After a few days in Pretoria, we headed north to a private game reserve that is open to the Kruger National Park. To get there, we took this:
A Beech 1900. I think it's like what Teller flies ( http://www.journeyinflight.blogspot.com/). It was pretty cool. We were hoping for a Caravan... but this was still cool. JIA was completely socked in the morning of our departure (as you can see in the picture above). We were pretty glad when the weather cleared enough to take off. The cool thing about flying here... no closed cockpit rule! So you can see everything the pilots are doing. And they did a great shortfield landing into Skukuza (and a nice shortfield take off, too!).
The game reserve was pretty awesome. We went to a place called Lion Sands. For those who have never been to one, basically, you get up really early (like around 5-- not my typical idea of a good vacation!) in the morning to go on "game drives" where you look for different animals. You stop after a few hours and have some tea and coffee. Then when you get back around 9am, you get a big breakfast. After a few hours of relaxing in your room, by the pool, or at the river side bar (where you can see things like monkeys, buffalo, hippos, etc.), you have lunch. Then another nap and tea. Then you leave for afternoon game drive... stop for sundowners half way through, and then return for a full, gourmet dinner around 8:30. As you can tell, it's a lot of eating, relaxing, and seeing some really cool animals!
Our tracker, Ray, is taunting the buffalo behind him!
Stopping for sundowners! Note the landrover in the background. Those are our "wheels"!
Hungry, hungry hippos!
Lots of elephants!
Great view of a hyena.
We had a special "treehouse" breakfast one morning.
Lion Sands had lots of lions.
And lots of leopards!
We went to Boulders Beach... where the penguins hang out!
Husband went on a helicopter ride after I left to come back to the states. he got some really nice pics of the helicopter-- and from the helicopter.Oh-- and one last flying thing. We flew over on South African Airways on an A-340. Definitely a step up in comfort from their old 747s. The in-flight entertainment was really great-- especially for the 16 hour flight (non-stop) over from IAD to JIA. The return trip is even crazier-- 18 hours... but JIA is at a high enough elevation that they can't take on enough fuel to go non-stop, so there's a stopover in Dakar. Actually, the agent told me that they always do the IAD-JIA flight with empty seats because otherwise, they have to stop for fuel. Of course, she went into great detail. I tried to tell her I understood weight and balance... but she didn't get it.