Trip Start Aug 27, 2007
67Trip End Jan 30, 2008
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The week long tour began on the 4th, I left Mufasa Backpackers and borded the big yellow Nomads truck with our driver and guide, Thabani, the cook, Godfree and German translater/helper Stephan. That should have been a sign right there... why do we need a German translator??? We stopped at the pickup point to get the rest of the passengers and right away I was like ohhh nooooo... almost everyone was old!! I was expecting this to be a trip full of backpackers!! I'll explain our lovely group- "the Hungarian couple"- on the first day the man fell asleep in his chair and fell across the isle and on to my lap, his wife- a bossy lady telling everyone close the windows and blah blah blah' , next, "the Portuguese couple" the wife was annoying asking dumb questions such as 'will there be tea and coffee:? on the morning when we all have to be up at 5:30 and the poor crew had to get up extra early to meet her requests, Maryse-Dutch girl who had been working in Ghana for a year, Kevin- older Australian man who talked the ear off of anyone around, extremely annoying, bragging and telling tall tales of BS, Stinky old German lady and Stinky old German lady's friend- they sat behind us, and the others were all Germans too, didn't speak much English
The first night we stayed at a Timbavati Lodge, just outside of Kruger Park, I didn't have a choice when booking my tour, so i would be getting my own room everywhere we stayed. The accomadations were circular hut type of things, but solid, but you are staying out in the wilderness and cant expect 5 star luxery or anything. I had some little bugs on my bed so i was a bit paranoid and slept on my sleeping bag that night, also a lizard flew up the wall when i flushed the toilet, and Meegan had a frog on her toilet paper. In the morning we went for a little walk and she says to me, "have you ever seen a warthog?" "no", there were a couple of warhogs just a few yards away! Ugly things, but exciting to see them so close! Think of Pumba from The Lion King, the first of many outbursts of Lion King songs along the way.
The first day in the park we got incredibly lucky! By the way, it's not just a little park like the Wild Animal park in San Diego, this place is as big as Isreal, or Belguim, it could be a seperate country in itself. When we first entered the gate right away there was action, some vultures circling around something as we got closer we saw that it was a bloody ribcage!!
The next day we were not so lucky, the weather was really crappy and rained on us all day. The day before it was so humid and i was so hot and sweaty and no one barely cracked a window, i was dying!! On this morning on got on the bus and stinky old German lady said i should sit up front by Stephan because he keeps the window open! I said maybe she should switch seats if she doesn't like the window open, and actually we would like a turn sitting in the back seat (5 seats for 2 people, plenty of room to stretch out) she says NO, i said thats not fair and she says what i'm doing isn't fair (Opening the window) , she said do what you want and i'll do what i want, i said i will! I'm not confrontational in the slightest, but i was angry because it was really unfair that she wouldn't rotate seats and man it was so hot i was going to keep that window open no matter what anyone said
We made our way to our next accomodation site at Skukuza. Our rooms were really nice, big ceiling rooms, 3 beds, complete kitchen and bathroom. Too much space for one person.
Meegan and I also bought a bottle of Amarula, a South African liquor similar to Baileys. We had a glass of it while scouring the quidebooks and making a plan for me with the rest of my time.
That night some of us went on an optional night drive.We spotted a few animals, some elephants came very clsoe, but the best was a real treat, a lepeord sleeping up in a big tree, a very rare sighting!
We were all anticipating seeing a lion as that would complete the 'big 5' checklist. We actually went to sleep with the sound of them roaring outside nearby! We set out at 6 am and spent a couple of hours driving around with no luck but jsut as we were about a mile from camp there it was, a lion laying in the grass by a log, not far from the road, just sitting up and staring at all of us watching him in awe. He stayed still at let us take a zillion photos! He finally got tired of that and plopped down for a nap. We were all stoked that we got to see a lion, he was gorgeous
I was very lucky to have Meegan on this trip, we were lucky to have eachother actually. We spent most of our time talking about the other people and how much we didn't like them!! We spent most nights talking and laughing with the crew. I really enjoyed getting to know them. Thabani and Godfree are both from Zimbabwe and live in Victoria falls. They have families at home but are usually away for weeks at a time. Thabani is the kind of person that you are just drawn to and is impossible not to love him, he is consistantly happy and friendly and has a great big smile and contageous laugh. I spent a lot of time asking them both question upon question about their lives and cultures. Of course I am guenuinly interested, as cultures is a main part of what I studied in college. Had a presued my degree further, I might just have ended up in Africa. It all feels so familar, and to be so close to things, people and places that I've studied, read about, wrote papers about... it's amazing. I absolutely must come back here to go up to Tanzania and see Oldivai Gorge, where the famous archeologists the Leaky's discovered some of the oldest hominid fossils ever found, also to see the Laetoli footprints, some of the first evidence of upright walking hominids. And of course I must go to the Congo on a gorrilla trek to see our closest living relatives! It's such a cool feeling to be here in Africa where my years of education actually are useful to me!
Anyhow this is getting rediculously long, on to the next destination.....