African Safari 2010  Header

Gene & Lee's African Safari
South Africa - April 28 to May 24, 2010


Introduction to our African adventure!

April 28 - Edmonton to Calgary

April 29 - Calgary to Frankfurt

April 30 - Frankfurt to Jo'burg

May 01 - Jo'burg

May 02 - Jo'burg to Livingstone

May 03 - Victoria Falls, Zambia

May 04 - Livingstone to Jo'burg

May 05 - Jo'burg to Hazyview

May 06 - Kruger National Park

May 07 - Kruger National Park

May 08 - Kruger to Pongola

May 09 - Pongola to Durban

May 10 - Durban to Cape Town

May 11 - Cape Town to Gordon's Bay

May 12 - Gordon's Bay / Gansbaai

May 13 - Gordon's Bay / Stellenbosch

May 14 - Cape Town to Jo'burg

May 15 - Jo'burg to Lephalale

May 16 - First day of hunting safari

May 17 - Second day of hunting safari

May 18 - Third day of hunting safari

May 19 - Fourth day of hunting safari

May 20 - Fifth day of hunting safari

May 21 - Sixth day of hunting safari

May 22 - Seventh day of hunting safari

May 23 - Jo'burg to Frankfurt

May 24 - Frankfurt to Calgary


Thursday, April 29th - Calgary to Frankfurt

I couldn't figure out how to answer the phone, (too high-tech for me I guess) so our 6:00 a.m. wakeup call went on for about 10 minutes. I finally did figure it out though, then into the shower to get ready for the first of two travel days that we'd have to endure before arriving in South Africa.

At 7 a.m. we went down to Pacini's, the hotel's restaurant. Evidently they are known for their famous Bread Bar which consisted of five trays of Gustazzi breads which are all made with olive oil, a gas grill to toast your slices on, a bucket of butter and a selection of jams and jellies. Lee and I got there first and were seated. The first thing the waitress asked was whether we had our complimentary breakfast coupons which we should have received as we were guests of the hotel. Back to the desk for the $8 per person coupon which were distributed to celebrate the second day of the grand opening of the restaurant for breakfast. While I was there, Harold and Wendy were just getting off the elevator to join us so I put them onto the coupons as well.

Then it was back to Pacini's where the four of us had an excellent breakfast of fresh squeezed orange juice, an omelette for me, Eggs Benedict for Wend and eggs, bacon and sausages for Lee and Harold. The service was excellent and we had a great meal. When we were done, Harold magnanimously and generously offered to pick up the tab. Grinning, he did the deed and when pressured later, told us the whole bill came to $7 after they applied the coupons. What a generous guy that Harold!

After breakfast it was back to the room for some final packing and checkout at 9:15 a.m. One of the main reasons we stayed at the Acclaim was that they included two weeks complimentary parking with a one night stay and were going to charge us $8 a day for the remaining eleven days. Parking alone in the Park n' Ride lot was going to be over $200. My bill came and was $160, the cost of the room alone. Harold's bill came in at $230 which was $70 over the room charge to cover off his additional parking. I never said a word, loaded our luggage onto the airport shuttle and boarded hoping our MKX won't be ticketed and towed when we arrive back in 3 ½ weeks.

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We arrived at the airport at 9:45 a.m. The wind was still blowing mightily, but the snow was starting to let up a bit. It didn't really matter to us because we had arrived! After offloading our luggage off the shuttle we humped it 50 yards to the Lufthansa check-in. We walked right up to the nearest Lufthansa ticketing agent as there was no line up at all.

So, there we were with our six suitcases and an oversize aluminum two-gun gun case. The agent started out by telling us it would be an additional $50 each for two suitcases as we were over our allowance of one suitcase apiece. And he hadn't even gotten to telling us about the $250 charge we were told we'd have to pay to transport our rifles. However, everything started to improve dramatically when Wendy mentioned we were each allowed two suitcases as we had purchased our tickets prior to January 1st. Our agent was able to confirm that on the computer.

From there it just got better and better. Not only did our new best friend the ticket guy not charge us for extra bags, he didn't surcharge us for the gun case either. As well, he put all of our luggage under the Nikolaj's so he could check all of our luggage straight through to Johannesburg. Lee and I weren't supposed to be able to do that because I had bought our airline tickets through the individual airlines we were flying with.

Boarding passes were generated, luggage was tagged and put on the conveyor and the paperwork was completed for transporting our firearms. Then it was over to the over-sized luggage check-in, put the rifle case through x-ray and on to security. No problem or undue delays there other than an overzealous agent spent several minutes totally tearing apart my carry-on. When it was all said and done, from arrival to the airport to sitting down on the friendly side of security took about 30 minutes.

With three hours to kill, we just relaxed in the boarding lounge and watched the world go by. Time passed quickly, the weather started to clear and we got our boarding call only a ½ hour late. Not bad when you consider they had still been cancelling flights two hours earlier.

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It was onto the Lufthansa Airbus A320 at 1:15 p.m. and into the air by 1:45. Our seats were 20A&C with Harold and Wendy right behind in 21A&C. For movies, I watched Sherlock Holmes and Lee watched Avatar (on a 6 inch screen?!!?!). The beverage cart was complimentary and came through often. If not, you just had to ask. We had a couple of wines with our chicken dinners and a couple of brandies after.

Our 9 hour flight was comfortable enough and seemed to go by fairly quick even though Lee and I decided not to sleep. A hot breakfast was served seven hours into the flight and filled in the time nicely for the last two hours before landing. The two meal services and the service the cabin crew provided were excellent. And, our aircraft pulled into the Frankfurt terminal at 6:50 a.m., just 20 minutes late.

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