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abbyjt 07-09-2009 09:36 AM

South Africa Trip Report Day 9/What you've been waiting for
This is my second attempt at posting. My computer shut down just as I finished. It didn't post.

We had a quick breakfast in Knysna and then on the bus to George Airport. The flight from Johannesburg was late landing in George. This could make us late to catch our second flight. We boarded the South African Airways flight to Johannesburg and throw a little pixie dust around, Craig arranged with the head air host to have them hold the next flight for us. We had a 2 hr flt to Jo-berg, and Craig also arranged for SAA to pick us up as we exited the first flight and drive us directly to the second flight. This was huge. Normally you have to hike through the airport and go through security again. We passed all that and arrived at the second flight before they were even ready for us to board.
We had a 1 hour flight to Hoetspruit. this was the smallest airport I had ever seen. we were greeted by the Kapama guides as we entered the building. No need to pick up the luggage, it would find us later. We were loaded into specially designed landrovers. They are completely open. 3 rows of 3 seats, stadium style with a driver and passenger up front and a little seat at the front by the headlight for a tracker. We were assigned a vehicle and guide and we would stay with this group for our whole stay.
We drove out of the airport directly across the road into the Kapema Game Reserve property. we were immediately in the bush with dirt roads. Calvin, our fabulous guide, stopped to show us a dam(watering hole) with some birds and terrapins (like a turtle). I was thinking, Turtle, is he kidding me. where's the good stuff. we drove on for about 2 more minutes, when a giraffe stepped out of the bush and just stood on the side of the road like he was posing for us!
Now I knew why I was there. It was right next to the vehicle. It was awesome. we had about a 20 min drive to the lodge and we saw more giraffes and a few smaller animals.
We were greeted at the lodge with wet (not warm) towels to wash up with, then led into another area and given a welcome drink and a briefing about our stay. Off to our amazing rooms. The kids had an enourmous room with 3 areas.
They had 2 terraces, front and back. The bathroom was open (but could be closed). a big tub sat right in front of the windows and even the shower and toilet were situated to you could watch the outside no matter what you were doing. There were Nyala grazing right outside our patios (they are antelope that look like deer with stripes). We finally tore ourselves away and went to lunch. The lodge is completely open air. All the insides are open to the outside, but it was a little warmer now. A nice buffet lunch (there had been lunch served on both flights, so 3rd lunch for today). We went to the rooms to layer up for our first official game drive, but this is civilization so first, tea.
Game drives are about 3 hours long and it is very cold in the open moving vehicle. Calvin passed out blankets. Hats, gloves and lots of layers are really necessary.
We came upon 2 white Rhinos. White is a misnomer, it's really from the Dutch word for Wide mouth that the British misinterpreted.
They were right there. Calvin drove the vehicle right up to them. Totally amazing. The animals are used to the vehicles and usually don't see them as a threat, so they mostly ignore the vehicles.
Got up close and personal with some Zebras and more giraffes. Now they stop the vehicles and pull out tables and set up a BAR. This is the sundowner. As the sun goes down, you have drinks and snacks and watch the gorgeous horizon. We kept joking about the amount of food served and how often. The guides would say, you are on holiday, just relax and enjoy it.
We drove on now that it was dark looking for nocturnal animals.

Gotta end here, I will update more later. Sorry out of time

jamie@dvcstore 07-09-2009 09:55 AM

Hi abbyjt,
I just wanted to thank you for the trip report and pictures. I read a lot of trip reports both Disney and other and I think the way you are doing it is perfect. The pictures make you feel like you are right there.

This is one trip I would love to take and someplace I am determined to make it in my lifetime.

I am looking forward to future trip reports and pictures. Have a great rest of your trip. :banana:

Thanks again,

tiggrbaby 07-09-2009 11:29 AM

So amazing!!!! My sister and I are looking forward to booking this for next summer, and your great TR has us so psyched!

abbyjt 07-09-2009 02:02 PM

Day 9 trip report continued
We were off looking for nocturnal animals. It gets really dark, there was a nearly full moon and tons-o-stars. Calvin pointed out the Southern Cross. My husband and I started singing the CSNY song: the South Africans never heard of it. It got even colder after sundown. The tracker at the front has a big light that he sweeps back and forth looking for the reflection of animal eyes. We didn't catch much that first night. Back to the lodge and some time to wash up for dinner.
Dinner was a traditional African Boma (Bar B Que). We were in a big private outdoor area with a bon fine and another big buffet just for us. Lots of salads and grilled meats. There were blankets on the chairs, but the fires really kept the area pleasant.
Another fabulous meal and another fabulous day. We went to bed.

abbyjt 07-09-2009 02:04 PM

Can everyone open those images in the first part of day 9? I forgot to put them into insert image. If someone replies that they can't view them, I will fix it.

tiggrbaby 07-09-2009 02:25 PM

The pics opened fine for me!

kidcoos3 07-09-2009 02:37 PM

You're doing a great job Abby!! I think I'll forward your threads to my family to show them what we did.:rotfl2:

OSUChad 07-09-2009 03:53 PM

Wow Abby, thanks for posting this. The pictures are amazing. I am sure many will try to take this trip after reading your report. Disney should give you a rebate!


abbyjt 07-09-2009 04:16 PM


Originally Posted by OSUChad (Post 32636504)
I am sure many will try to take this trip after reading your report. Disney should give you a rebate!


From your keyboard to Mickeys Ears!

smom16 07-09-2009 04:43 PM

Thank you for posting all of this. We leave for Africa on the 25th of July, so it is helpful. I am a little concerned about the weight restrictions on luggage. This is our 6th trip and they have never seemed as concerned. When we booked, I was told that there would be storage facilities so that we could pare down. Could you please share any insight that you have.

JMJennings 07-09-2009 05:26 PM

smom16, we also leave for South Africa on July 25th so I guess we will be meeting soon. I am loving these trip reports and can't wait for the remaining days! We have an 11-year-old daughter that will be with us - she is very excited.

abbyjt 07-09-2009 06:17 PM


Originally Posted by smom16 (Post 32637367)
This is our 6th trip and they have never seemed as concerned. When we booked, I was told that there would be storage facilities so that we could pare down. Could you please share any insight that you have.

We had the 50 lb restriction on the way there. On the short flights, we were told to try to pare down our bags and to move stuff into carry ons if possible. The carry ons didn't have to be carried on, just not checked. You could sort of gate check it on the tarmak and then get it back as you exited the plane.
When checking in to return to the US, they weighed all of our luggage together on one big scale. So much for moving it all into my 11 year old's bag to make sure none were super heavy. At that point you would have to pay for going over. I don't know what the limit was, we were fine.

Try to pack less anyway. You don't need any fancy dinner clothes at all. My husband bought travel clothes that you wash and they are dry by morning. That worked well. From Tilley I think.

kidcoos3 07-09-2009 06:59 PM

It's supposed to be a 44# restriction per person while flying the small planes between airports in South Africa - but that is just checked luggage. Our guides had travel scales you can use to check your luggage. We brought our own.

smom16 07-09-2009 07:27 PM

JMJennings, we have a 13yo girl and this will be her first trip without sibs, so knowing that there will be at least one other is less stressful

smom16 07-09-2009 07:31 PM

We have a 70lb limit on the transAtlantic flights. This will truly be the first trip that there are true restrictions. My concerns are that this really disallows picking up things as we travel for those at home. We flew small prop jobs in Costa Rica and there were no restrictions. My true concern is not the clothes, but the other things. I truly appreciate everyone's input!

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