October 20, 2008, Category: South Africa, Travel

This is the first entry of the trip I took with my 14 year old son, Curtis, to South Africa in 2008. We rented a car and explored the Kruger Park, camped in the bush with two rangers (where during our hikes we were charged by an elephant and saw all manner of wildlife, including lions). We also spent a couple of days in a private game reserve and wrapped up our trip in Johannesburg and Soweto.

Day 1: Johannesburg

A Photo Album of the trip is available here

Finally, after months of planning…we are off!

How does Curti sleep so easily? He zonked right out on the 15 hour flight from DC to Jo-berg, and he’s been sawing logs all night long while I toss, wander the small room, and snack on cheese. I’m glad he can sleep, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve been awake since midnight and it’s now 4am. Hopefully by tomorrow night I’ll get myself on a sleeping schedule that matches the sunlight here in South Africa.

IMG_0688We took a redeye from Seattle to DC thinking we’d have a day in the capital, but it didn’t work out so well. We did go to the Natural History Museum but we were both so tired it was hard to really enjoy it. We ended up sleeping in our rental car on the side of the road for a couple hours. But we would have been better to just get a good nights sleep. Curti loved our rental car, being the frugal guy I am I had opted for the cheapest and we got a free upgrade.

The flight to Jo-berg was better. We watched “Leatherheads,” ate a decent dinner, and then both slept good. Again, Curtis zoked right out and it took me an hour or so to join him but then I slept a solid 9 hours, it was aweseome. Woke up with only two hours to go…and then it went fast.

Our rental car is tiny. For this one, I wish I would have paid for an upgrade. It would have made it a little easier for photography once we get to Kruger. It was strange to see Obama greet us first thing as we drove out of the airport…a large billboard with his smiling face on it. I guess they like him here…which is a good thing. It’ll be nice to have a president that people like…maybe the rest of the world will even start to like Americans again.

IMG_0702We arrived in the middle of a thunderstorm…lighting all over the place. I’d forgotten about these lightning storms and really enjoyed it. I hope that doesn’t mean the rains have arrived for good…I do want some nice weather in Kruger Park, especially during our wilderness trek. Curti fell asleep on the drive into Joberg, I kept trying to wake him up so he would be tired and sleep good during the night. I couldn’t wake him and he showed me. Even with my laptop light on and keys plucking he’s still dead asleep next to me. Maybe I can’t sleep cause I know first thing in the morning we are headed to Kruger. Maybe I’m like the little boy I always was on Christmas Eve…

I felt like I had to learn to drive all over again, and I think I can understand how Aubree felt when she first started driving. A little scared, ultra conscious of everything, and slightly dangerous to the people around. (Interruption, I hear a bird! Good deal, maybe it’s almost morning).

Last night we went to the grocery store, picked up some liquifruit, Tempo Bars, and biltong (Kudu, Ostrich, and beef). Curti said we should have gotten more Tempo bars, once each wasn’t enough. The chocolate tastes a little different here, I think it’s richer or something. At he grocery store I tried to smile and say hi to people but they didn’t seem interested. In fact, while waiting in the line the store manager ended up yelling from the front in a loud billowing voice that filled the store at the checkout lady helping me because she was talking to somebody instead of helping us, I felt bad for her. The manager was white and she was black and I’ve wondered how the racism issues have changed over the years. It seemed to be a factor there. It’ll be interesting to see more and talk to people.

I may try and buy a sim card with Internet access tomorrow so I can post some updates during our trip through Kruger. If not, I’ll write them and post everything next week with pictures. Tomorrow night I’ll be in Punda Maria, a part of the park I’ve never seen. Can’t wait!

IMG_0710More birds, yeah, it must almost be morning. Oh, and bonus, the Jacaranda’s are in bloom! Purple trees all over the place…I’ll bet Pretoria is gorgeous (we’ll drive through on our way north).

Continued on Day 2…

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7 thoughts on “Day 1: Johannesburg

  • By Grandma Henke - Reply

    I’m glad to hear you’re there safely … wish you could sleep so you could enjoy the days more. Those long flights would drive me clear up the wall and across the ceiling with jumpy legs!

  • By Kim N - Reply

    I was so excited to see you had posted! I have been thinking of you two a lot these past two days. I am glad you made it safely and I can’t wait to hear more. I hope you will have access to the internet all week because I want a play by play! I would say “take lots of pictures!, but…I know it doesn’t even need to be said.

  • By Sally - Reply

    Hi War, Sandi sent me a link so I can follow you on your trip. I’m liking it. You guys do so very well with travel. Loved the Obama sign detail. Have fun and hi to Curty.

  • By DobberDobber - Reply

    Curti must have gotten my sleeping ability. I can sleep anytime, anyhow and anywhere. I even sleep when I am supposed to be awake. We are glad you got there safely, now just make sure you get home safely. Love you all.

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