So, this is part one. Part two is coming soon. (Probably tomorrow, but I have to leave you all in some suspense.)
After we spent a couple of days in Johannesburg adjusting to the time change, trying to wrap our brains around the fact that we were really in Africa, and also doing our best not to get mugged (we succeeded!), we met up with our tour group.
At this point I have to mention that I've never really been on a group tour before this, although I've traveled maybe almost every other way. Usually I avoid group trips where everything is planned out beforehand, because you lose the possibility for spontaneity, you don't interact as much with the locals, and you're not figuring everything out for yourself. It's kind of like being spoon fed when really you should be eating with your hands and dripping sauce all over everything.
That being said, I loved the way we traveled in Africa. It was perfect. Because everything was planned out for us, we were able to do a lot of things in a short time and enjoy every moment without worrying about what came next. We also had a built in multinational group to hang out and make friends with, and when we were allowed a bit of freedom we got good advice about what to do on our own.
Anyway, I digress a bit. In Johannesburg we met up with our group (22 travelers and 2 guides) and we left early the next morning for the long drive to Kruger National Park, a vast land full of acacia trees, grass, and a multitude of animals. We were lucky enough to take a few photos on our drive into the park to camp there (oh yeah, did I mention this was a camping trip? yup!) and then we had a full day game drive across the park the next day in open jeeps.
It was incredible. Which is why I have so many photos that they can't really fit into one post! And there were so many things we saw that I didn't manage to photograph, as well as those I did that just didn't capture the majesty of what we saw so I decided not to share them with you. This is the edited version. But I think it gives you a pretty good idea.
Ok, I'll shut up and let the animals tell you for themselves.
|Probably a Chapman's zebra.|
|I think you can guess this one, but is it male or female?|
|Young male impala.|
|Our friend from the other day!|
|It's Pumba! A male warthog.|
|Cape glossy starlings waiting for someone to drop some crumbs in the picnic area.|
|A closer view. Aren't their yellow eyes just incredible?|
|Time for some rain! (Actually, most of the park was quite lush.)|
|A male giraffe and oxpecker, who helps rid the giraffe of insects, along for the ride.|
|This monkey stole someone's cookie at lunch!|
|A brown snake eagle? I think.|
|And my favorite, an elephant.|
|Hello! This elephant was checking us out with his trunk. He decided we weren't a threat.|
|And some buffalo to finish up with!|
That's part one! Part II coming soon.