Sunday, 14 January 2018

Itinerary Update - Soweto Tour

Pre-Scheduled Post: Sunday - Soweto Tour
As per our trip itinerary (bar any issues/changes/complications etc.) we will ....

After an early breakfast depart on a half day tour of Soweto. Experience a fascinating glimpse of the bustling neighborhood life of Soweto, the most metropolitan township in the country, setting trends in politics, fashion, music, dance, and language. Drive by the former residence of Bishop Desmond Tutu and visit Nelson Mandela's former home, before proceeding to the Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum, dedicated to one of the first casualties of the Soweto uprising of 1976. Continue to the Apartheid Museum, journey through the racial segregation experienced by millions of South Africans. This evening enjoy a Farewell Dinner with the Tour Manager and fellow travelers.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Phone Photo - Waterfall Fav

I absolutly love Niagara Falls. It is mind blowing each and every time I visit. But Niagara Falls is a Natural Wonder of the World (or at least I thought it was.) It is hard to say it is my favourite waterfall since it is so much more than that. With that, I think I have found a pretty amazing waterfall that might be my top, Bourke's Luck Potholes.

The Waterfalls at The Potholes
Why am I unable to get my horizons straight?
(Photo taken with my phone)
Blyde River Canyon, South Africa

The other stops on today's very long bus ride were also very impressive. Sadly though, God's Window was too foggy to see anything at but the vistas at The Three Rondavels were beautiful.

Itinerary Update - Johannesburg

Pre-Scheduled Post: Saturday - Panorama Route to Johannesburg
As per our trip itinerary (bar any issues/changes/complications etc.) we will ....

Depart after breakfast and travel to Mpumalanga Province, known as "Paradise Country," driving the spectacular "Panorama Route." Stop to admire the views of amazing scenery along the 16-mile-long Blyde River Canyon, cut deep into red sandstone, and God's Window (weather permitting), a breathtaking, edenic vista at the edge of the escarpment overlooking Kruger National Park. Visit Bourke's Luck Potholes, a series of waterfalls and distinctive rock formations created by countless millennia of water erosion before proceeding this afternoon to Johannesburg.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Can't Stop, Won't Stop

After TWO game drives in Kruger Park today, we still weren't done. About half the group decided to stay for an evening tour as well. A couple of days ago I was asking our guide about doing a safari on our last day, Monday when there isn't anything scheduled and we don't leave until midnight. He mentioned that if we wanted to do an extra safari some people arrange to do a third one in Kruger on their own (not associated with the tour.) Of course we decided to do that! I can't get enough of these animals. And in doing so, tonight we saw a leopard. This means we have seen all of The Big Five. (Though I think The Big Five isn't really a relevant list anymore, but more on that another time.)

Phone Photo - Elephants

Elephants Crossing The Road In Front Of Us
Look at the teeny one!! Also part of the truck got in the shot.
(Photo with my phone)
Kruger National Park, South Africa

Itinerary Update - Kruger National Park

Pre-Scheduled Post: Friday - Kruger National Park Game Drive
As per our trip itinerary (bar any issues/changes/complications etc.) we will ....

Begin at dawn with coffee, tea, and rusks, a South African dry biscuit, a pre-packed breakfast is also provided. Then, on to Kruger National Park for a thrilling full day open-vehicle game drive. Larger than the state of Connecticut, the park offers some of the best game and wildlife viewing opportunities in the world, and early morning is an optimal time of day. The chance to maybe see lion, elephant, giraffe, or zebra in their natural habitat. After stopping at a rest camp for lunch continue the game drive. With any luck, might even see cheetah and leopard. After the day's excitement, relax by the pool and enjoy dinner at the hotel.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Itinerary Update - Swaziland

Pre-Scheduled Post: Thursday - Swaziland Sightseeing and Matsamo Village Visit
As per our trip itinerary (bar any issues/changes/complications etc.) we will ....

After breakfast, visit the Ngwenya glass factory, where visitors can watch talented glass blowers create a range of enchanting African animals, birds, and fish, as well as tableware, made from recycled glass that is collected by the children of Swaziland. Transfer to the South African border and visit Matsamo Cultural Village, learn more about the Swazi traditions and customs. Enjoy traditional dance and song performances with authentic African instruments as well as traditional Swazi cuisine. Wander through the village with its many traditional huts and interact with the locals.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Overwhelmed With Emotion

Technically our first safari was last nights river cruise,where we saw tons of hippos. But this morning was our first game drive. I have no words to describe the experience but I will try.

I felt very amazed during the boat cruise watching all the pods of hippos in the water. It was a surreal feeling, definitely a 'wow, we are in Africa moment.' Also a very big eye opener - that for large animals, zoos are not even close to recreating their environments in a meaningful way. We also saw crocodiles and monkeys. It was nice that the guide made a point of pointing out the different birds to us too, without Mom having to ask. I am sure her blog will feature the eagle and kite we saw soon, though her camera wasn't working so Jason was in charge of taking the photos. I was very content using our little travel binoculars.

We continued this for the game drive today - Jason with the camera and me with binocs. I am surprised that I am not more into the photography but I like to grab a few shots on my phone and then just watch the animals - they are truly mesmerizing. Right from the first sighting it was like a shot to the heart. I was moved to tears on numerous occasions from the awe of these amazing animals.

From my phone!!!

The zebra look so different than expected when viewing them up close in the wild, the elephant was beyond impressive, seeing monkeys play or the various 'deer-like' species, at each new spot I could have stayed and watched all day. It was a beautiful and overwhelming three hours, and I can't wait for our next one in two days time. Already trying to figure out how to fit more drives in before we have to head home.