South Africa - Round The World Tour 2003 Day 6

Lataba (Kruger National Park)

Tuesday 18th March

Today was a fun day. We went out on Safari twice on our own. A morning drive just after breakfast and an afternoon drive after lunch. Interestingly, we saw the most game during the morning drive. Apparently, the best time to see the animals is just after sunrise and just before sunset – when the heat isn’t so intense and the animals are active. We saw a whole host of animals but still haven’t seen all of the big five yet. We saw Giraffe, Elephant, Zebras, Wildebeest, Impala, Warthog, Hippos, Steenbok, Monkeys, Tree Squirrel, Dung Beetle, huge spiders and a whole host of interesting birds and insects. For an hour or so of our afternoon drive, we were being followed by another car full of people about two hundred yards behind. Every time we would stop to take photos of whatever it was we saw, they would also stop after us. Several times after we had taken our photos, however, the animals or birds would move on leaving nothing for the people behind us to look at. I’m sure they must have went mad trying to find whatever it was they thought we were looking at but coming up empty each time.

The phone lines have been down since we got here so we have not been able to make use of the cash machine and today we had to exchange two $100 travellers checks. It’s a delicate balance between not carrying too much cash and still carrying enough to make do. We are still trying to find the right balance.

Amazingly, we’ve only been in Africa for less than a week yet it already feels like we’ve accomplished so much. Sandy did some brief calculations this evening and we are doing pretty well budget wise – particularly since South Africa is one of the more expensive of the African countries we are going to be visiting. We are now mostly packed and ready to set off tomorrow morning for a sunrise Safari. We are hoping to get on the road just as soon as they open the gates at six o’clock. Not being a morning person, I’m not looking forward to it and am hoping to get a good night’s sleep tonight.

We took our second weekly Mefloquine anti-malarial prophylaxis tablet last Sunday. Fortunately, neither Sandy nor myself seem to be exhibiting any of the nasty side effects that put so many people off using the drug. It’s amazing how many people (mostly locals but also tourists) have decided not to take any anti-malarial drugs at all. Ten people asked will reveal ten different perspectives on the subject. Since the Mefloquine does not adversely affect us, we will continue to take the weekly tablet every Sunday morning (a common ritual here) as prescribed by the travel health specialist that we saw in Jacksonville.

After we complete our four-night stay here in the Kruger National Park, we are going to be heading for Sodwana Bay for some diving and then to somewhere in Kwazulu-Natal (just above Durban) to meet Mike’s parents. The receptionist at the main gate told me that Sodwana Bay is a full day’s drive from Kruger so my next logistical problem is going to be finding somewhere to stay overnight before we get there. With the problems of Petersburg still very fresh in my memory, I’m hoping we can make arrangements for a nice B&B somewhere before we leave the park as I don’t want to just head out and ‘hope’ we find somewhere respectable on the way.

A squirrel has apparently found a way to get into our otherwise hermetically sealed hut via a gap in the roof where the beams and thatch form a point. Every now and then a few thatch straws fall on top of me whilst I type as the little rascal scurries around up there. It makes me wonder just what else can get in if something as big as a squirrel can! Good night … sweet dreams!