A little bit (okay alot) of heaven

Trip Start Feb 24, 2010
Trip End Mar 11, 2010

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Flag of South Africa  , Limpopo,
Sunday, March 7, 2010

March 7 preamble from Barbara
Sunday morning at 4:30 a.m. we were picked up at our hotel and taken to the Cape Town Airport for our next trip to Johannesburg and then onto Pafuri – the location of our Safari. We were both half asleep and so when I was asked for my passport – it was no where to be found – so I was one of those people we all hate who had to completely unpack my luggage to locate my passport – which truth be told Melody found in my make-up bag. Let me digress here for a moment to mention that I have had to face the reality that I am the world's worst packer – not in terms of neatness where I excel but in the arena of making choices of what to take.  I could literally have brought what I actually wore and needed in a small brown paper bag.  I have to add that if Melody wasn't such a good packer and generous lender of her clothes, I would have had to wear my pajamas for most of the trip. I know that I have already dwelled in the land of the hyperbole throughout my blog entries but batten down your hats because our three and half days in the bush are the peak experience of my sad little life! 

News from the Bush…Barbara March 7

First of all when I say bush read Ritz Carlton bush – we had a tent on raised platforms and boardwalks (so that the animals could migrate back and forth – and they did!) on the edge of the Luvuvhu River. It was something out of a Hollywood movie – see Mel’s video (coming soon to a you-tube near you) and then multiply by 10 – nothing can do justice to it.  The Pafuri Camp is an eco-friendly environment and all aspects of our two bedroom tent reflected their dedication to being green.  It was so great!  The views were magnificent – the river, the clouds, the animals were all truly amazing.

After we got settled we got the low down on how the place runs – basically the schedule was 5:00 a.m. wake up, 5:30 tea and fruit and then we would go out with our guide until 10:00 when we would have "brunch" and then we had a free skate until 3:30 when tea was served and we went back out at 4:00 until 8:00 for more animal seeking.  Dinner was at 8:30.

So on our first day we saw baboons, monkeys, a crocodile, kudu, impala, zebra, all kinds of birds – especially the bee eaters which are stunning – and so many other animals I cannot begin to name them.  We would travel the trails of this enormous preserve (24,000 hectares) for a couple of hours and then stop for a 'sundowner’ a drink and snack and then as it really dark we would go out and look for animals in the dark – a whole different experience. 

Dinner was served on the main deck of the each night with whoever was in your group.  We had a family of three Canadians – the Chambers, Mary, Mo and Fuzz – and on the second day we were joined by a German couple – Evelyn and Jan.  It was an interesting group – our Canadian friends were –photo enthusiasts par excellence, at one point while taking pictures of some animal I was reminded of when Gwyneth Paltrow can for the Valentino film – paparazzi madness.  We are looking forward to seeing their photos – while I have to say Mel took (you will see) some of the most beautiful pictures ever and I cannot imagine anything will surpass them.

4:30 am departure for Pafuri Camp and arrival March 7 from Mel

Nothing like a little drama (lost passport), vomit (Barb mistook an alka seltzer for an antacid and popped it into her mouth), and wild car/ airplane rides (we jetted to Joburg, traveled by van to Lassari, and then traveled by Cessna 12 seater to the bush—even landed on a dirt strip that had to be cleared of animals by jeep before we touched down) to get the blood pumping.  Upon landing at the camp when we were escorted to our tent….I had the most unbelievable "Neat Attack".  Our tent was completely private, overlooking the river from our two level deck.  We had indoor and outdoor showers, the beds were feathered mattresses with misquote net canopies, and the bathroom featured a flush toilet with double sinks and “high end eco friendly toiletries’.  We added a few carefully selected bottles of South African wine to our room inventory and I am telling you I started regretting that we’d have to leave within our first hour. 

Our first night drive ends in a forest of yellow fever trees where we enjoy an ice cold cider and watch the sunset.  Eddie, our guide, takes the rifle and scopes out the area to be sure it is a safe place to stop… he knows that all that bouncing around in the jeep is hard on those with “citified” bladders.   We call it the happy bush and Eddie is great at finding them for us on each of our morning and evening drives.

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