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Each journey begins with a single step... Two kiwis escaping from the island to explore strange new worlds and boldly go where thousands have gone before... . .

First week on tour

SOUTH AFRICA | Wednesday, 27 July 2016 | Views [412]

Day 1 Started at 6am, we headed west towards the Kruger National Park stopping at Hazyview, where our guide Antony lives, for the night. We went to a local show but got there late missing most of the performance and the meal whilst interesting was not that edible. We tasted Warthog, Impala and Springbok and ate pap which is maizemeal and a staple of SA.

Day 2 - We visited Mpumalanga and several beautiful spots including a place known as God's Window which is where the little bushman in The God's Must Be Crazy went to throw the coke bottle back to the Gods. That night we stayed at a Lodge in the park, Kent and I sat up late talking with Ant and were lucky enough to see a HUGE black and silver backed Badger that came to suss out the kitchen. The accommodations have outside kitchens, decks and braais (bbq's) it is warm enough all year to use them. There was a lighted watering hole outside the fence of the Lodge but although we heard animals we didn't see any. A great day.

Day 3 - Another 6am start and into the Kruger park where we happened straight away upon 3 male lions who were being harrassed by hyena. They were a little distance away but we could see them clearly albeit not clearly enough for pristine photos. We saw the hyena had a baby to protect and that was why they were so on top of the lions. We saw lots of animals as we travelled through the park, the most we saw in any day to date.

Day 4 – A beautiful sunrise and lots of elephants and water buffalo, Kent got to hold a huge cricket (no-one else would), it looks a lot like our wetas but fatter and more grey. The area is in the grip of a drought, 7 months of no rain and the place is dry and brown, the rivers are puddles and the game are dying not from lack of water as there are man made water troughs provided, but from lack of food as the grasses are not growing. Lots of Baboons, Kudu and Zebra today and of course the constant little Impala, we watch them to see if they are wary or skitish but so far they have been very relaxed so no predators about. The accommodations have been great, today we stayed at a tent motel, a very nice place in the Park.

We travel in a 10 seater Toyota Land Cruiser towing a trailer with our bags and food in it. Each day breakfast is provided by Antony altough most of us are not breakfast eaters so it's just coffee and go. Lunch is a picnic in spots in the parks, they have yummy bread here and the big chilly bin is full of salad things and meats and fruit to eat. There is a separate chilly bin for booze which is devoured in the evenings. I have tried a few SA wines (late harvest desert wines are just up my alley I've discovered) also got quite tipsy on Amerul one night. We have good company in 3 other kiwi couples, only one doesn't quite fit in but time will sort that we hope, and an American woman who is excellent value. We spend a lot of time laughing and the evenings can be hilarious especially once Ant starts telling stories.

Day 5 – out of Kruger and on to Mpungabwe National Park, good roads, through some local towns seeing all sorts of housing from stick and plastic sheet housing to new small one room dwellings. The earth is very red and raw, I wonder what it is like after rain, how green? How colourful? How muddy? Today we got up close and personal with some elephants on the road and ended our day at another motel in this Park made up of round thatch roofed dwellings. Dinner was braai, a huge steak and vegetables cooked by Antony, he's a great cook too. We sat up late and saw Genet just over the deck wall.

Day 6 – Washing day today, one of the locals did the deed so we threw everything in, until now we have been washing out our smalls and Kent's stump socks and drying them overnight. Out to visit the Mpungabwe Hill where a tribe lived with the King up on top of the hill and his villagers below serving him. An excavation showed the levels of human occupation over time in the layers of earth. There are lots of different trees here and I particularly like the huge Baobab trees which look obese and the Rock Fig trees which grow out of nothing flowing up cliffs and rocks. We viewed the confluence of the Limpopo and Sassi Rivers where Botswana, Mozambique and SA come together. In the evening after our braai (today with local and very yummy sausage, yes I've given up not eating meat for this trip) we saw a Civit, bigger than the Genet and just as cool markings, This one liked us so much he hung about and kept us company for quite a while.

Day 7 – We crossed the border into Zimbabwe today, no problems, took a bit of time, a nice young man behind the counter took a liking to me and whisked us through. Ant was expecting lots of stops and fines on the road but we were waved through each one and arrived at Motopo just past Bulawayo by mid afternoon where we booked into The Farmhouse.


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