here before venturing back onto the roads to get home – this took quite some time.
The weather really had been awful in Johannesburg so we decided to fly down to Cape Town Early.