Here we are in the Johannesburg airport. That’s our monstrous pile of luggage peeking out on the right. The three of us who are US-based flew 14.5 hours direct from JFK, and Evan flew from Ouagadougou to Nairobi (where he only had 1.5 hours) and then to Jo-burg. Elliot drove to Jo-burg from Maputo the day before as our flights landed early in the morning. The main emotion of our faces (other than happiness at being together) is RELIEF that it all worked out. We are only missing Phoebe but we decided to Photoshop her into some future family groupings.
After interminable wanderings through corridors, up and down elevators, and past the machines where we had to pay for parking, we found Elliot’s car
and stuffed ourselves into it. All well and good until we got to the exit with our validated parking stub. Seemed like the first world…but oops! The power was out so the machine reading the card was dead and the horrible spikes that promise to do “severe tire damage” would not retract. I loved this sign:
The robot is just a traffic light. Dead, of course. A few cars came by and waited with us, then someone went and got a parking lot attendant, then there was more waiting while they assured us the generator would kick in soon, then the lot employee finally found that he could lift one of the gates manually, which fortunately made the spikes go down.
On to our next adventure: Kruger Park. We stayed in the Mjejane Lodge just outside one of the main gates, on the Crocodile River. Our rooms looked out on the river; on the opposite bank is the Park. And as the guides pointed out, there are no gates or fences enclosing the Park in most places, so the animals roam free. We took two game drives and saw hundreds of fabulous animals, but the amazing thing was that right from the lodge we saw almost as many! Here is our breakfast table (all seats facing view, of course):
There was a “haha,” a 6-foot drop with a retaining wall and a little barbed wire, between us and him. We also watched dozens of impalas come down to drink, saw a dramatic hippo confrontation, checked out a few crocs lounging in the sun, watched an enormous egret (or maybe it was a stork) hunt, observed a meerkat colony, and wondered why a lone kudu was lying around without its herd.
As we left (another obligatory tacky group shot)
we bid goodbye to the resident mom-and-baby warthog:
We will come back to Kruger later in the trip, and probably stay in an entirely different area. Next stop: Maputo, then to Honey Pot, near Xai Xai (pronounced Shy Shy) for our Habitat for Humanity build. Thanks to those who have donated! Here’s the link again: