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


Saturday, May 8th - Kruger to Pongola

We were all awake at 5 a.m. and on the road by 6:15. Our mission this morning was to try a drive till 7:30 or so in a last ditch attempt to locate lions in the daytime. Within five minutes of leaving Berg-En-Dal we were on to giraffes nice and close to the road. After a short photo shoot, we continued down the road again towards the loop Andre wanted to try.

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However, as we were approaching our turn Andre noticed a line up of cars stopped on one corner. He thought it might be lions so he pulled into the fray. Sure enough, fifty yards into a clearing were two mature male lions lounging after what was probably a long had night chasing down game and providing for their families. Magnificent! Took our pictures and were heading south towards the Swaziland border before 7:30.

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As we crossed the Crocodile River, which forms the southern boundary of Kruger Park I got a great shot of a Nile crocodile and a couple of Egyptian geese down on a mud bank below the bridge.

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We crossed the border into Swaziland for our traverse back thru to South Africa shortly after 8 o'clock with no problems or issues. Swaziland is a rather hilly almost mountainous country. And you get a sense that the Swazis are quite hospitable and accommodating. As well, it is the only country in Africa that is an absolute monarchy with a king who exercises total power over the land and its subject peoples. The roads were in quite good repair and are used equally by people walking, cows and goats grazing alongside & frequently crossing and by vehicles.

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After passing thru the town of Pigg's Peak on Highway 1, we took a short side trip over the Maguga Dam. The Maguga Dam is a dam on the Komati River in Swaziland that is 115 metre's high and is located 11 kilometres south of Piggs Peak. From there it was down to the Ngwenya Glass Factory at Motshane where we joined Highway 3 east thru the capital of Mbabane. We stopped for breakfast at the glass factory. Lee and I made a couple of small purchases, after which it was back into the van to continue on.

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Once we passed thru the capital city we continued travelling though the kingdom of Swaziland. We continued on to Manzini, the largest town in Swaziland, and ran into a one-feather Swazi prince in the lineup at the Pick n Pay. The red feather is a symbol of a royal and his Majesty the King wears three red feathers as a crown. Princes wear up to three, normally on the side of the head.

There was also a bar named Quatermain's, named after Allan Quatermain of King Solomon's Mines fame. A novel published in 1885, King Solomon's Mines tells of a search of an unexplored region of Africa by a group of adventurers led by Allan Quatermain for the missing brother of one of the party. The twin mountain peaks, Sheba's Breasts, were supposedly the site of the mine and are visible just east of Mbabane here in Swaziland.

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From there we turned onto Highway 8 that takes you down to the southern border. Along the way there was lots of timber, sugar cane, banana plantations and pineapple farms. We arrived at the southern border town Golela at around 3 p.m. Again, the border crossing was painless. Stamp the passports and we were through.

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Our destination for tonight was the Nkwazi Lodge in the Pongola Game Preserve in northern KwaZulu Natal province of South Africa. Our turn off the highway wasn't far from the border crossing. From the turn it was supposed to be a 20 minute drive on a gravel road, which took us 45 minutes because of all the game sightings along the way.

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We saw numerous impala, kudu, nyala, warthog, as well as 40 or more elephant in the distance on the shore of Lake Jozini which is formed by the Pongolapoort Dam. There were also lots of helmeted guineafowl, lilac-breasted rollers, marabou storks, white-backed Vultures and a few crested francolin.

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We finally arrived at the lodge at 4 p.m., the exact time that Wendy had requested we arrive at when we were discussing travel plans yesterday. The check-in was really pleasant. Prior to being shown to our thatched chalets we were given a bit of a tour. Now, this is the type of accommodation you think of when you think of travelling through Africa.

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While we were taking a little downtime prior to supper, Lee and I made the acquaintance of a lovely warthog who came to visit and said hello to a mother nyala and her fawn outside the door of our chalet.

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Lee showered and went over to the lounge at 6 p.m. I caught up on my notes, showered and joined our group a half an hour later for a drink before dinner.

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Dinner was ready at 7 in the dining room but before we could eat, one of the waiters performed a Zulu dance of some sort. Dinner was a set menu which started with homemade bread, a green pea soup, garden salad and carrot coleslaw. The hot dishes were maize and sauce, broccoli, potato wedges, carrots along with barbequed chicken, steak and kudu link sausage. We finished up with a kind of a fudge cake square by around 8:30.

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Afterwards, everyone was rather tired so it was off to bed early again.

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