A Travellerspoint blog

3. One, Two, Three; That's How Easy It's Gonna Be

bounce and jostle but no complaints

Hoedspruit South Africa, Limpopo, South Africa
Tuesday, August 4, 2015

After dinner last night with Peggy and Tim, brainy physicists that we met at Maritime, it was off to bed for a short night's sleep and continental breakfast with Brenda and Conrad before being picked up by Gino and taken to Joburg's Tambo International Airport to hop our short flight to Hoedspruit.

ba987ad0-2e83-11ea-84f1-4977775f689e.jpg

Beryl's nail scissors have traveled with her on countless domestic and international trips but they were confiscated here. Go figure. Our Priorty Pass memberships got us entry into the fancy Bidvest lounge where we caught up on email while awaiting our 12:30 flight. The South African Airways propellor Dash 8 was not particularly to B4's liking but off we went regardless. She slept most of the way. We're aboard a De Havilland Bombardier DHC-8 400 Series turboprop aircraft known as a "Dash 8" which seats 50 people. Our one hour South African Airways flight goes over the Blyde River Canyon which, we are told, is the third largest canyon in the world. I cannot verify that. The word “Blyde” means “glad” or “happy” in Dutch. The canyon got itsname in 1844 when “voortrekker” Hendrik Potgieter and his party showed up at their destination after their associates had thought them long dead. Everyone was, well, “blyde” to see them.

We arrive at Hoedspruit on time and are blyde to be there.

9903fbb0-2e83-11ea-bc21-85bdd49a24bd.jpg

Pieter picked us up at the Hoedspruit Airport, marched us past the guard monkeys outside and drove us to Billy's Lodge, past impala and elephant to our home for a bit. It's rustic and luxurious and exotic and wonderful. We had no sooner sat down for lunch when we were interrupted by elephants at the watering hole beneath our balcony observatory.

baa720d0-2e83-11ea-9018-7bbb3d5e3517.jpg

Quickly, we joined our fellow travelers for our first "game ride." We all piled into a rustic open viewing vehicle piloted by Joshua and off we bounced. A rare stork caught the eye of our driver who was animated as he remarked about its protected status. Soon, we came upon a mother and calf giraffe whereupon B4 literally shrieked with excitement. I was reminded of a time, years earlier, when my son did the same thing when we were on safari. When a person who is not easily impressed is impressed, well, it is a wonderful feeling.

On our drive, we bounced and jostled over rough tracks and saw impala, waterbuck, giraffe, warthogs, hippo, an eagle, and, ultimately, after night fell, lions; lots of lions. B4 was slightly afraid of being eaten while we watched the lions. The lioness alternately nursed and cleaned her six month old cubs. baa3ec80-2e83-11ea-9d92-3f7ed73f1262.jpg986830e0-2e83-11ea-9494-3b2a8d7c5c33.jpg99111b10-2e83-11ea-84f1-4977775f689e.jpg990c3910-2e83-11ea-9018-7bbb3d5e3517.jpg99007940-2e83-11ea-b3fb-ff417d552e0b.jpg98fcf6d0-2e83-11ea-9183-a182edc7dd45.jpg98694250-2e83-11ea-b4a3-9b4d3abf0dd3.jpg9867e2c0-2e83-11ea-91f7-771a7a54dcf9.jpg

The afternoon was sublime.

Back to Billy's we had only a few minutes before we were escorted back to the main lodge from our isolated suite. Joining our mates, we ate chicken and beef and vegetables and exotic desserts while enjoying fine South African Sauvignon Blancs. If you think only New Zealanders can make fine SB, take a look at what South Africa is producing. It is every bit as good.

After dinner, we were escorted back to our suite. Why escorted, you ask? Well, it is because we are in the wild. A few nights ago, a leopart entered the compound here. Elephants come in whenever they choose. And, who knows what else we might encounter? We are escorted.9903fbb0-2e83-11ea-a0be-f1e48ed396db.jpg99005230-2e83-11ea-af80-85adc53d04c2.jpg

We will be awakened tomorrow morning at 5:15 so we can join our group for a 5:30 game drive. We'll talk more about that tomorrow.

It was a very good day. Of the "Big Five" we saw three: elephant, giraffe and lion. That is, unless you subscribe to those who say the "Big Five" actually include the rhino rather than the giraffe. In that case, we saw two. The other two or three, cape buffalo, rhino and leopard, we'll go after tomorrow. We are happy. We are in the zoo and we are the ones caged--even if only in the seat of a vehicle. The animals range free, wherever they want to be or to go. It is magical.

Posted by paulej4 15:54 Archived in South Africa

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.

Login