Meeting the King of the Jungle

Trip Start Jun 15, 2011
Trip End Jun 01, 2012

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Flag of South Africa  , Gauteng,
Friday, April 6, 2012

Arriving into Johannesburg we realised we have become too relaxed about this whole travel thing. Although we had arranged to be picked up by my aunt, we realised that we didn't have a contact number or address for them at all and our phones weren't working anyway. To make matters worse, our flight number was actually different to what we had told them because it was a Qantas flight operated by SAA.

We got through customs with no problems and went to collect our bags and when Katy's backpack came round it had been very severely ripped down one side. Some of her clothes were sticking out and had been ripped and the bag looked like it had been mauled by a rottweiler. Katy was furious and we went over to the SAA baggage desk to complain. The girl looked at the bag and asked Katy "what happened to your bag?"

"Well that's what we'd like to know", fortunately we didn't have to say it because we were beaten to it by the lady's colleague. She gave us some forms and told us to go to one of their baggage shops to get it repaired or replaced but we were pretty sure we wouldn't be able to get another bag as nice as that one from any old baggage shop.

Anyway, slightly irritated, we came out into the arrivals hall but our ride wasn't there so we started wondering what we could do if they didn't know when we were arriving. We had no way of phoning them and couldn't even get a taxi because we didn't know the address.... or trust the taxi drivers, but that's another story. As it turned out I had given the wrong details but we were picked up an hour or so later which was a relief and now we could get excited about our Southern Africa adventure.

For the first few days we stayed in Johannesburg with my uncle and aunt and explored Johannesburg and Pretoria and caught up with the family which was brilliant as it's been ages since we last saw them. My young cousins, Abby and Calvin were very excited that we were staying with them and had already planned out which room we were in, had put a chocolate on our pillow and even decided which side of the bed we were to sleep on. We were on story duty in the evenings and Calvin came over to me at bedtime on the one evening looking stern...
  "Sean, you do know its your responsibility to read me a story don't you?"
 What could I do but fulfill my responsibilities. Katy was simply the big hero with Abby, who wanted Katy to spend all her time with her and regularly looked up at Katy saying "I love you Katy!" ...Master of manipulation with her gorgeous little smile!

We visited our old house in Weltevreden park, saw my old school and took a drive around the local neighbourhood to see if things had changed much which it actually hadn't. But it's strange and somewhat surreal to see where we used to live when we were proper South Africans.

You forget what Africa is like with the guys on the side of the road selling all sorts of things, black Lady's with baskets, bags, boxes or just about anything balanced on their heads and the well off South Africans with their maids and gardeners. One thing that has changed is the number of wealthier black South Africans since the introduction of Black equality in South Africa, the number of new BMW's, Mercedes and Range Rovers was significant. But it's not the case for all black South Africans so it will be interesting to see what happens over the next decade or so.

I had some things I have missed since we left so quickly bought Biltong, DryWors and Cream Soda. My uncle said I had the wants of a 5 year old which I justified by explaining that I was young when I left South Africa. 

 Anyway, then is was time to party with several good reasons including my Dad's 50th, my cousin Hayley's 21st and the Easter weekend. We also paid a visit to the Johannesburg Lion Park. What is unique about this park is that they allow you to go into a pen with the lion cubs and pet them. When we were there the cubs were still quite young so a good playful size and they were really cute although a little cheeky as they would try to nip your hand which I expect would hurt given that they are still lions!

We could also feed the giraffe and go for a drive to see the larger lions. While we were watching a couple of white lions, we spotted that there was something else next to them. When the female got up, 4 cubs got up and trotted along behind her right next to the car. We watched them for ages as they played with each other and moved over to a different section of the park which was really lucky as usually when I've seen lions in the past they're pretty boring and just lie there in the sun.

So Jo'burg was a good start to the trip, but now for the real thing at the Kruger!
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charlene on

LOVE the lion cubs - so cute!!!! :-)

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