Overland Safari Part 1

Trip Start Sep 02, 2011
Trip End Mar 21, 2012

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Where I stayed
Airport Game Lodge, and the overland truck!
What I did
Too many to list

Flag of South Africa  , Gauteng,
Monday, January 9, 2012

[Rich] - Arriving into Johannesburg a good few days before our 8 day overland tour up to Livingstone, we had some time to kill in a city that many people had told us to pack up and get out of straight away. But being based on the periphery at the Airport Game Lodge, with its own field full of animals including ostriches and springboks, we had a nice place to chill out and venture into the 'danger zone' of the city as we pleased.

In fact, all we actually did was get driven around by a local tour guide and experienced no hostility whatsoever. Armed with our old camera (newly purchased, unfortunately not rightfully returned by the thieves in Buenos Aires!), our guide took us to the huge suburb of Soweto which is famous for being the biggest township that black natives lived during the apartheid. We saw Nelson Mandela's old house, as well as the memorial of schoolboy Hector Pieterson, which gave a fascinating account of the significant events leading up to the breakdown of the apartheid. He also drove us through one of the shanty towns within Soweto, which was an eye opener to say the least.

While at the lodge, we also visited a safari park, which might seem strange given we were about to embark on an 8 day safari through the bush, but the chance to play with lion cubs was too good an opportunity to miss! And so our few days in Jo'burg were actually much more pleasant than we anticipated... It may not have the most appealing of city centres, but the history you can learn makes for a fascinating time. (We might have had a slightly different impression of the place if we'd ventured into the backstreets at night looking for a decent bar!).

[Liz] - Our overland adventure was to take us out of South Africa, through Botswana and finally  into Zambia. It began with a pre-tour briefing the night before we set off, where we got to meet Barry and Bob, our driver and guide, as well as the other 19 people in the tour group (consisting of only 5 boys much to Rich's dismay!). We were all set for 8 days of 'participation' camping in the bush, with each person being allocated daily chores. It really felt as though we were embarking on a reality TV show, waiting for someone to exclaim "I'm a tourist, get me out of here!".

The start of the tour took us through Kruger National Park, the highlight of which was the full-day game drive where we spotted 3 of 'the big 5' (buffaloes, elephants and rhinos) as well as much more including zebras, warthogs and giraffes. Although we didn't see any big cats there were plenty of highlights, notably the heard of 50 elephants that crossed the road right in front of us and the group of giraffes that had their eyes fixed for a good 10 minutes on what must have been a predator very close by. That night we stayed at Shalatj Lodge where we were treated to a
surprise upgrade to chalets as well as an African dance performed by some of the staff. Thankfully they picked out other members of the group to participate, as we hid behind our camera!

[Rich] - The next leg of the tour took us over the border into Botswana, where, on Liz's birthday, we stayed at a completely open campsite (Elephant Sands). The watering hole next to the swimming pool is often used by elephants before they wander through the camp. Leopards have also been seen to drink from the swimming pool! We learnt very quickly that there is no guarantee of seeing anything on safari, which creates an incredible edge knowing that a pack of lions could be around the corner. Unfortunately we didn't get to see much at Elephant Sands and so the highlight was the festivities of Liz's birthday, which included tequilas throughout the afternoon courtesy of driver Barry, followed by birthday cake made by the chef after dinner!
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Rodg on

We in Akaroa are loving you blog. Pleased you some of Jo'burg despite caution.

Cook a boerworst for us.

Sister Sarah on

Lovely photos x x

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