It all started for Kathy & me in January 1986 in Dayton, Ohio. On our first date, Kathy & I went to see the movie “Out of Africa” (after a very nervous dinner where we worried about spilling something and Kathy maneuvered me into talking about myself!).
Earlier this month we travelled to South Africa. (OK, I know the picture above is a bit out of focus. I took it after a 16 hour flight from Atlanta to Johannesburg, South Africa.) Kathy was attending – and delivering one of the Keynote Presentations – at a conference in Cape Town, South Africa. So, naturally, I volunteered to accompany her!
We left Atlanta on a Delta 777 on Monday, 31 August at 7 PM, and arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 1 Sep at 6 AM. We were not sure how long it would take to clear customs and get to our connecting flight to Cape Town so we RONed – (military lingo for “Remain OverNite) – in “Joburg” as the natives call it, and flew to Cape Town on 2 Sep. Since the conference did not start until 6 Sep, we made good use of our 3 days “off.”
On Thursday (3 Sep) we were picked up at our hotel at 8 AM and driven (about a 2-hr drive) to the Aquila Private Game Reserve (not a hunting reserve) for a guided Safari. On the way there we drove along and through mountain ranges and miles and miles of vineyards (more on the vineyards in a future post). When we arrived at the reserve we were treated to a champagne and juice welcome and then had a very nice buffet lunch in their lodge. From there it was into the vehicle and off into the wilds.
The attached pictures are a few selected from the over 700 I took on our 2-½ hour drive throughout the reserve. As you can see, we saw 3 of the “Big Five” (elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard and rhino) on our tour. Don’t know where the elephants were, and the Leopard was hiding.
The photo with all of the animal pictures on the wall was taken in the lodge – just before I knocked my camera off the table and shattered the front filter element (Boy did it get quiet in the lodge!!). The lens mount was (is) so bent that I could not get the filter off and that rendered the lens useless. Being a good Boy Scout, I switched to my backup lens and we were ready to roll.
The peacock was prancing around outside the lodge and was very happy to pose for pictures.
The reserve is a 10,000 hectare (24,710.5 acres) conservancy in the southern Karoo. The animals have free range over it all – except the lions. They are in their on fenced off area. The reserve is still in the building process and they don’t want the lions eating everything until the herds get established!
The rooster? Well he was guarding a large flock of egg-laying hens. The lodge goes through thousands of eggs in their dining facility so they are trying to be self-sustaining.
It was a beautiful day with a very knowledgeable guide. Kathy & I thoroughly enjoyed the day (except for the broken lens). We would love to do a safari of more than 1 day sometime in the future – maybe.
I’ll be posting pictures from days 2 & 3 of our sightseeing before the conference and the 2 days after the conference in subsequent posting.
‘N groot dag
That’s Afrikans for “Have a Great Day.”