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Kruger National Park

Our first stop in Africa for wildlife viewing is Kruger National Park. We initially were going to have about eight days in the park and were going to do a self-drive. In the end we were lucky to find our good friend Stefan and visited Cape Town for a few days.

To maximise our game viewing opportunities, we decided to stay in one of the concessions in Kruger NP. We picked Rhino Walking Safaries as their walking option really gave us something different where we could really experience the African bush up close. We were going to do two nights in their Rhino Post lodge and two more nights at Plains Camp with one of those in the tented camp.

About a week prior departure, we were informed that the lodge section of Plains Camp had suffered a devastating fire :-(. Fortunately, no one was hurt but they had to change our booking so that we were going to start with two days at Lukimbi Lodge. This turned out to be a real bonus as we met incredibly knowledgeable guides and saw some leopard, lots of elephants a large pride of lions, rhino and impala.

The walking safari we did at Rhino post was very interesting and we got quite close to a giraffe and her baby. Highlight for Mariola was having an out-side shower while a Kudu came up close for a visit!

Our last evening game drive gave us all big 5 including a leopard just lying in the middle of the road as we drove up, he leisurely stretched out and moved on for his nightly activity just as we realised that the radiator had sprung a leak and we had to wait there in the dark until some water got to us to get back to camp.

After 4 nights we flew out of Kruger where poaching still seems to be a big problem despite very dedicated anti-poaching ranger surveilance and now we are off to Lusaka, Zambia.

Trusting of Strangers

Here we are at Lusaka airport in Zambia, looking for taxis, none to be seen. A nice man asks us if we were looking for a taxi, so he takes us to his car. Official taxis in Lusaka are painted a light blue so they are easy to recognise.

The taxi drivers have to park their taxis in the general parking lot as the government doesn’t allow taxis to be parked to the airport building, due to security concerns. His taxi is an official one and he quotes us a reasonable rate to take us to our hotel so all is good. We had been warned to stay away from non-blue taxies.

The driver, who is named Max, tells us about the city, a bit about himself and we also tell him that we will be coming to the airport the next day so we arrange to be picked up the next day.

Did you know that Zambia has 72 languages? English is the only official language but 72 languages! Max could speak five. I’m happy to speak two.

As we are about to pay him when he drops us at the hotel, he just tells us not to worry, “Pay me tomorrow for the lot”. How trusting is that? Sure we stand out in a crowd here and he knows where we are going in the morning but for him not to take the money today, that he well deserved, that is not something you find in too many so called developed countries.

Thanks Max, much appreciated.

Cape Town

The first stop in Africa is a visit to Cape Town. Our good friend Stefan moved to South Africa last year and we managed to track him down and we have visited him.

Cape Town is a gorgeous city set in a beautiful bay surrounded by mountains with Tabletop Mountain the centre of attention. Stefan showed us around Cape Point, got to see the African Penguins, some baboons and plenty of catching up. It is a amazing setting at the tip of the African continent with the two oceans meeting.

We got taken to Hermanus where we totally enjoyed watching a number of southern right whales, four of them, playing in the shallow waters close to shore. From what we found out, they were likely to be juveniles practising some mating rituals that they will get to use later in life.

As all this was happening, a seal just pops its head up making a snack of what looked like an octopus, a classic 🙂

We were treated to some very nice weather in Cape Town, which is not usually the norm at this time of year so we certainly weren’t complaining.

The botanical gardens are also spectacular, right in town. We got treated to see the King Protea, wow, what a flower! We are a bit early for the flower display that the Cape puts on in Spring, so we will have to come back to see this.