Saturday morning we drove up to DC and left my car with my brother. We flew out of Dulles via South African Airlines to Johannesburg. The flight made one stop to refuel in Dakar in which everyone stayed on the plane. The flight was 17 hours going, 21 hour return trip and I think my legs are still cramping from it. Nothing like 17 hours on a plane to make you ridiculously grateful to own a mattress. They served us 3 meals, which were pretty tasty. Aaron and I both agree that the meals headed to South Africa were 5x better than the meals we were served on the way back and I don't think it was just our enthusiasm that caused the taste difference. These people are probably all about welcoming you to their country and then couldn't care less when you head out. :)
We arrived in Johannesburg around 6pm, collected our bags and went straight to the hotel. We had heard mixed reviews about the safety in Joburg and we were way too tired to find out for ourselves so we stayed in for dinner at hotel. We stayed at the Protea OR Tambo which was a swanky, modernized hotel that was reminded us of the Aloft chains in the US.
The bartender served us Castle, which is a popular South African beer
Not mashed potatoes - our first South African food - pap! which is a porridge made out of miele-meal/maize
Then we finally arrived! We stayed at Naledi Game Lodge which is on Bulule Nature Reserve, a large animal reserve that connects to Krugar National Park. The animals roam freely between the two. There are a several safari lodges on the grounds, so sometimes on our drives we would run into other groups.
Picked up at the gate, then hopped into the land cruiser
Welcome to Naledi
the green pool :-)
View from below the deck
Our room (secret - we received a complimentary upgrade)
our outside deck
5:00am knock on the door to wake you up
5:30am safari time! this trip would last 3-4 hours, with a snack break in the middle
--free time - go on a nature walk with a guide, go back to bed, or lounge by the pool --
4:30pm safari time! another 3-4 hour ride + snack
10:00 bed usually or drinks at the bar
The first day we arrived just before lunch and immediately jumped into the routine. I'll share pictures from the game rides with you tomorrow! Zebras, lions, elephants and rhinos!!!
One of my favorite meals at Naledi - ostrich meatballs for lunch :-) they were delicious!