Photos and Text By Guest Blogger Dr. Diane King
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So you are wondering how it all went. I am delighted to say we had no computer access during our trip, hence the delay in the story. We left Dulles Fri Feb 21 at 5:30 pm local time and arrived in Johannesburg SA the same time, the next day. The time there is 7 hours ahead of us here us which means the flight time was 16 hours and 1 hour on the tarmac in Dakar Senegal Africa to buy gas etc. We were able to stay in the same executive apartment complex as Dana and Steve as we flew in and out of Joburg. It was quite nice to have known local seasoned travel consultants on the ground in SA for our journey. We were briefed about the driving on the “English” side of the road, safety in the car, on the streets, at ATM’s etc.
In the cities, when you stop at a “robot” (stoplight) there are always people trying to make a few Rand by selling trinkets, washing your windshield, passing out advertisements, or just asking for a handout. They are easily turned away by looking away or just waving. Always best to have the windows rolled up when in the car to prevent the smash and grab thievery that sometimes occurs. Always keep your cameras, cell phones, computers etc in the trunk or hidden from view to prevent an opportunistic local from trying to take it. Joburg was the only place we had a heightened sense of the need for security beyond the usual behaviors. Fortunately, we only heard stories and had no personal experiences to add to the list. In general people were friendly, would speak as you passed, and seemed happy enough.
We had a nice meal of fancy pizza and salads with our friends Sat night in the apts, We drove out of the city the next day to have lunch with the Zebras and Giraffes. It was magical. It is a resort that has a few animals inside the fence, but not really what you would call a game reserve. The huts were of typical Dutch influence with thatched roofs, commonly seen throughout SA. You could stay there overnight or just come for a meal as we did. The first photo sent a few weeks ago was taken here. The animals are free to roam and the Zebras were much braver than the Giraffes. We were able to get our first Wild Animal photos here, and it was quite exciting. We had no idea what was to come later on safari. As we found out, the food portions were quite large and we gave it our best that day. Also we discovered that beer is priced about the same as any other drink like water or soda, or even less! Who would have thought. Great news for David and Phil.
We stayed till late afternoon then went back to the city to catch up with Dana and Steve on all the SA happenings, and of course, to eat again. We fell fast asleep even with the highway noise.
The photos labeled #1 are of a cute set of Burchells Zebras (pronounced like the English would-a soft “e” like Ted). If you look closely you will see the shadow stripe of grey color in between the white stripes. This differs from the common Cape Zebra, found, well, in the Capetown of course. Those photos are later on. Then a beautiful group of 3 Giraffe’s, and I threw in some Impalas from the safari photos to tease you, a typical Dutch building, and lastly the lonely donkey who is wondering just what one has to do to get a beer around here.
Tomorrow we leave for Safari.
Diane and David