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Published: October 13th 2015
It’s been about 3 years since I posted on this blog, but that doesn’t mean I have stopped travelling! Since then I have been on safari in Tanzania, completed my master in Amsterdam and travelled to many new places around Europe. Not to mention a couple of Aussie East Coast trips; the first with my Aussie friend Katerina who I met in Sweden and the second with my friend Tiffa who is Venezuelan, but living in the Netherlands. Now a new journey has begun in South Africa!
I can’t decide what flight I enjoy more: Brisbane to Europe or Brisbane to South Africa. On the way to Europe I usually experience two stopovers. The first is usually in Singapore and the second somewhere in the Middle East. The whole trip is about 24 hours with the longest flight being about 8 hours and the last leg is ALWAYS a drag. From Brisbane to South Africa we only stopped in Sydney, but the flight from there to Johannesburg was 14 hours. My, that is a long time to be stuck on a plane. Especially when you’re sitting next to Tandi who is stinking out the small, enclosed space with her glorious farts. According to Chuck and Josh from Stuff You Should Know, plane farts are a whole lot worse than farts on the ground too. So perhaps the verdict should be based on whether or not Tandi is on the flight with me.
Anyway, South Africa. We’ve been here for about 12 days (which means 12 days away from my love. Sad face) and what an adventure it has been! We spent our first couple of nights in Graskop, which was the perfect destination for two jet-lagged ladies. It was a very cute town with a lot of pretty views and friendly locals, but the real fun started in Kruger National Park.
We spent 4 days checking out about half the park and were lucky enough to spot a family of lions within the first 30 minutes of entering. We stayed at a rest camp called Letaba for the first night, where Tandi gave herself food poisoning from undercooking boervors (South African sausage) on the braai (South African BBQ). The next night we stayed at a lodge on the Sabie River (you could see elephants from the pool!) where I gave myself food poisoning from eating a spoon of curdled yoghurt. The last 2 nights we stayed at Buckler’s on the Crocodile River where our food poisoning turned into water poisoning because we accidentally drank the water. Staying at different locations was the best idea because there is quite a change of scenery in different areas of the park. Buckler’s was definitely my favourite place to stay because it was very cosy and you could see so much wildlife from the pool, including elephants, rhinos, buffalo, wildebeest, impala and waterbuck. One of the other guests told me he had even seen lions and a leopard on his last stay there!
The highlight of our Kruger adventure was being designated driver (yes I did the driving! It’s a miracle!) and the accomplishment of spotting all the animals, including the top 5, without a guide. We definitely saw more animals on our guided tour in Tanzania a couple of years ago, but the feeling of finding the animals yourself seriously tops the quantity of animals you see! On our third night in the park we did a night safari. It was awesome seeing a leopard so close, but we were definitely ready to turn around after that! We were still pretty jetlagged and aside from the leopard the only reason we stopped (every five seconds may I add) is because some lady kept on seeing ‘something small’… ‘it has small eyes’.. kill me.
Next stop: Johannesburg with our guts still poisoned. We only spent a night here but made the most of the time we had. A big shout out to Rob at Shoe Strings who was an excellent host and made our time in Joburg that much easier and interesting! Tanz and I got the train into the centre and took the typical red tourist bus around the city and to the Apartheid Museum. We really only had time to stop here, but our trip on the red bus showed us that the city is truly one of contrasts! In some parts there are once beautiful, but now rundown and vacant buildings with streets full of vendors. In other areas you could easily be in West End in Brisbane. I am really glad we checked it out because it has changed my previously narrow minded view of the city and it’s people. Speaking of people, I must admit the locals here are some of the friendliest I have ever met. Legit.
Before we went on to Northern Drakensberg we treated ourselves to breakfast and a spa treatment at one of the fancy airport hotels. It was amazing. I will leave our stories of Drakensberg until the next post, so hang in there! I hope our bowels do.
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