Fed up of long drives we set off on our long drive to South Africa… my word the differences between the two countries is remarkable but also instant… across the boarder we hit professionally laid tarmac, saw real pavements and even a computer at customs (not just a big filing cabinet!) We still managed to find dodgy roads though but where we finished up was all worth it… Bushman's camp just outside of Kruger was like an Oasis of organised calm and luxury, slap bang in the middle of the desert. We all upgraded for free from the tents into chalets and boy was it nice to lose the sleeping bags. We set off straight away for a night drive in the nearby private game park - Thorny Bush. We saw cheetah cubs and a rhino with her calf - brilliant. The rhinos actually nearly charged us as the driver got too close and stuck in a dead end but we made it our alive and enjoyed some sundowners by the car in the middle of the park with the animals eating us (mosquitoes not cheetahs). Back at camp we enjoyed the meal cooked for us (luxury!) and set about making the most of the hammocks hanging chairs and jeep parked in the small bar.
A 5am get up (disgraceful!) in order to get to Kruger early was first on the agenda. We spent all day on a long game drive stopping off for lunch prepared by the driver who even pulled a piny out of the hamper… we were being spoilt in SA! Kruger is bizarre… tarmac roads, families driving around in estate cars and a hotel in the middle with a pool… not quite the dirt tracks and villages of the Masai Mara, but we enjoyed it and the pool all the same. And then the illusive Leopard showed its face… thirty three days in waiting! It was only for seconds whilst it crossed the road but it still counts! That and the buffalo, elephants and the buffalo meant that we'd seen the big 5 in 24 hours so we left happy. Back at Bushman's we enjoyed the last day of luxury, ate and drank and enjoyed one of the most spectacular lightening storms we've seen. Marc the local land owner, offered us a drive up to his new resort being built to see the progress, but two things stopped us…. His rally driving back ground combined with 6 beers and the fact that he's only just got out of jail for feeding a worker to the lions in his private game park… he made a mean Spring Bok shooter though. That night the local village children put on a dance for us where it was explained to us that in the solo bit each child was, as part of the war dance, demonstrating to us what they would do to an enemy tribesman if they fought them in war… suddenly the happy stamping and kneeing action looked far more threatening!
Trip finished we headed for Johannesburg. Once there we negotiated our way though the barbed wire double fence and settled in for the nigh at the Ritz… alright, alright… the Backpackers Ritz, having been told NOT to venture out of the grounds after dark or without a guard… lovely Jo'burg. Pizza take away and the first half of the Liverpool champions league game and we hit the sack. November 5th No fireworks for us, just 15 hours of flying! We started the day with a huge breakfast having had Paul escort us into town. With that and the post office experience over we sad our goodbyes and headed for the airport.