It has been months in the planning but now it is just 18 days away before we start out on what promises to be the greatest adventure,in more ways than one,of our travel experiences.
This adventure all came about through Gretchen wanting to tick off one of those 'things to do before.....you know what'(not that she has any intention of doing 'you know what'!and see the 'Big Five'live in their backyard and not a zoo.
The planning has been extensive despite the fact that this will be a trip of just under a month and no where near as long as the 6 or 8 month BBA's have been.
For a start Kiwis don't get a simple stamped 3 month visitor visa when they arrive in South Africa anymore,like we do in so many other countries of the world.
To get the South Africans to accept us as visitors we filled in pages and pages on a Visa application,prepared an intinerary,gathered together documents such as Bank statements showing we could support ourselves while we were in South Africa(how we couldn't do this when the return airfare alone is over NZ$2000 is beyond us) and other pieces of paper that required a satchel to carry it to our interview in Auckland with the South African government agent who handle Visa applications.
So that is a 400km round trip to Auckland taking time off work,30 minute appointment at an inner city building and then a wait of two weeks and BINGO ! we had our Visas neatly placed in our Kiwi passports.
This made real all the planning that had gone on and we thought we just had to sit back and let the days roll by to departure day.
Not quite!There was still the travel nurse at our local doctors surgery to get past.Both of our doctors said you can't go to Africa without an inoculation of two or three or........!
So we got topped up with jabs to prevent tetanus,hepatitus and if she had had her way yellow fever too plus our malaria tablets.We left there some hundreds of dollars lighter in the travel fund.At least we got the bargain deal on the malaria tablets sold to us 'off licence'but as good as the 'on licence' ones the nurse said all proved by the Israeli Army who did some study on a different regime of taking the tablets that didn't mean taking them every day for weeks before you and go and then weeks after you come back.
Our daughters have been wringing their hands about their parents heading off to one of the more dangerous countries in the world to be a traveller but we have been slowly reassuring them with all the precautions we know we will need to take after reading lots of guide books and apeasing them with the Hop on and Hop off bus in Cape Town as a way of sightseeing instead of our usual 'roam the streets and take in the locals' way of sampling the way of life of the town or city we are visiting.We have also promised not to wear our expensive watches or carry cameras(other than a phone camera)while in CapeTown.
A little about the trip.
We fly Singapore Airlines from Auckland to Singapore and then onto Cape Town with a one hour stop in J'burg.We have 3 nights in Cape Town which probably won't be enough but at least will give us a feel for what is described as a great city to visit.
Then we have a week in a rental car heading east to Port Elizabeth taking principally the coast road with one diversion inland to hopefully take on the Swartzberg Pass.We will have a different town to stay at each night.
From Port Elizabeth its a South African airways flight to Jo'burg to overnight then a roughly 500km road trip east with a tours and safari company to Gomo Gomo Game Lodge in Kruger National Park for 3 nights and then south to Tydon Safari Camp at Sabi Sand for another 3 nights with daily game activities at both places.
Then its back to Jo'burg and another overnighter before we fly again with South African Airways to Livingstone,Zambia and onto Victoria Falls for 2 nights.
Finally its onto Chobe National Park,Botswana for 3 nights before returning to Jo'burg via Livingstone for our last overnighter and the return home to Auckland via Singapore.
We won't be cranking up the thousands of kilometres the 3 previous BBA's have achieved but we are sure this WILL be our greatest adventure yet.!
You are welcome to join us at travelblog.org to follow our adventures as we know from our experiences from our some hundreds of blogs before that there are many people out there who through all sets of circumstances never get to experience what we have been so fortunate to have done but have felt they have lived a little of our experiences themselves from their armchair at home.
See you again on Thursday May 19th for the next update.
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