Tuesday 2nd June-
On Friday we got up at 2.30am and got a shuttle bus to the airport. We had about a 3 hour flight to Sydney, a 2-3 hour break, and then a 14 hour flight to Johannesburg. The flights went smoothly and on the first one we had lots of leg room, but the second one was very long and a bit more cramped, but we watched a lot of films and tv. We arrived in Jo'burg at about 4pm, but it was 9 hours behind New Zealand so we were very tired and jet-lagged. The airport wasn't as scary as we'd expected from reading the travel literature. We were picked up by a man from our hostel along with another couple. It took about 40 minutes to get to our hostel and we passed some interesting sights including a big shanty town. We pretty much went straight to bed after having a shower as we were so tired.
We got up at about 4.30am the next day as we were leaving for our safari at 5. We were picked up by our 2 tour guides from Acacia in a mini-bus. We expected to be in a group of people but there was just us 2. We drove for several hours, having a few rest stops, and eventually got to an endangered species place, specialising in cheetah rehabilitation. We watched a short video about the history of the place and then we got into open-top vehicles for a tour around. There was a zebra there who had been adopted by a sheep, and some lions and a tiger that had been rescued from a circus. The cheetahs were all in big cages and we saw some of them being fed. We went in the wild dog enclosure and there were also some vultures in there, waiting for some leftovers. Our guide was very informative.
After that we drove to our camp and we had the afternoon to relax. Our little rondawel (what we stayed in) was very cool. We went for a short walk around to look for some animals, but we didn't see any apart from some warthogs. We fell asleep for the rest of the day. Later we went for dinner with our 2 guides at the hostels restaurant, the food was really nice.
We were up again at 5am the next morning. We were met by a different guide (Andrew) and he drove us to Kruger Park. We drove around the park until 3pm, with a few meal breaks and things. It was really amazing. We were very excited to see our first zebras and giraffes- by the end we were used to them! We saw loads of antelope things- Impalas, Kudus and waterbucks. Near the start we saw a pack of 5 lions eating by the side of the road, which was amazing to see so close up. We also saw some elephants, buffaloes, hippos (but only in the water), crocodiles, warthogs, ostriches, monkeys, baboons and some birds. It was such a good day. We drove down to our campsite in the south of the park- we have to stay in little tents with animals roaming around and monkeys stealing our food. The guides cooked dinner for us and we ate it around the campfire.
On Monday we set off early again for the park gate opening time of 6am. All 5 of us went this time (3 guides and us 2). It was really cold in the morning in the open top vehicle so we had to take a sleeping bag to wrap ourselves up in. We drove on some of the dirt tracks this time rather than the tarmac ones. They allowed us to get further into the bush, but they were very bumpy and the whole of the van, including us, got covered in dust. The day started well and we saw a few groups of rhinos. We also glimpsed the back of a Carocal, and apparently they are very rare to see. The day became very hot and we didn't see many more animals. We saw some herds of elephants, a couple of lions that were far away, and more of the hoofed animals. We went back to the campsite for lunch and then headed back out again at 4pm. We drove around some different dirt tracks for a couple of hours. We didn't see very much apart from some elephants and rhinos. We got to a big rocked area and Andrew spotted a lioness on top of a big rock hill in the distance. He took some good photos for us through his binoculars. He tried calling to her and she eventually came down the hill, but we lost her in the tall grass. We got back to camp before sunset and they made us a very big and tasty BBQ. 2 of the guides could talk forever about stories of being a guide and they kept trying to out-do each other.
This morning we got up at 5am so the camping gear could be packed away. We had time for about an hours safari before Andrew had to take us to meet another bus that would take us back to Jo'burg. Typically, as we didn't have long, we saw a lot of awesome stuff. We went back to the lion place from the night before and the 2 lionesses were walking along the road. Andrew called to them and one of them eventually did a little roar back, which was so cool to hear! Later we saw a massive bull elephant walking down a road towards us. Further along we saw the best thing yet- a pack of about 11 lions were walking down the road right infront of us. They went into the long grass towards 2 rhinos. Apparently they would have tried to attack one, but were put off by the other rhino because it kept charging at them, so they just walked past.
Saturday 6th June-
After a final night in Jo'burg we flew down to Port Elizabeth, which took about an hour and a half. We got a taxi to our hostel. It's quite nice but small, but we have our own room out the back. There wasn't a lot to do there. We walked around a bit but it wasn't safe to go out at night really so after eating dinner we would just chill out in our room. We have sorted out our week leading up to Cape town as well. The weather was still quite warm although it rained a bit on the last day. Today we got the Baz Bus to Jeffreys Bay. Our room here over-looks the beach, which is very nice. It would be lovely to be here in the summer, but there is a bit of a cold wind about today.