Ok, hi everyone, last time I wrote it was last Tuesday On Wednesday I woke up early to go on a microlight flight over Victoria Falls.A microlight is like a glider but mechanical, it's just you and the pilot on the mini-plane.We flew over for 15 minutes and it was so beautiful.At this time of year there isn't as much water going over the falls but it was still so incredible to see.We also had a look at the Zambezi River and the rapids we had gone through on the Monday and we saw some hippos and elephants from the air, really cool.After lunch Claire, Bevan and I headed into town to do some shopping.I bought a couple of things at a little store in town and then we headed to the markets at Victoria Falls where I bought too much stuff again, oh well. That night we went to bed pretty early as we had to be up early the next day to head to Botswana.
We spent the whole day on Thursday driving into Botswana.The border crossing was across a river so we caught a ferry.After we had crossed we had to walk over this mat with all our shoes as in Botswana they have had problems with foot in mouth disease.I'm not quite sure how the mats prevented the disease but oh well.After lunch I posted my table and chair.They are travelling by land and sea and the man at the post office said they would take about 2 weeks to arrive so fingers crossed.That afternoon we went on a cruise along the Chobe River.We saw lots of hippos, a few crocodiles and elephants swimming which was really cool.They swim from the mainland across to this island in the middle of the river.From the boat we could see Namibia, which was also cool, however it looks the same as Botswana.That evening a few of us, Kathryn, Sara, Chris, Steve and I went to these mud baths.We had stayed up quite late and I wasn't quite sure what to expect but we headed to this man's property and bathed in these thermal puddles of mud.It was actually quite gross when I look back on it now but it was an experience.It was funny because when you're making your way to or from the mud you walk through these squishy mud clumps and every few steps your foot sinks and you have to pull it out (takes a lot of effort).So we sat in the mud for about an hour and we were in the truck ready to go when we got stuck in the mud.They tried for a while to dig the tyres out but it was no use so they called for a car to come pick us up.About half an hour later the rescue car came and what happened?It also got bogged in the mud!What are the odds.So the five of us were there, half-naked mind you, and it was absolutely freezing cold.We hopped back in the mud, which by this time I was really not keen to do but it kept us warm, while the 2 drivers headed off to get another car.The next car showed up about an hour later and then proceeded to spend half an hour trying to pull one of the cars out instead of driving us back.I was getting pretty cranky by this time as it was after 3am and we had to get up in 3 hours.In the end we left the two bogged cars and drove back to the camp where we had boiling showers and went to bed.I had to wash my hair so many times to get the mud out, seriously.At the time I was not very happy about it all so it was just a bad memory but later on the following day I could finally see the funny side.As I said it may not have been a wonderful time but it was definitely an African experience.
Friday was a big day, we drove for about 12 hours.I slept on the floor of the bus for pretty much the whole time (as did Kathryn) as I was so exhausted.That night we stayed in Itumala Camp (still in Botswana) where luckily we had dinner cooked for us.I slept outside again that night and was really really warm, which was quite surprising but it was nice.
Saturday was another full 12 hour driving day.We stopped off in a mall along the way and had McDonalds for lunch.It was so nice to have western food for a meal.We arrived at our camp, Bushmen's Camp, in the late afternoon.We were welcomed with dancing and a drink and shown around the campsite.It was a really nice place to be staying (we were there for 3 nights).They had lovely showers, really cool attention to detail, an internet caf?chill room, and our tents were put up on these raised sand pits so we had a soft base to sleep on.The whole time we were there our meals were provided which was so good as it meant no washing up, yay!That night we had waterbuck casserole for dinner which was very tasty, I wish we had it back in Australia.I bought a yellow fleece with Kruger National park on it as my usual jumper had mud on it and didn't smell that great (I put it in the washing the next day) and we were going on a game drive early the next morning and were told it would be freezing.I slept so well that night and was so cosy I really didn't want to get up the next day.
Sunday we were up at 5am for breakfast to leave at 7am for our game drive in Kruger National Park.Our vehicles were open air, which means there were no solid doors or windows so we were exposed to the elements.Luckily they provided blankets which I definitely needed as I was absolutely freezing.We all looked like such dorks all bundled up with these crazy beanies on our heads and wrapped in blankets.The day wasn't that exciting as we didn't see much we hadn't seen before.We saw some kudus which are the second largest antelopes, some springboks which are tiny little antelopes and a rhino from a distance.Unfortunately we didn't see a rhino up close but seeing one at all means we had seen the big five - elephant, leopard, lion, buffalo and rhino.We also saw some hornbill birds which is the bird that Zazu in the Lion King is.By the end of the day we had a new name for some animals, Nafi, which means Not Another Fing Impala.That day we had interesting game meat both for lunch and dinner.We had giraffe sausages for lunch which tasted like a mixture of pork and beef, and we had buffalo kebabs for dinner, very very tasty.That night was a big drinking night as it was our second last night all together.I got some very cool photos.There were a couple of scandals going on that night but I won't get into that because none of you know the people involved.It was a really good night, I had so much fun even if I did wake up the next morning with a wine headache.
Monday we got to sleep in until 8am, fantastic!At 9am we headed to the Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre for wildlife.They do some really fantastic work there.They rescue some animals and look after them at the centre, in an aim to release them into the wild eventually.Unfortunately some can never be released as they wouldn't survive.An example of this is if an eagle was taken in as a cub and raised around humans it would believe it was a human and not an eagle.Eagles mate for life and one of the ones they rescued has chosen the manager of the centre as its mate and as such can never be released as it is a danger to other birds, humans and itself.The same thing happens with lions.One of the ones in the park has chosen the manager as its mate and as such will defend him against anything and anyone and is very very dangerous.We saw lots of bird species, in particular vultures.I even got to feed a vulture - it landed on my arm to grab the meat out of my hand.I have this really funny picture of me cringing as this massive bird landed on me.We saw several lions, an overweight leopard (he's on a diet), a couple of cheetahs, a honey badger (I have a funny story about him) and a baby rhino.The rhino was so cute however he could easily throw me across the room, even though he comes up no higher than my hips.The guide was telling us badgers are extremely resourceful and they can find any way of getting out of their cage.This one particular badger has pushed all kinds of things against the side and climbed his way out, so cute.They are manic animals they just run around and around and around, crazy little things.For lunch we stopped at this restaurant and had impala pie which was so nice, I've loved all the game meat we've had so far.That afternoon we went on a game drive in Thornybush which is a private game reserve right near our campsite.We left at 4pm and headed into the park.Again it wasn't a very exciting drive (apparently we had been extremely lucky in East Africa and as such expected the same level at other parks) but we saw some elephants (which blocked the path so we had to reverse out), drove through a herd of buffalo in the dark (a little scary) and a leopard with 2 cubs.Sadly the leopards were quite far back in the bush as they had killed an impala and were eating it, but it was still cool to see.That night we had apricot chicken for dinner which wasn't that exotic but really nice all the same.We went to bed relatively early that night too as the next day was another long drive.
Tuesday we left early to head to Jo'berg.Before we left we had to do an inventory of the truck to make sure nothing was missing, luckily nothing major was.We had a picnic lunch along the way and arrived late in the afternoon.We dropped some people, Shyam, Mark, Steve and Bevan, at the airport and then got stuck in a traffic jam on the way to the Backpackers Ritz.It took us about 2 hours to take a normal 45 minute trip which sucked but we played some games to pass the time.Once we reached the hotel we said goodbye to Jane, Katherine and Gary, and headed inside to check in.We ordered pizza for dinner and watched Kill Bill 2 before bed.We said goodbye to Claire that night as she was leaving early the following day for the airport.I slept in a dorm which wasn't too bad, the bathrooms are a bit dodgy though.
Today we slept in a bit and then headed to a shopping centre not far from the hostel.I packed my bag before we left and it is huge!I have bought way too many souvenirs they take up pretty well my whole bag, I'm hoping it's not too overweight.At 3.30pm we said goodbye to Kathryn, Danni and Elisse and I'm leaving for the airport at 6pm.My flight isn't until 11.30pm but 6pm is the last transfer they do.Oh well, I can do some more shopping, lol.
Ok, gotta go, I'll email again when I get to Singapore on Friday.Love you all, I'll be home soon, Sarah