Fly to Johannesburg. Board your coach for your journey to the Thorneybush Game Reserve, which is home of the ‘Big Five’ and a variety of other African Wildlife species. Included this evening dine at the lodge whilst enjoying the views of the surrounding African bushveld. FB L HD
Situated on a plateau at an altitude of 1,800m, Johannesburg is Southern Africa’s commercial and economic metropolis, and the focal point of what is certainly the largest urban conglomeration in Africa. Yet, by the standards of European cities, Johannesburg is barely out of its infancy, found on an otherwise unremarkable tract of grassland in 1886, when a George Harrison found a hug nugget of gold and triggered off a rush that attracted thousands of hopeful prospectors.
How the day turned out
Today started with things NOT starting. We load into the bus at 5:30am to be transferred to the airport for our flight to Johannesburg, and the bus refuses to start. I think the driver is a ‘touch’ embarrassed, but we do make it to the airport early enough to catch our flight. On our arrival at Johannesburg, the stairs will not ‘park’ properly beside the aircraft; and it is raining, so another set is located for us to use. We wait for ‘an age’ in the baggage collection hall for the bags to ‘come around’ and the carousel refuses to move. We must have jinxed everything in the one-day. This has meant that our whole day is peppered with delays.
We travel 500km in a MegaCoach towards Thorneybush, a private game reserve in the well know Krueger Wildlife Park region. Lunch is taken in a little town at Rose Cottage. We pass down from a high elevation through gorges, towards the east coast. There is a short 15-minute section on gravel road to the reserve entrance about an hour later than expected.
Here, our wildlife adventure begins. 5 or 6 open four-wheel-drive vehicles are ready to take us on a safari en route to the accommodation lodge. We don’t all travel together and so some spot a giraffe, others a deer with a ‘white toilet seat’ mark on its butt (water buck). Nightfall is approaching and so is a ‘whiz-bang’ African electrical storm with sheers of lightening exploding even before our eyes. Just as full darkness comes, we all get to view three lions lazing after devouring a ‘kill’. When lions get a meal, they tend to absolutely gorge themselves to a state where they cannot move and so a rest is take until they can gorge some more. And then the rain starts. Our driver gets confused with all the trails around and we head down the track only to do a U-turn in order to get us to the Lodge; thoroughly soaked.
After instructions on ‘behavior in wildlife locations, we are escorted to our separate villas in the bush. Wow! Livingstone never had anything like this. The plush villa is very comfortable and roomy with a ‘wildlife view to kill’. We need to be accompanied by an escort, as wildlife is free to roam around the accommodation reserve – and we don’t want to use our travel insurance claim forms.
Ladies who hang handbags on toilet rolls should be thankful that the person to follow them into the cubicle is known to them.
Wildlife Game Reserves often have ‘different’ facilities and arriving in the dark can have its problems until the morning when those problems are de-mistified. From the bathrooms, one looks out onto an area where animals frequent – there are NO curtains. One person (unnamed, of course) thought it best to turn off the bathroom lights was a good idea in case the animals could see her in the shower.