Day 16 – Completing Walking Safari and Return to Johannesburg

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Travel / Africa, World Travel / Day 16 – Completing Walking Safari and Return to Johannesburg

During dinner last night, we made a decision to wake up at the normal time to head out on our last walking safari. So right at 4:30 AM, our wake up call came to rouse us from our slumber. After the usual oral hygiene care and change of clothes, we headed out. Right off the […]

Filed Under: Africa, World Travel by admin November 22, 2010, 10:07 pm

During dinner last night, we made a decision to wake up at the normal time to head out on our last walking safari. So right at 4:30 AM, our wake up call came to rouse us from our slumber. After the usual oral hygiene care and change of clothes, we headed out.

Right off the bat, I was really happy that I voted to have this hike at the same time. Today was the first day in which we were able to witness a sunrise. Each previous morning had greeted us with overcast clouds that didn’t burn off until the sun was high in the sky. Not that it was a bad thing; the clouds kept us cool and made the hiking much more tolerable in the dry environment. Having said that, the opportunity to see the morning sky light up in a kaleidoscope of colors under the African sky is well worth a little bit of additional heat.

Sunrise In Kruger National Park

The hike itself was pleasant. Interestingly, we didn’t come across any large animals this morning. Most of the trip was looking at flora and smaller animals such as lizards and birds that we came across. Brian and Phil continued to give us a good overview of the various habits of the local wildlife.

Since we needed to pack up camp and leave after lunch, the hike was shorter than the previous days and we were back in Tusker camp before 10:30. Prior to our last meal, we packed up and cleaned out our tent and packed everything into the jeep that would take us back to headquarters. I spent about 20 minutes with Phil going over all of the pictures I took over the past few days so that I could take notes on the plants and animals that we encountered. Otherwise, it would be a pain to try to remember all of this stuff after getting back home. A few snapshots of the various accommodations just after lunch would be the last pictures in this incredibly pristine African bush and then we jumped back onto the Land Rover and made the hour journey back to civilization.

Toilet Area in Tusker Camp

Shower Facilities at Tusker Camp

Back at the Transfrontiers main headquarters, we unloaded our packs and waited around for our driver to pick us up. Before making the 6 hour journey, we also picked up the same group of travelers who had accompanied us on the journey here. They were in a different private reserve but seemed to have just a great a time as we did in ours. We made a couple of quick stops in the northern Drakensberg mountains to take some shots, but it was nothing really worth writing home about.

On the way back, we also made the decision to get off in Johannesburg rather than return to Pretoria. There was a youth hostel very close to the International Airport there and since we would be renting a car for the rest of our trip, it made logistical sense. So, we had the driver drop us off at the Shoestrings Airport Lodge, which is almost within walking distance of the airport. The proprietor of the hostel, Rob, was a very nice guy and can give free rides to the airport. The hostel itself was not bad, but is a little run down. However, for an overnight stay, it is a good option.

I did need to take advantage of Rob’s generosity and took a trip to the airport to secure a rental car. Despite having made some initial calls when we were in Pretoria, there were almost no cars available at all to rent. So, I finally had to splurge a little more for an economy car from Avis for a one day rental all the way to Cape Town. After securing the vehicle for the following day, I returned to the hostel and then walked to a nearby restaurant inside the four star Protea Hotel OR Tambo. The O.R. stands for Oliver Reginald Tambo, who was an Anti-Apartheid politician and served in the African National Congress until his death from heart complications in 1993.

Returning back to the hostel, we checked our emails and watched some South African TV for a while before turning in. The next day would begin the final week of our trip.

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I've always felt that a life full of experiences is far more valuable than a life full of material goods. I have yet to come out of one of these experiences poorer than when I first went into it.

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