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Old 07-09-2009, 09:36 AM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Allentown, Pa
Posts: 220

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

Last edited by abbyjt; 07-09-2009 at 01:54 PM.
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