The day will come when I will die. So the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my allotted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze.--Richard Bode

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

South Africa

Hi again:

Patrice, my wife, the animal lover, has been wanting to go on safari in Africa for the longest time. The problem was the expense. She had figured it would cost about $30,000 which was totally out of line for our budgets. After some research, we finally decided we could "self-charter" a safari by flying into Johannesburg, South Africa, renting a car there, and going up to Kruger National Park. We went on-line and reserved a different bush camp in Kruger for each of nine nights, and then we were all set.

As soon as we entered Kruger National Park we started seeing animals.

Impala seemed to be everywhere

Our first rest camp was at Punda Maria.

There was a waterhole there, and the elephants were having a great time playing in it. We watched them cavort for a long time.

It gets dark at 6:00 in the tropics. At that first rest camp, there were some lights that could be turned on if a person wanted to continue watching animals from the blind near the water hole.

The next day we drove our rental car up toward the grey-green and greasy Limpopo river which we all remember from Rudyard Kipling's tale of how the elephant got his trunk. We discovered several crocodiles there.

We also started seeing a lot of hippos.

And also the most dangerous animals (some say) in Africa: The Cape Buffalo. Patrice really did not feel comfortable around those big guys.

They love being around water. They also love being in big herds. Sometimes we would have to wait for a long time as a herd crossed the road.

Sometimes we would see a lot of vultures sitting in a tree.

That was always a sure sign that there was a lion's kill close by.

It was also a sign that it was time to pull off the road and look for the lion.

We had scheduled our overnight camps each night, and had to be behind the electrified fence before dark at 6:00 p.m. You sure don't want to be out in the wild and have car trouble after dark. Each camp had something special to recommend it. We loved sitting on the veranda, having a drink or a breakfast, and watching the animals out across the waterways or the veldt.

Each camp we stayed in had a nice "hut" for us, and generally cooking gear. We never took advantage of the cooking gear, preferring instead to eat in the camp restaurant. Here is a picture of a "hut", and also of our rental car.

I could continue to put pictures on this post for a long time, but Patrice says it is time now to walk around a little. So, more later.