|Our view of Cape Town's Waterfront at night|
We had been looking forward to a safari experience for several years. Our plan was to land on the east coast of Africa with the World ARC and take the first weather window(s) available to sail around the Cape to Cape Town. This is not an easy sail to plan as the weather demands that you go on Mother Nature's schedule. After a long wait for a chance to head west, we took it.
|Barb and Joe enjoying a taste of South Africa vino|
One of the biggest challenges we have had on this adventure has been the number of holidays the rest of the world celebrates! Somehow, we seem to have hit every official holiday in every country we have visited. There are holidays for everything and they are usually 2-4 days in length. Frustrating when you are trying to get people to work on the boat or you need to do some banking, etc.
|Our "chariot" awaits! OMG!|
Botswana was our country of choice because they do not allow hunting of the animals. The only “animal” that is legally hunted is the human poacher! And they will shoot them on site. They are very serious about stopping the maiming and killing of wild animals for their tusks, horns, etc.
|Our pilot was a young gal.|
Since we had to wait for Barb and Joe to arrive, the Meet & Greet gal suggested that we go to the local craft shops and "Peek and Pay!" I wasn’t ready to drop my dollars so early in the trip, but we looked at things. That was a mistake as there was a cute tee shirt I wanted, but thought I would see it again later. NOT! I should have paid! Delta, Alpha, Mike, November.
What a pleasant surprise when a gal hoped into the pilot seat! She was very young, too. I was fascinated just watching her as she checked out everything and began our approach to the small runway. Although a bit noisy, the flight was comfortable and interesting as we flew close to the ground (relative to larger planes) and around rain squalls. We can see squalls coming toward us on the ocean and can do some maneuvering to avoid the heaviest areas, but this time we were at eye level with the black clouds and could see clear spaces between the rain showers. It was interesting.
|Look who is crossing the runway in front of our bush plane!|
|Yah, right! International? Terminal? Passport Control? FUN!|
We finally reached the landing strip of our first camp. I was really excited that we were finally going to see the African Big Five: elephants, leopards, rhinoceroses, buffalos and lions. And I was looking forward to seeing the various camps our travel agent had booked for us.
first we had to land! I noticed there was a safari vehicle sitting along the
runway. I later learned that anytime a plane is coming in or going out, they
drive the length of the runway to chase off any wild animals that may be ready
to cross in front of a plane.
|This beautiful creature was the welcoming committee!|
Our first wild animal sighting was on the runway! After we had landed and were taxiing back to the waiting vehicle, a huge elephant sauntered across the runway! There is a good reason they check the runway before the planes arrive or take off! So, then we were off the first bush plane and into our first safari vehicle! We had arrived to begin an adventure of a lifetime!
A reality of life: the weak, old or ill do not survive.
Everyone is someone's meal!
Our ranger, Qwist, maneuvered the vehicle in the most ideal position for us to see and photograph the animals. We were up close and personal with the most amazing creatures! Why do people want to kill these beautiful beasts?
The al fresco dining area and swimming pool
overlooking the watering hole of the Stolen River.
|White linen dining in the bush!|
|The view from our private deck. Animals in the watering hole.|
The accommodations were beautiful. Each day the housekeeping staff made little designs on the bed as an extra touch. We had our own individual butler and maid. This was going to be very special!
There was cozy lounge with a cocktail bar, library and large fireplace in the main building. The dining building glowed with candlelight during later dinners.
|And this was waiting for us after a very long day!|
At the river’s edge, there was a viewing deck where meals were served on nice days and there was a swimming pool. Unfortunately, we were there during the rainy season so most of our meals with in the dining building which was lovely as well. There are pluses and minuses to each season, so the rain was a plus as it brought the animals to the watering holes which had been very dry.
|And this was our vehicle.|
And this was just our first day! And we still have an afternoon game drive before dinner, and a night game drive before bed. More to come…