South Africa 2018

Published: March 1st 2018
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Dear all

A big hello to everyone from South Africa along with super birthday hugs to brother Warren. Congrats on the big 60.

So we are just two weeks into our South African trip and have had a ball. We would have loved to have shared our photos much earlier but the pace has been full on. The people here are lovely, the little tours we have done have been extremely informative, we have learnt so much about the short history of the place and the struggle the people have had because the Brits, the Dutch, the Germans and the French have all had disputes with each other in the backyard of the people of South Africa.

So we arrived in Johannesburg after a very long flight from Sydney – finally arrived 3 hours later than we were supposed to. The GoGolfing guide met us and we did the 40 min coach drive to the Sandton area. Next morning we had a tour of Johanesburg city and then out to Soweto. It was interesting to visit the museum in Soweto where we learnt a great deal about the struggle of the local people as a result of the wars and apartheid and the big student uprising which resulted in people like Mandela and the ANC leading the struggle for independence. Soweto was once the huge shanty town area but this has now changed with independence, access to education, electricity and gov housing.

The next day saw us on the bus heading to Sun City – a five hour trip. Arriving at Sun City we played our first game of golf at Lost City. The course has become famous because of the par 3 13th hole which has a big wall around a crocodile lake. If the shot is a bit to the left or too short then it is goodbye to the ball cause the crocs are huge and there is not getting the ball out. Graham fed 2 balls to the crocs and Leanne got a nice little four on the hole.

After golf we did an afternoon safari into the Pilaansberg National Park. It was quite cold in the open topped vehicles but it was a lot of fun – especially when we started to spot the animals. Elephants, giraffes, a rhino and her calf, a herd of hippos grazing after the rain, wilderbeasts, impala, Eylands, Kudu, zebra, warthogs and buffalo. It was really wonderful to see these animals in the wild just poking around. The herd of hippos had us all gobsmacked as it was so unexpected. They are enormous animals and have jaws so powerful they can snap a large crocodile in half with one bite!

Sun City resort is a bit like a mini Las Vegas and there are plenty of casinos and poker machines. There is also a great water park with a wave machine and beach as well as an interesting suspension bridge.

The next day saw us teeing off on the Gary Player Country Club. Course was long and the heavy kikuyu grass was hard slog especially after we had to deal with some heavy showers. Graham came second in the comp and Leanne played rubbish like many others.

Next day we departed Sun City for Kruger National Park. The drive was a lot further than we expected. Eight hours later we finally arrived and we were thinking this place better be special. We were up having breakfast at 6.30 the next morning to drive to the main gate at Kruger.

The safari went for 8 hours and we enjoyed every moment. We saw everything we hoped for and more. The highlights were many e.g. stopping so many times for animals wandering across the road, herds of elephants with their young ones, mum managing them and the big males looking out for the females. The giraffes were incredible. They are so tall and elegant. They are often grazing with the zebras and impalas and it is a great sight to see them all together munching away and keeping lookout for lions, wild dogs, leopards etc.

Then our guide spotted to female lionesses on the river bank with their young cubs. We never thought we would be so lucky to see such a sight. They were hard to see and it was hard to get good photos! Then it was off on a leopard hunt. Word came over the two way radio that there was one up a tree. By the time we got there we had to join about 30 other vehicles all jostling for the best position. We all saw the leopard but by the time we got the camera on the correct tree it had moved. Luckily a few of our tour group friends managed a photo. The noise of the vehicles and people disturbed the leopard and it took off into the bushes. We waited for quite a while but it was never seen again. We then went off after another leopard which was stalking a herd of impalas. Despite waiting for some time we never saw it. We also came upon a female wild dog with her pups. They are very ugly animals and apparently rarely seen.

Heading back to the main gates we came upon two rhinos wandering through an open area. They too are huge animals and we had a great time watching them. The warthogs and baboons were active and my goodness they are ugly and really funny to watch. The warthogs graze on their front knees – not sure why but that’s what they do.

At the end of the day we were exhausted and starting to feel quite cold but we were absolutely amazed that we had been able to see the Big 5 – the elephant, the lion, the leopard, the buffalo and the rhino along with many more animals and birds.

The next day it was another early start and back into the bus to drive back to J’berg to catch a two hour flight south to the coastal city of George. We were exhausted when we arrived at Oubaii Spa Resort where we have 3 games of golf on three tough courses – Pezula, Oubaii and Fancourt. Let the golf begin.

Enjoy the photos.

Best wishes to all at home and a super special hello to Lucas, Flynn and Liam from Nanny and Grandad.

Additional photos below
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