Jenny’s South Africa Trip Report – Part I

May 29, 2013  By: Gretchen

Jenny was in South Africa last month on an educational trip. She visited a number of camps and enjoyed some fantastic wildlife. We’ll bring you a short series of trip reports so you might share her safari experiences. Enjoy!

I arrived at O.R Tambo right on time and was whisked through immigration by our VIP meet & greet services. It is so helpful to have someone taking care of you when you’re still a bit out of it from the 15 hour flight! My traveling companion and I were then taken direct on a Apartheid Museum tour. This might be one of my top experiences in Jo’burg – the museum is very well laid out and details the life of Nelson Mandela and other figures crucial to South Africa’s rich history.

Jenny Fairlawns in JNB May 2013

From there, we moved on to Kliptown, one of the neighborhoods in Soweto, where we met Thulandi, leader of the Klipton Youth Program. Thulandi was selected as one of the Heroes by CNN! There are lots of opportunities to donate your time or resources here, a great way to help out one of the poorer communities in Jo’burg. After this, jet lag was settling in quite fiercely and we headed to the Fairlawns for lunch and overnight.

The Fairlawns is a grand hotel, with each room individually decorated from the owner’s travels. If you have the time, take advantage of a back, neck and shoulder massage at the onsite spa. We enjoyed a fresh and delicious lunch. The rooms at the Fairlawns are spacious and have a a nice ‘old world’ style to them. Only 30 minutes from the airport in Sandton, its a quick hop back for your next flight. Onsite, the owners can arrange free transfers within 4 km from the hotel to visit area art galleries or take you shopping. It’s a true, quiet retreat from city life and a fantastic way to ease onto ‘Africa time’.

Jenny Outpost Room May 2013

The following morning, after a hearty breakfast at Fairlawns, we bid our hosts goodbye and headed to O.R. Tambo for our flight to Phalabora (1 hr flight time). Upon arrival, we took a hopper (the plane was an Albatross) to an airstrip outside of northern Kruger, where we caught a road transfer to The Outpost (approximately 1 hr ride). Upon arrival, we skipped lunch as we were excited to make the the afternoon game drive. The Outpost is located in northern Kruger National Park, which is a very quiet area as it’s the only lodge in this region. It was real treat to be the only vehicle at each of our sightings.

Jenny Lanna Gorge SA May 2013Ali, our guide, taught us about the tree life (mopani trees, fever trees) and many beautiful birds. We were treated to sightings of elephant, cape buffalo and many little creatures as well as the vast, rocky undulating landscape. We stopped for sundowners and watched 3 male elephant very nearby. An amazing close-to-nature experience! On the way back, Ali took out the spotlight and gave us a star gazing lesson. Then, by use of the spotlight, we found more elephant and were treated to a loud trumpeting from the group! There was also a tiny owlette, an owl, lots of hare and bush babies jumping out of the trees. Back at camp, we had a sip of sherry by the fire prior to dinner and brandy pudding for dessert. To bed in preparation of a full day tomorrow!

 

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