Africa Finale

Saturday, June 21

Up early for one last game drive before we head home. We left at 6:30; today is the first day of winter!...and it really did feel like it. it was "quite fresh" as the Brits say. We had many layers and gloves and they gave us blankets (but no hot water bottles this time), but the wind blowing into the open car was brutal. We still needed to see a buffalo (to get all of "the big 5"), and wanted to see zebras and giraffes too. (Ooops...actually on the way back to Zambia after the elephant ride, we did see several buffalos by the side of the road, but it was dark so we couldn't get a picture). Anyway, this was a smaller game preserve with no predators so we were hopeful. Of course we saw lots of impalas ("The McDonald's of Africa"), but maybe because it was cold, most of the animals were not out in the open. We saw waterbucks, and more kudus, baboons, and yay!  Finally saw 4 zebras.  It's amazing how they blend into the background. Could not find any hippos.  We almost ran into a giraffe who was standing in the road.

Couldn't find any elephants. We looked and looked and drove and drove, but no water buffalos. Oh well...guess last night's group will have to do.

So now we are sitting in the Joburg airport during our 8 hour wait for leg 1 back to reality.  This was a fantastic trip!  We saw and did so many neat things and the weather was perfect and the people were so nice and the food was wonderful, and seeing Em was really great! All in all it was a D-lightful trip: Darren and Derrick (from Thompson's), Denise and Dorothy (at the Cape Grace), Denver (Franschoek), Dave (Monkeytown), Dalton (the Blue Train), Denzel (horse boy), Duncan (ranger par excellence), Darryl (ugh!  The 5-seater pilot), and Joe (Joe?) our superb waiter at the Livingstone.  Bye Bye Africa!!!!!

Wendy: Random thoughts about sickness and vaccinations in Africa: We were very careful. We drank bottled water whenever we could, even though we were told it was safe in most places. But we ate everything served in the restaurants, including the salads (although those are not really big here). Aside from colds we had when we came, we had no other ill effects. Some Americans we crossed paths with were not so lucky. Of the two couples at Leopard Hills, one of the men got violently ill (food posining?) and had to sit out an entire day of safari. The wife in the other couple did not feel well in the morning and by afternoon had a 104 temperature!  Then, when we were at the Livingstone, one woman took a boat ride with her husband across the river to Botswana to do a safari. When she got off the boat a tree branch fell and broke her foot and injured her leg!!!! Yikes!  What are the odds of that!?!  So maybe our overkill of packing every possible medication (including Ace bandages and hypodermics) plus the malaria pills, paid off after all in preventing medical misfortune.

So here I am on the Amsterdam - Chicago leg; 5 1/2 hours to go. This trip was magical. We went to places we never dreamed we'd visit. We saw things we couldn't believe. We stayed in properties that made us feel like royalty. We spent time with Em - so grown up and happy. And we had precious time with each other.  Was it the best trip ever?  Hard to say because they're all wonderful.  Has it set the bar really high for subsequent trips? Absolutely!!!


Final statistics:
12 airplane flights

One 800 mile train trip

Countless drives in vans, cars, buses, luxury BMW's and bare bones Range Rovers

One boat ride

Three continents

Five countries

23,000 miles!!!!!

Thanks for sharing this wonderful experience.

w & w.................

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