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Old 07-11-2009, 10:53 AM   #1
abbyjt
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South Africa Trip report Day 10 &11

Day 10
5:30 Wake up call for everyone at the lodge. We dressed in layers, I put my pants on over my pajama pants, 3 shirts, 2 fleeces and a sweater. 6:00 is tea and rusks, hard biscotti like biscuits that you dip in your tea or coffee. they have some croissants and other things as well, but this is pre breakfast. Everyone is loaded in their safari vehicle and off by 6:30 am. We were looking for lions, but didn't find any this time. We saw wildebeast, Zebra and Impala. Then Another adventurer spotted something that looked like a big rock. We went to investigate and it was a huge old bull Cape Buffalo.

Calvin brought us righ up to him. Pretty awesome. He stood up and grazed a bit. After about 1 1/2 hours, they stopped the vehicles and pulled out the tables and served coffee and rusks again. Onward we drove. We saw zebra and kudu. Back to the lodge for breakfast, this time a big buffet (I'm still full thinking about it). we went back to our rooms and took off lots of layers. Today the weather was beautiful. It got hot enough for short sleeves for a few hours.
Next, Disney arranged for an archery champion to teach us the art of archery.
This was a lot of fun. Other guests at the hotel have no extra activities other than the drives. My husband won the competition. He is crazy competitive and I ditched archery and went over to the beading lady. We made necklaces and bracelets.


Oh well, we hadn't eaten in a few hours, so LUNCH. Lunch was at yet another outdoor, but shaded venue. Lots of lovely salads and grilled meats. We ate quickly because we had booked side by side massages at the wellness center (really Tina booked them for us). This was a beautiful facility right in the compound.

This is me after the massage. the picture doesnt do justice to how beautiful it was. Our massages were in a room with a huge window overlooking the bush. I really enjoyed this. We both showered in the locker room there, and then back to the room to layer up again. While we were at the wellness center, our kids attempted to swim in the not heated pool. They lasted about 10 minutes.
Another tea, then into the vehicles for another Safari. We came upon a herd of buffalo. My son spotted them. we drove right up to them. We were in search of elephants and our trusty tracker, Rogers, was keen on the trail. When it was nearly dark we found the elephants. Calvin drove fast to get in front of them so we could see them coming at us. This whole herd of elephants walked right out of the bush and across the road right in front of us.


I actually think these photos are from the next day, because it was nearly dark now, so my pics are a little dark from that day.
We went searching for night animals. Finally found a lioness. She was separated from her pride and was roaring trying to find them. those pics are dark as well.
Back to the lodge. Disney had a private dinner again. This time we were making bush pizzas. This was listed as a junior activity, but we all did it. So much fun. There was also a big bon fire (did I mention everything was outdoors) where we roasted dough to make a sort of pig in the blanket.

This is my family making pizza. They made me a pizza too. Next down to the snake pit, a room downstairs (INSIDE) where we watched THe Lion KIng. I actually took that time, to update my journal and I hopped on the one computer terminal available and posted to you.
We could barely stay awake another moment, and so bed time.

Day 11
5:30 wake up, 6am tea, 6:30 safari. This was an especially long and exciting drive. We went after elephants first. The guides radio around when then find something good and then several vehicles converge on the spot. We saw a herd of 18 elephants grazing. Lots of moms and small calves. We checked out a herd of buffalo wallowing in the mud. Saw some giraffe, kudu, antelope, warthogs. Heard about a spotting of a possibly dead lion. When we got there, we made a little too much noise, NOT Dead. the lion stood up and looked at us, then it resettled itself. He had a female by his side. Next we went to find a leopard that the guides had radioed about. Found it sitted a few feet from it's fresh kill an unlucky warthog. We spotted rhinos on the way back to the lodge. Awesome drive.
Back to lodge, breakfast, change clothes, then and insect and snake presentation only for Disney. This was a lot of fun. we held a boa constrictor.

Lunch and a little time to read then layer up, tea, and safari drive. We drove out to the dam, where Johan gave us a survival lesson and we made molds of some actual lion prints.

Sundowner drinks and then off on our drive. we saw a mom and baby giraffe. finally made it to the hippos. It was getting dark. Hippos stayed in the water, but you could see the heads and occasionally the lifted their heads and opened wide.

Back to the lodge for the farewell dinner. Sorry, I'm not going to spill the beans on this one. No pics for you either. It was a wonderful dinner with terrific entertainment.

There's more
Day 12
5:30, 6, 6:30 (you know it already). This was our last drive. I am going from memory now, because I never finished my journal for this day. We went back for the hippos since they were tough to see in the dark.

We also went in search of Lions. We found a large male roaming around, and again we raced to get in front of him.

Later we found a litter of nearly grown lion cubs, all females, lounging on a giant termite hill.


I don't remember the rest. I am terrible and I'm sorry I didn't finish my journal.

One more cool picture.


Back to the lodge, breakfast.. Then just enough time to shower and pack and back in the vehicles and off to the airport. We flew as a group back to Johannesburg, where we said our goodbyes, but, kept seeing each other over and over in the airport.
Loved every second of this trip.
To my fellow adventureres: I tried to post only pics of my family, but you may have made it in there anyway, so I hope you are not upset with that. We loved meeting you or meeting you again.

Last edited by abbyjt; 07-11-2009 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 07-11-2009, 11:34 AM   #2
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Wow, you really saw some amazing things. All those elephants are so cool! But 5:30 am? 6 am? I'm not sure I could survive a vacation like that!!!!

Did you guys make those T-shirts (the Safari to South Africa Summer 2009 ones?) What a cool idea! Where did you have them made? (Because I've never heard of ABD doing T-shirts....)

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Old 07-11-2009, 11:52 AM   #3
abbyjt
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Originally Posted by sayhello View Post
Did you guys make those T-shirts (the Safari to South Africa Summer 2009 ones?) What a cool idea! Where did you have them made? (Because I've never heard of ABD doing T-shirts....)

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My husband made the shirts to surprise the kids. He made them on a Disney site. I think is is shopdisney.com

You could get up early to see elephants!
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Old 07-11-2009, 03:11 PM   #4
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Hi Abby! Katie is worried that her shoulders are hunched over in the picture -

Great pictures! I haven't even seen Tom or Katie's yet - he is still "organizing" them. It was such a great trip!
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Old 07-11-2009, 04:28 PM   #5
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How magical! Thanks so much for taking the time to share with us!
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Old 07-17-2009, 06:00 PM   #6
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You did it right, abbyjt! I was able to click to all the parts of your report just fine from the sticky! Go you!

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Old 07-17-2009, 07:50 PM   #7
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Wow...Wow... Thank You so much! So amazing!
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:02 AM   #8
Lamilla45
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That was amazing.. Amazing pics and sight. Want to be there.. Nice to see your matched shirts i.e Safari T Shirts. I get the unique idea, Will plan to go there in up coming winters.. Hope you will guide me more, when I want to go..
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Old 05-20-2013, 12:12 AM   #9
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I know it's been a few years since this report, but wow you did an amazing job thank you! I hope you see this because I sure could use some help. My DH works for a travel agency in Boston, and as a 10 yr reward, he can choose any of their adventure trips and he chose Africa! We're going to Kenya and Tanzania for an 18 day safari. Can you give me any tips at all for flying all that way? We'll have one flight to Amsterdam for 7 hrs, a 5 hr layover, then another 8 hr flight to Nairobi, 21 hrs all together yikes! Any other advice in general would be so helpful, I know how to travel to Disney and that's it!
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Old 05-21-2013, 08:01 AM   #10
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Hi Jillpie,
I have no great information on how to endure those long flights, but I'll tell you what we do. My husband and I both wear travel socks. They are tighter than normal socks and are supposed to help reduce foot swelling and the possiblity of getting a clot in your leg. (we are normal size and weight, but it's a concern for me) There are 5 of us. We each pack our own carry on. Usually we keep them under the seat so they are easily accessible. We pack snacks, even though most airlines feed you sufficiently. I like to make a mix of nuts, dried fruit and chocolate chips. I don't know why, I just like that. The kids usually like pretzles or some other salty snack. My husband also makes a mix. They often last us the whole trip including the return flight (mostly because I'm a snack a holic and buy snacks all through the trip). Download some movies onto your phone, tablet whatever you have. Most of the international flights now have a screen in the back of each seat that you can watch dozens of movies, tv, play games etc. BUT, when we flew to Greece last summer, the plane was old and there was only a movie on a big screen at the front of the section of coach we were in. On a flight to Italy, on a beautiful new aircraft, my husband's was the only seat that the screen didn't work. Most airports have charging stations, so charge phones etc. during your layover, bring adaptors in your carry on. The type you need will be available on the internet. Books and magazines are always a great way to pass the time. Always walk around the plane as often as you can. On some larger aircrafts there are galleys at the back. If you are not too in the way, you can stand back there for a few minutes at a time. Drink water to prevent dehydration. Limit alcohol. (just sounds like good advice, right?). Bring eye shades and ear plugs to try to sleep. Use those stupid looking neck pillows. Take Tylenol or Motrin 1/2 hour before you land. Some destinations check your temperature when you arrive (they don't touch you, they just point a temp gun thing at your head from 5 feet away). If you have a fever you won't be allowed to enter the country. When you get to your destination, try to get right onto local time. If you arrive at 8 am, you need to stay awake until local bed time. If you have to, you can take a very short nap, 1/2 hour or less in the afternoon. Take a swim before dinner to wake/refresh and last until 10pm. Arrive a day early if you can to adjust to the time difference.
I hope this helps. It's harder on the way home when the anticipation is no longer carrying you and you're looking at piles of laundry.

I don't know how far south Kenya is, but remember the Southern hemisphere is opposite seasons and it was chilly in South Africa in June. Those game drives can get cold. Have a great trip.
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Old 05-21-2013, 09:56 AM   #11
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Wow thank you soooo much for all that info, so helpful!!!
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Old 07-18-2013, 10:24 PM   #12
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This is an amazing report. Thanks for taking the time to post it. We are thinking about going on the same trip this December. We would be travelling with a 7yo and an 11yo. I'd love to hear your opinion on how you think a 7yo would manage. Was your 11yo the youngest on your trip? Thanks!
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Old 07-19-2013, 07:59 AM   #13
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This is an amazing report. Thanks for taking the time to post it. We are thinking about going on the same trip this December. We would be travelling with a 7yo and an 11yo. I'd love to hear your opinion on how you think a 7yo would manage. Was your 11yo the youngest on your trip? Thanks!
Our daughter was the youngest on our trip, but I know other trips had younger children. They have changed the activities a bit since we went, I think it is 2 days shorter now. Only you can decide if your 7 year old can handle it. The days are pretty full. We've been on other adventures with 7 year olds. Sometimes they have no problems at all and are more energetic than any of the other kids or adults. There were several 7 year olds on our trip to China and I don't remember any of them having any problem (no meltdowns or anything). On our trip to Germany, a grandmother had 2 7 year old granddaughters who took turns sleeping through dinner on different nights. It's a great trip, you'll love it.
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Old 07-21-2013, 11:52 PM   #14
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Our daughter was the youngest on our trip, but I know other trips had younger children. They have changed the activities a bit since we went, I think it is 2 days shorter now. Only you can decide if your 7 year old can handle it. The days are pretty full. We've been on other adventures with 7 year olds. Sometimes they have no problems at all and are more energetic than any of the other kids or adults. There were several 7 year olds on our trip to China and I don't remember any of them having any problem (no meltdowns or anything). On our trip to Germany, a grandmother had 2 7 year old granddaughters who took turns sleeping through dinner on different nights. It's a great trip, you'll love it.
Thanks for your input, I appreciate you getting back to me. We've decided to put the trip on hold for a couple of years. We want to ensure that our daughter can differentiate between her trip to Africa and the Kilimanjaro Safari at WDW!

Based on lots of feedback from friends, 10-11 seems to be the magic age. In any case your trip report was really great and I hope to be writing one of my own in a few years.
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