130829 Johannesburg – Melbourne

The Plan

After breakfast bid farewell to your newfound friends before your transfer to Johnnesburg airport for your onward or homebound flight.  FB

How the day turned out

Today is quite a relaxed day to look at the many shops in the arcades around the hotel.  Shops can get boring for some, and they take up a spot in the piano room just ‘sitting’ and reminiscing about the past 3 weeks of total wonderment and enjoyment.  Our departure for the airport is 6:00pm and our flight out of Johannesburg is 10:05pm.  We have a layover in Perth of 4 hours before flying domestic to Melbourne.

There are so many highlights to this trip, from the time we arrived in South Africa until the moment we leave.  Each day when we were on safari, we had breathtaking moments.  The first night watching 3 lionesses so exhausted from eating, they kept falling over.  The next day, watching the cheetah devour the impala and the male lion waking up and giving us a roaring reception, were spine chilling.  The vibrations of the roars came through to the vehicles.  When the elephants crossed the river as one, I felt “we had witnessed a ‘sacred moment of awe’, always to be remembered.  Nature doing its own thing, guided by inbuilt wisdom and an attitude of care.”

Young and older giraffe were so graceful to watch.  Hippopotami were hard to get a full glimpse of, as they were often in watering holes but when they yawned, that was engulfing indeed.  Elephants coming toward you give you the feeling that you are being totally overpowered.  Once on the move, nothing can stop them. Seeing hyenas slink away, tell us that all types exist even in the animal kingdom.  Seeing two groups of four male lions in the first hour of one day, was spine tingling stuff too.

Although we did not see many gardens in our tour, the flowers were beautiful.  It is always hard to pick up birds in the bush, but those we stopped to photograph were exceptional.  We just wish that there were many more flamingos to view.  Their numbers were down due to high levels of salinity in the water.

There were many landscape vistas that will remain in our minds.  Great expanses with wild animals dotted across the plains.  The water flow over the Victoria Falls was down, but they still showed us the power there is in water.  Travelling from ‘The Ark’ to Lake Nakuru was hard work on the back and joints, but there was so much to see that did not resemble other parts of Kenya and Tanzania we had visited.

The hospitality in all countries was very well given and well received, although the check-in staff could learn how to speed up the process. There seemed to be an oversupply of waiters and waitresses ever willing to help.  The food was definitely oversupplied and some of us will wear it for a few more days before we get back to our daily regular exercise routine.  Our drivers were usually able to supply satisfactory answers to our questions and apart from one dangerous bit of passing another 4WD and a truck on a very dusty road, they drove hard but in the main, safely.

To make it all happen, Di, our Scenic Tours Director had everything all prepared and ready to go at each point within each day.  Thank you Di.

All in all, no one has given a negative view of the tour as a whole.  Yes, the roads were rough and long, but that is all forgotten now.  The animals and scenery were worth travelling so far to see, study and enjoy.  We “may not have been born in Africa, but Africa has been born in us.” (Di, our tour Director on the final dinner farewell night.)

Thank you Scenic Tours!

More Travellers Thoughts

Anne S – This trip was a dream come true. It was all about the animals and I never got tired of seeing them.  Highlights?  Elephants crossing the river, and experiences at Thorneybush – up close and personal with the animals.

Kath – Dream come true trip.  Highlights – Cheetahs feeding on kill.  Water crossing of the Elephants was breathtaking, even though one amorous elephant was trying to nearly drown its partner (must have been the juveniles up the back of the pack) .  The Crater was another high light, as well as when the lions were mating.

Val – Absolutely fantastic and everyone must do Africa especially Thorneybush.

Lorraine – Seeing the Big 5 was a major highlight

Anne H – Highlights Elephants crossing & the orphanage

Robyn & John – The Balloon Fight was the highlight as we saw the migration of the wildebeest.  Gave full appreciation of the environment.

P.S.  Between Lyn and myself, we came home with over 3000 still photographs and 8 and a quarter hours of video to edit.  If any of our followers wish to receive the finished DVD (hopefully within 3 months) please send us an email to video@ytj.com.au.  Any contributions will be given to the Olmalaika girls refuge in Maasai Mara, Kenya which was featured in the following post of a few days ago. http://yarratraveljunction.com/group-tours/2013-august-africa/130826-masai-mara-national-reserve/

Salutation and final words

Lyn and I would like to say to all our fellow travellers, “It was quite evident from your experiences that you all enjoyed this trip; some say, ‘The best so far’.  We are happy to have organised and shared this time with you and that the memories of this trip will stay with you as highlights in your life.  Nature is so wonderful and when we share it, we can feel so uplifted and renewed.  Thank you for putting up with the many ‘donkey trails’ we travelled.  They were ‘enduring’ but how can you see such wonder without putting up with discomfort, sometimes?  Recover well and share your experiences with your friends and relatives who could not come.  Thank you again!”  Lyn and Colin.

Author: @colinspain

The Official Blogger for Grey Nomads Travel and Cruise Group Tours

5 thoughts on “130829 Johannesburg – Melbourne”

  1. Thanks Col & Lyn for the great commentary of your trip – it brought back many memories of my visits there. Hope you had a great trip home and got some sleep along the way. It will take some time to get back into “normal” routine. I am currently in Port Moresby on our Operation Food for Life Program. Fed the prisoners in Minimum security and women’s sections of the jail today and also those living on Baruni rubbish dump. Will talk when I return after Sept 9.

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