Our wake up call came at 4:45am this morning. Pete’s alarm went off at 4:30am. We were out the door of the hotel at 4:56am, 4 minutes ahead of schedule – if you know my husband at all you know just how happy he was about this! We took a small, very full (commuter route) plane to Joburg. Our flight was in a bit early & we were shocked when the man at SA airlines said he could get us on the earlier flight out. Of course, this meant a few minutes of running around, trying to figure out how to use the pay phones to call the reserve but we made it! Our bags made it too! And our driver was waiting for us at the airport. I promise to take a picture of the airport on our way out. It’s teeny, makes the airport in Rockland/Spruce Head look big!!
The game reserve was about an hour drive from the airport. I’m not sure the distance but do know that the last 16km was dirt roads which makes for very slow driving. I’m not complaining at all it was a relaxing trip. Right out of the airport we saw a herd of impala & then a few minutes later a herd of zebra (pronounced zeb-ra here, same in London). Very good start to the trip. I did have to laugh when Pete asked our driver if there had been any accidents on our reserve & he said “Not yet” like they are anxiously awaiting one. On the drive in we saw many signs for other reserves but you don’t actually see any of them. They are all hidden deep in the bush.
The reserve we are staying at is so lovely. We were greeted upon arrival with fresh squeeze lemonade & introduced to the guy who runs the lodge as well as our butler, Given. Given showed us around, explained the rules to us (aka don’t walk around a night without a guide unless you want a lion to eat you for dinner – with the exception of a very high, probably like 5-6 feet, electric fence designed to keep out the elephants, there is no fence around the property), & brought us to our hut. Again, really lovely.
Given explained that things like: make sure you look both locks (there’s a latch & a hook) on the outside of the door when you leave – the baboons love trying to get into people’s rooms & they can get through a single lock system. Very naughty baboons. We’ll be knocking on the door at 5am for your wake up call. Put any laundry in this bag & it will be done same day – amazing! Here is where meals are served. Bathrooms, bar, etc.
We were able to grab a bite to eat, unpack a little & I had a quick nap before we met our tracker & guide at 3:15 for tea first, then the evening game drive.