Thanks to all who contributed to and answered so many of my questions about So. Africa. I had no expectations before leaving, and Africa blew me away. The people, the landscapes, colors, animals, and the sights!
In my 50's, I had many firsts on this trip. A crash course in driving on the wrong side (their left) AND learning to shift gears with my left hand. The turn signal was where the windshield wiper should be. Many times I activated the wipers instead of the turn signals.
I was glad for the miles of highway between Jo'burg & Hazyview, (except for Nelspruit, where we got lost, it was straight driving) , and then in Hazyview (not much traffic and plenty of four way stops). My sister-in-law was a great map reader/navigator.
We never had a bad meal (except for some of the ones we cooked ourselves), and I didn't get indigestion once! It's a much different story now that I'm home again.
We did the Panorama Tour thru GAP. I was impressed with our driver/guide. Edwin is very knowledgeable and lucky. He managed to get us to every lookout BEFORE the clouds rolled in. That's not to say it didn't rain on us, it did, but while we were driving. We enjoyed our lunch with Edwin at Harris' (the bacon pancakes were incredible), and the shopping next door.
On a night safari in SAbie Sands, a guide picked us up in town and drove us into KNP. Once there , we switched vehicles, added another guide and shotgun, then off we went. That evening we saw rhino, a cheetah, chameleons, lots of fireflies, stars, the So. Cross and Milky Way. It was fun and uneventful as we would later learn that a ranger/guide was killed by a leopard two weeks earlier on a night safari when he got out of the vehicle to smoke a cigarette.
Another first was a morning ride on an elephant during a visit to the Elephant Sanctuary.
One evening we shut off all of the lights and sat for over 30 mins watching a lightening show as it moved over the valley and thru the mountains. Then, one morning I woke early to the beginning of a brilliant red sunrise. I have been to Tahiti, Hawaii, Asia and Mexico and I have never seen a sunrise or sunset as red as this one. It was truly awesome. I hope my photos captured it's intensity.
Another morning we passed a monkey sitting by the roadside, watching traffic I guess. Unbelievable.
Our one 1/2 day in KNP was disappointing, and we chalked it up to bad timing.
After being on safari in TZ the week before, Hazyview was just what we needed to unwind and prepare for the long trip home. We spent a lot of time shopping, reading, eating and napping. We spent over an hour waiting in line to pay for our groceries the day before Easter Sunday. That too was unbelievable. Just glad I was able to find beer.
The Hazyview Cabanas were adequate. The grounds are well maintained and the staff very accomodating and helpful. We especially appreciated Ireen's assistance on several occasions. This timeshare is somewhat different than ones we haved stayed in the US. It was comparable to some which we have stayed in other countries and the US. We were comfortable, and with the exception that there are no coffee pots in the units, the kitchen was nice and there are bbq's on the patios. We did try to grill one night,but it rained on our fire and we had to finish cooking inside.
I had an opportunity to speak with the manager (three weeks new) about my issues concerning the security personnel, housekeeping, onsite restaurants/bar and security lights. He has a lot of work ahead of him, but I am sure he is up to it.
If anyone has any questions about the cabanas, please feel free to ask here or send me a private message. I'll be glad to assist where ever possible.
It really was a "once in a lifetime trip" that I'll never forget. My sister-in-law and I did a lot in our two weeks in Africa. I'm still sorting thru the photos. But we did it and returned safely home with our memories and photos.