1st May 2007
Safe arrival into Johannesburg South Africa. Only an hour ahead from the UK timewise so no jetlag etc. Picked up at airport and taken to 'The Backpackers Ritz'. Rooms very basic and cold. Flight took just over 10hrs, didnt get much sleep. Just walked around the mall outside of our camp, doesn't seem that much to do and feel very vulnerable. The girl at the desk on reception told us not to venture out into central Johannesburg on our own even in the day as it is so dangerous - rape and murder capital of the world!!
Money is quite difficult to work out also what with exchange rate and withdrawal charges. it works out something like 100 Rand is 7 pound. ish. chilling out for the rest of the day get my bearings! lol and maybe venture onto a half day trip to Soweto tomorrow.
2nd May 2007
Slobbed about this morning in the sun til 1.30pm which was our pick up tour for the half day trip to Soweto. There was 7 of us on the trip from the Ritz. We visited the 'Hector Pieterson' museum which was all about the Apartheird era, Blacks against Whites and Afrikaans against English controversy. Made me feel slightly embarrassed to be white. I noticed on the roads, many people stood between moving vehicles begging and selling things. Very bizarre. We visited the shanty towns and also what was Nelson Mandelas house. i bought a bracelet made from Warthog tusk 'apparently'. and paid R15.00 which works out just over a quid. The people are very friendly, kept calling me 'sister' and school children waved as we drove past. Soweto is a very poor town, and the people live in no more than a run down shack. So it was a real eye opener to see how other people in South Africa live. The weather here is very warm, but sunset is early, around 5.30/6ish and it gets quite cold at night.
4th May 2007
Too tired to write yesterday as it was a long day, we set off for Marc's Treehouse Camp at 9.30am and arrived at Tremisana Lodge at around 4pm ish, with a couple of stops. There were two other girls from Oxford (originally from Stoke-on-Trent!) called Kate and Laura, and another girl - Nicola from Cork, Ireland.Â When we arrived, we went on a sunset game drive where we saw giraffes, a small crocodile, jackal, and a huge elephant which mock charged us! it was very scary! i thought it was going to come charging at us!! After 2hours of that, we were then taken to the Treehouse Camp, very rustic, african feel, i was nervous as it was so open. Our toilet and shower was outside with no door or curtain!! But it was fine.
Â Today we got up at 7am for breakfast at half past. Drove 30 mins to Kruger Park although before we left, a herd of buffalo entered the camp and were very fierce. Was quite scary, as apparently they give no warning before a stampede! The animals we saw throughout the day were: buffalo, impala, wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, elephant, hippos, warthogs, and we saw two sets of 4 cheetahs!! which our ranger 'Marcelle' had not even seen before as there are only 200 Cheetahs in the whole of the park, and the park is the same size as Wales!!
5th May 2007
Really enjoyed today, up for breakfast at 7.30 which consisted of egg, mincemeat and sweetcorn! Bizarre!!! We headed to the 'Moholoholo Animal Rehabilitation Centre' where we saw lots of injured and orphaned animals and birds. we saw lions, cheetahs, leopards, hyenas, wild dogs, honey badgers and lots of birds including vultures! eww. we stood in the cage with them whilst they were fed. it was horrid, they were flapping all over the show, i hated it! So we got to see a lion called 'Big Boy' and he was massive! He was in with a lioness, and they were both orphans, been there their whole life. The best bit of the day is that we got to strokeÂ a cheetah! the fur was so soft, i expected it to be more bristly. in the afternoon we went on a game walk in the kruger! can u believe it! luckily we didnt see anything too close, but we saw rhino footsteps and s***. also we saw a giraffe skull and a bone. Hoping tonight isnt as noisy as last night, as we had monkeys scuttling about on our roof last night, and lots of big splashes in the stream below our hut!!
6th May 2007
Early morning for breakfast as usual and read for another full days game drive into Kruger with our tour guide for the day 'Bungani'. Almost as soon as we drove in we spotted 5 cheetahs, the mother was walking ahead of her 4 cubs but they were not small. she was teaching them how to hunt, and they sat and watched her. We saw a lone impala (type of antelope) close by and the mother started to stalk it, ducking and diving in the long grass. we sat and watched for a while - they were so close!! it was amazing! Hoping that we would see her sprint up to 70mph and catch her prey! but unfortunately, we couldn't stay there all day so had to leave and look for other things. So the morning started brilliantly! As after that we saw a leopard feasting on an impala carcass under a tree. That was fantastic! - Real nature, with a front seat view! But after lunch from 2.30-5pm we saw practically nothing. Just the usual wildebeest, warthog,zebra and impala (which the africans call 'the mcdonalds' cos they have an M on their bums!! hehe. So am a bit gutted that on our trip to South Africa we have not seenÂ aÂ lion or rhino in their natural environment! :( So back to the camp for dinner and in bed for half 8!! Early i know, but its so knackering! Lets hope tomorrow is more exciting!