Southern Africa, 2 weeks, 10 passport stamps!!

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Jun 17th, 2016, 06:50 AM
  #21
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Love your report! It encourages me to write mine...I'm just about done making up my videos of photos and video clips, so I'm probably ready to post. I thought about your residential hunting while we drove around KZN. I could see possibilities and hey, go for it!
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Jul 7th, 2016, 05:51 AM
  #22
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
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Hey -- where is the rest of your report? You left us hanging? Would love to hear more and hope that the rest of the trip was enjoyable for you.
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Jul 18th, 2016, 10:30 AM
  #23
 
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Thanks for posting!
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Sep 17th, 2016, 11:35 PM
  #24
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Oops. Got sidetracked and forgot to finish! And my happy place!!

So the next morning after our fun real estate shopping, we waved goodbye to the Indian Ocean. It's gorgeous, warm and makes me want to stay forever, but safari calls! We make the familiar drive north to Rhino River Lodge in Zululand Rhino Reserve. We enter the gate and surprisingly see no wildlife on the drive to the lodge. Bad omen, I guess.

We check into our very comfortable cabin. Our room is upstairs, bath downstairs, big lounge area, second bedroom and kitchen area with fridge. Everything is remodeled, air conditioning added and comfy. The outdoor space is nice, no view but private. We say hi to everyone and meet the new rangers and staff. Unfortunately Dale, the owner/manager is on vacation and he's the bush walk ranger!! No walks for us. Bummer.

It's a pretty uneventful visit. Our ranger is brand new and had some trouble finding roads and locations. It was fine, but did we miss a lot of wildlife because he was so new and looked at maps more than his surroundings? Who knows. Lots of giraffe, ostrich and general game. The tiny lion cubs we saw two years ago are old enough to start their own families, the rhino we chipped was nowhere to be found, the breeding herd of elephants found us and we got stuck in the dry riverbed.

The Zululand Rhino Reserve welcomed wild dog puppies around the time we visited. I'm thrilled by their arrival, but so bummed out they were doing the right thing and off limits to guests. Yay! Congratulations to Wilflife ACT and ZRR. Wild dogs are not easy and after a few losses, great to hear the pack is growing. Haven't heard any follow up. Holding thumbs that they are doing well.

All of the private reserves in KwaZulu Natal gave taken the aggressive action of removing the horns from all rhinos. All of them. It's so sad they needed to do it, but the poaching has reached an extreme level and all of the reserves did it around the same time. So awful and they look funny! Still gorgeous, but funny.

ZRR is not doing any off road. It is too dry, too fragile. They need to protect the flora. It's so dry they are feeding their wildlife, especially the rhinos. It's just a horrific drought and will take years to recover from once the rain starts in the summer (our winter). It's raining this weekend so hopefully they will get a tiny bit of temporary relief before the real rain comes.

On our final night drive as we returned to camp, an aardvark!! Yes, an aardvark! Holy crap! Nobody got a decent picture - it was pitch black and so quick. But we were with a couple who had been on at least 200 game drives and we've been on close to 100 and it was a first for all of us!! Woo Hoo!

So some disappointment, some great stuff. Kind of a punctuation on that kind of trip. It wasn't perfect, but I'm glad we went during a difficult time. We also know where we want to live.

Thanks for joining me on a difficult journey. I love S Africa and hope everyone can someday visit. Maybe I'll have an open house for my "Fodor's Friends" some day!
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Sep 17th, 2016, 11:58 PM
  #25
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t4kemeaway- I hope I'm not too late. I don't need visas (U.S. citizen) so I don't know the rules. I don't think you can get visas upon arrival - contact the embassies. Make sure you tell the car rental co you are crossing borders. You need the correct paperwork or can't go. We paid a fee for Botswana, not for Swaziland.

The roads are fine. Are you stopping or driving through? It's a long drive through so leave LS early.
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Sep 18th, 2016, 12:16 AM
  #26
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Oh, I forgot about our last say. We were going to stay in St Lucia for a night but I hate to rush back to JNB for the flight home so we drip one to jnb. Ugh! I hate that drive, it's ugly. We have to drive through the industrial heart of S Africa and it's awful. Road signs have fog warnings. Fog my a$$. It's coal burning plants. It's fine - we had our years of that stuff but don't lie - it's not fog. But the drive is easy. We got stopped by traffic patrols entering different provinces but when they heard our accents and saw the car rental sticker on the windscreen they let us pass. But they were stopping all of the vehicles so there were very long delays.

We arrived at the Southern Sun just outside the airport, had dinner and early to bed. The next day we decided to visit the Apartheid Museum. So well done! Excellent. Do it if you can. We took about four hours and could have taken longer. Then read the history of Jim Crow.

We made our flight no problem - but some day we will remember we can't check in early..... The layover in LHR was too short - we almost missed our flight. You have to go through security again (stupid) and due to some health things it can take me a long time. I was lucky (or just too tired to care) and after cutting every line we could and dealing with some unpleasantness, we made it. Good thing. We got upgraded to economy plus. It's like flying 20 years ago. A little extra room, a little nicer service... Made it home, picked up the dog and slept.
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Sep 18th, 2016, 04:18 PM
  #27
 
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Sep 21st, 2016, 12:42 PM
  #28
 
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Thank you for finishing your trip report! I was starting to wonder where you went! So glad to realize that you had a great ending to your trip. Thanks for sharing. Keep us posted on your home in SA. I will be back in our favorite country in November!
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Sep 21st, 2016, 10:07 PM
  #29
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Lola - thanks. Where are you going in our favorite country?
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