Published: September 14th 2012September 11th 2012
Early start. It’s wet and cold. So is most of our stuff. :(
We leave Botswana
and cross into South Africa
. Five pages left in my passport. There’s a random check as we leave the border control and two minutes later we stop for acurrency exchange, at this rate it’s easy to see why it’ll take us ten hours to cover 600 km.
A stop in Pulokwan
for supplies. Everyone dives into McD’s as Bianca and I cross the road for Pick N Pay. Bianca needs water, gum and her daily intake of 3 % Sodium. Her highlights for today include a clean/modern toilet and the Magnum
I buy her as a reward for the funny (read: bitchy) comments on the ride so far. I don’t think she meant any of them, which makes them funnier (from my point of view). There’s a power cut
in the supermarket whilst we’re shopping. Leaving town we’re an hour behind schedule.
More hours on the road. The Gecko Lodge in Hazy View
is a bit basic and the advertised swimming pool we’ve been looking forward to doesn’t have any water in it. Tents up and then there’s time
for doing nothing (read: hot showers
and drinking Savannah
). I’ve chosen not to pay for the cultural dance tonight ($35). The cultural evening
includes dinner and since Justin isn’t cooking tonight I need to pay $5 to join the meal. So much for ‘optional’ extras. It’s good food, but being the last in line Bianca and I only get chicken bones instead of meat. Bianca wants to know what’s been bugging me the last couple of days. We figure out it’s because I’m more afraid of going home than I am of losing myself in strange countries. After $!5,000, three continents (12 countries?) and a year and a half on the road I don’t feel like I’ve achieved whatever it was I set out to do. I hate to fail. (Bianca: you didn’t fail). Having figured it out I feel better. Septermber 10th
– baby day
Earliest start so far and it’s COLD; we have to be ready to leave by 05h45, at least we don’t have to drop our tents. 15 minute drive to Kruger National Park
. We see giraffe (including a baby), buffalo (including babies), Rhino (including a baby and one really
close to the road), hyena
(walking along the road), bush buck, Crocodiles
(including a baby), hippos, monkeys, Impala (fast food for cats), leopard turtle
(little five), warthog (including babies), lioness with five cubs
During a break in the morning the temperature rises quickly. We go from jeans and jumps to shorts and t-shirts within 30 minutes. There’s a large camp (small town) in the middle of the park (with doctors, gift shop, library, etc) where we get coffees, souvenirs and 2% sodium.
Back on the truck it’s hot and Milly (one of the 18 yo English girls) suffers illness
. We miss a lioness trying to take down a buffalo because of it, but see the same lioness with her five cubs after everyone else has driven off. So not all bad (except for MIlly, who it is all bad for). We also have to drive past a rhino baby without stopping to get Milly back to the camp as fast as possible.
A few people are complaining of illness by the time we stop for lunch. Justin (and I) have prepared lunch for the group and (unsurprisingly) the people complaining most of tummy problems push
to the front of the queue to fill their plates first. It’s stereotypically German
and really annoys Bianca.
The afternoon drive is only 1.5 hours long. With full tummies and the heat most people start to doze
. Those that don’t snooze get much more out of it. Back at camp we have more rest time (read: more Savannah and hot showers). Bianca cooks dinner and I play pool with Hannah, Hannah and Marty.
Dinner is served; and the sickest rush to the front of the queue, again. In fact the sickest are helping themselves to seconds whilst we’re just starting ours. Bianca changes her nationality (half Japanese, half Spanish, half Irish – because she’s more than just a whole
). A few more drinks and a late (half past nine) night. It starts to rain
during the night. Bianca gets up during the night to go outside of the tent and close the blinds; She pretends that it’s just to keep her stuff dry, but I know it’s because she has a kind side. September 11th
It’s still raining when we get up. At least it’s not cold. Breakfast at six and leave at seven.
I think the camp used tap water ice
as I’m not feeling great.
Stop in Nelspruit
for toilets, medicines and gum. (Bianca: There were matches here for the world Championship. A detour to spend an hour or more at the stadium would have benefited everyone. Or watch a match).
Lunch is a service station with the choice of Spur or toasted sandwich. I have a toasted sandwich. And a Danish (cake, not girl). We drive into Jo-burg, passing the airport and keep going for another hour... despite half the people on the bus needing to go to the airport.
Dropped off at the Ritz Backpackers
. Time for goodbyes. Jess starts Bianca crying. :( (Bianca: Jess started crying first!). The hostel has no water (Bianca: for a change). The guy in reception is especially weird... I think he has a secret crush on Bianca. (Bianca: he had a crush on everybody except Aaron). Head out to look for cake and find a Fournos bakery
. We can’t afford any of the delicious things they have for sale so we get given them for free. We try the same trick in the bottle shop without success.
take showers. From the sounds Bianca makes I think... she enjoyed it. We make it to the group just as the pizzas are delivered. I try to socialise with the group that remains, but my hearts not in it. And I feel like I’ve wasted the evening. When I end up sat on the floor of Bianca’s room eating cakes
and browsing pictures I know what I should have been doing.
There are more photos below