Hello everyone sorry its been so long since I last wrote but we are now in Africa and as we are camping most nights internet is not very easy to come by. We have been here for 2 weeks now and have travelled down from Durban to Cape town where we are now via the Garden route. We flew in on Sarah's birthday and headed straight to out hostel in Durban, it was nice overlooking the beach but due to the safety issues in Africa we were unable to leave the hostel to even walk to the shops!!!We spent the rest of the day sunbating and having a few drinks before Jackie Sarah's friend picked us up the next day to go to her house. She lives in place called Hammersdale just out side of Durban at a stables where she works with 86 horses and 18 dogs 5 being hers. We spent most of our time there just chilling out and helping out with the horses. When Jackie could get away from work she took us to Nagel Dam which is also a Game Reserve where we saw our first taste of African wildlife in the means of Zebra's and their babies so sweet. On the way to the dam we had to drive through a location (African term for a township bascially) which was interesting and I swear I saw a dead man been carried down the road although Jackie says he was probably just drunk lol. We also got taken to Tala National Park where we saw Zebra's, giraffe's, Kudu's, Springbok's and Rhino's, as the park was quite small it was much easier to get really close to the animals. After all the excitement of being there we had to head back into Durban to start out first tour.
Our tour started in The Happy Hippo hostel which was very nice especially compared to Australian hostels, we had a traditonal meal of Bunnu Chow which is curry served in half a loaf od bread and some Indian dancers danced for us. It was an early night as we had an early start to make out way to our first stop Port St Johns. After 7 hours of driving we arrived in the late afternoon so we lazed around and had dinner by the camp fire and got to know our group a bit better. From here we headed towards to Khaya la Bantu which is a tradtional African Village were we where to stay for the night and learn about their culture. We got a welcome dance form the children and then learnt about the life of a women in the camp, how to crush maize and most importantly how to deal with a man when he says he loves you, asking the important questions to make sure of something goes wrong you know where to find him and waht his name is lol. We then had a tradiotnal dinner and more dancing and singing which i was made to join in with, with this so cute little girl. The leader Mama Tofu then gave us all a good luck present before we went to our beds on the floor in a mud hut - luxury!! The next day was another early start and another long days driving to make our way to Addo National Park which has the big 5 but if famous for its elephants. On our drive to the park we saw at least 100 elephants although grazing which apparently is very lucky as sometimes people dont manage to see any elephants at all while they are there! We arrived just after lunch and pitched our tents before having lunch and going on an afternoon safari. We didnt see much apart from more elephants and lots of Kudu's and not forgetting the dung beetles and tortoise's. We were up again early the next morning to go on another safari before leaving the part and heading to Tstikama National Park for 2 more nights of camping. On the way we stopped at thew worlds highest bungee jump all 216m of it for some of our group to jump, i was going to do it but i couldnt afford it haha. On our second day there we had the whole day to ourselves so we spent it topping up the tan and took a casual stroll to the suspension bridges they have over the gorge, all this while the rest of the group went on a whole day hike!!!! The next day took us towards Knysna where the town was safe enough for us the have a wander around before heading back to camp to have dinner and wine. On the way to Kynsna we stopped at a big cat centre called Tenikwa, where we went in the cages with African Wildcats, Caracal's, Servals' and the best bit being 1 foot away from 2 Cheetahs having a lie down and purring at us.
The next day we drove again to our next destination Outdshoorn vis the Kynsna Heads, we arrived at lunchtime had lunch set up our tents and then headed straight for the Ostrich farm. I did a tour here where u learn about the Ostrich's and get to cuddle them, have a massage and the best part get to ride them. I did this and was surprised how scared I was when I got on, you hold on to their wings and lean back then it runs so fast with 2 African men running behind you to catch you when you fall, a very funny but weird experience. The next morning was the last day of out trip and we were up at 5am to make our way to Cape Town where we were finally going to be able to stay in a hotel!! When we arrived it was a lovely clear day so we decided to go up Table Mountian whilst the view would be good, as it was the afternoon we got the cable car both ways so we had more time to spend at the top, plus it was so hot and we were too lazy to walk up. By the time we got up to the top the clouds had come over and there was a lot of cloud cover it was pretty cool just being above the clouds but it was clear over the harbour and the views where amazing. That night as it was our last night we had a group meal together at a traditional African restaurant with an African band playing to us all. Our tour ended the next morning but we had one more night in Cape Town so we spent the day wandering around the markets buying souvenirs and having a pick of lunch from the food markets. That night we went for a Thai meal with Alan and Sofie to people from our trip before having an early night as we had to get up very early for out flight to Livingstone in Zambia!!!
We finally arrived in Zambia after two flights and a stop off at Johannesburg airport, and the aiport in Zambia was awful we ended up being there for nearly 2 hours trying to get a visa we didnt know we needed so had no money to buy it with woops!!! We arrived at our accomodation for the night the Zambezi Waterfront Lodge which was very nice but we didnt have any money as the ATm's wouldnt accept mastercard so we sat by the river and read our books. In the morning we got up early and went to see Victoria Falls (the longest wat merfall in the world) and it was breathtaking, the sound of the water was so loud you couldnt hear the person next to you talking. It was a flying visit as we had to get back to camp to make our way over the border into Botswana.
The border control was one of the most surreal things i have ever seen, it was a small hut in a field of mud with 2 ferrys that cross the river. Once you have got your passport checked you stand in the mud and all push on the ferry which is held together by bailing twine and so lope sided one side is nearly submerged in the water which is also full of crocodiles. There is also one policeman manning the ferry to make sure people who arent meant to get on dont, we witnessed some women trying to get on when they shouldnt have and they proceeded to get wipped by the policeman until they got if the ferry. Once in Botswana we made our way to a place called Elephant Sands where we spent the rest of the day lazing in the sun and watching the cricket. That night we were cooked dinner by the owners of the campsite and after that we had drinks by the camp fire. We were told when we arrived there that at nights elephants can come through the campsite and that night we were not dissapointed as while we were by the fire a massive elephant came right up the watering hole for a drink no more than 10 metres from us and after 15 mins of putting on a little show for us he walked off right through the middle of our campsite. We carried on our travels through Botswana, the next night is rather clouded by large amounts of drink that we consumed with our tour guides and the bar manager 'Mad Mike'.
The following day we were travelling to cross the border back into South Africa it was a very long day made even longer by the fact that i was feeling very fragile from the night before. That night we made a stop and while the boys were cooking us dinner we went on a Rhino walk through a national park but unfortunately we didnt see any Rhino's. It was another early start the next day to make our way to Polowanke which was just outside of Kurger National Park, that evening i went on a 7k run with one of the girls from the trip and it nearly killed me but it was only to get worse the next day when i could hardly walk. The rest of the day was spent chilling at the campsite around the rockpool, waterfall and the lake before having a traditional South African meal and a dance from an African dance group.
It was an even earlier morning the next day having to get up at 4.30am to pack away the tent and be picked up at just gone 5am to go on an all day safari. The safari was in Kurger and was amazing we saw all the animals apart from Cheetah's and Leopards's. Elephants, giraffe's and Zebra's were all very close to the car at several points during the day. We even saw Nala and her cubs (lions) from Big Cat Diary the TV programme. We finished safari in the late afternoon and after a laze around the pool we all went out for a group meal as it was our last night together. We left again early in the morning to make our way to Johannesburg for our last stop of the trip. When we arrived at our accomodation it was a lovely guesthouse with a small game park attached, we spent the rest of the afternoon again just lazing about by the pool before ordering a takeout for the whole group which took 3 hours to arrive. When we woke up it signalled our last day in South Africa and also the last day of our whole 6 month trip. Our last day was spent at the Lion Park playing with lion cubs which was so amazing actually being able to sit and stroke and play with real lions even if one did bite hold of my arm. We had a small amount of time to have a few drinks with the girls from our group before making our way to the airport to catch our flight home!