Getting to Africa

I’ll begin by saying that this time around we took the long way to Africa.  Last year we took a direct flight from DC to Johannesburg – it was 17 hours and cameron had a hard time being confined for that amount of time.  This time we flew on air miles and the route we took went from DC to Frankfurt, Germany then on to johannesburg with a 13 hour layover in Frankfurt where we landed at 7 am. We tried to make the best use of our time there by getting out and seeing the sights.  Let me digress – one of the perks of using miles was that about two thirds of the flight legs are in business class.  Wow, talk about spoiling us to flying! Soon after cozying into our large comfy biz class seats, cameron declared that he wasn’t going to fly coach again. (Little did he know that our next flight and the longer of the two would be in coach.)  Despite the great seats on the first of two overnight flights, we might have slept about an hour or so in little bits.  But the great part about business class is that even after land, you have access to their lounges and Welcome areas.  What that meant for us is a nice hot shower before we headed out to see Germany.  Nice. The weather however was less than nice – about 45 degrees and pouring rain in Frankfurt but thankfully I had already planned to take the train to Heidelberg where it happened to be only drizzling. We walked about 3 miles from the train station to castle ruins in order to stretch our legs and tire us out to sleep on the plane later that day.  Heidelberg was a very cute little town and the castle was quite impressive.  They had several markets open where we got local brats and crepes and wandered around until we could barely keep going from sheer exhaustion.  So we hopped the train and headed back to the Frankfurt airport, found a massage station and relaxed before the overnight flight to Jo’burg. The Lufthansa plane was a nearly new A380 with a full 2nd story for biz and first class but we were down in coach.  Cameron was VERY happy to see the plane wasnt near full so I hopped into the next row so we each had about 3 seats to lay down and get comfy.  It was 10 hr flight and I think we managed about 6 or 7 hours of much needed sleep. The next morning we arrived in Jo’burg at about 10 Am.  YAY!!! We were back in S Africa! Just a quick layover then hopped a flight to Hoedspruit where we were picked up and delivered to Naledi Safari Lodge. Ahhhhhh, felt good to be back.
Lunch on the verandah was waiting for us and soon after that we hopped into the Landcruiser for the evening game drive.  It wasn’t long before we came to the hyena and her cubs laying on their renovated termite mound home. Not only was the hyena larger than we thought she’d be but also quite a bit cuter. The cubs were adorable with their slightly too large ears and longish neck fur that resembled a messy mohawkWe returned to the lodge where a fantastic 3 course gourmet meal with a main course of ostrich awaited us. So tasty!

This morning we were up by 4:30am – though we didn’t need to be up til 5:15- so we watched the sunrise, birds and monkeys around the camp. Cameron didn’t really sleep at all – poor guy… He’s actually napping now while I write this.  This mornings game drive consisted of impala, kudu, giraffe, baboons, and a tiny little lion cub that’s very well hidden in a brush pile. It was tough to get a good look at it but it was probably only about 4 weeks old and as cute as one could imagine. No sign of the mama lioness but she had to be close by. Oh and we also saw a hawk of some kind-forgot the name at the moment- eating a snake in a tree.  Got a few good pics that I will post below.

I think that brings us up to speed! Hope all’s well back at home!

Author: Keri Chmelik

I love to explore the world with my favorite person... and I'll probably take a few pictures along the way.

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