Home again, home again, jiggity jig

It sounds good, but getting home is no jiggity jig.

Drive 45 minutes from the lodge to Hoekspruit Airport.  Sit around almost 2 hours, then fly to Johannesburg.  Wait 6 hours, then get on the plane and fly almost 16 hours to Atlanta.  Clear immigration, pass through customs, re-check luggage, go through security for the third time, take the train to the far end of the airport, board the next flight, fly 5 more hours to SFO, collect luggage and make it home, 34 hours after we got in the van to leave.  Our guide drove us, which made for a pleasant ride and a good chance to give him his tip.  That worked well for all of us.

Rudi, our very talented and knowledgable guide.

Rudi, our very talented and knowledgable guide.

The whole trip was great, every last little bit of it.  I got to spend a day with a pro taking photos in places I could never go alone.  We saw elephants, rhino, giraffe, water buffalo, impala, eagles, hammerkops and one damned lion.

Mufasa?  More like Scar.  This old, tired, sleepy, beaten up lion was the only one we saw all week--not for lack of trying.

Mufasa? More like Scar. This old, tired, sleepy, beaten up lion was the only one we saw all week–not for lack of trying.

Finding this miserable old lion was a major effort–our faithful tracker, Foster, and two other trackers, set out early to find something, anything, leonine.  They trudged through the underbrush until they found Simba here, then radioed out so we could link up with them.

Normally, Foster sat in the tracker’s chair mounted on the front of our Toyota Land Cruiser.  While he was off chasing lion tracks, somebody usurped it.

Our own home grown tracker.

Our own home grown tracker.

 

With a smile like that, you'd think the game would come racing toward us.

With a smile like that, you’d think the game would come racing toward us.

We saw some more giraffes:

I like these animals.  When they walk or run there is nothing more graceful.

I like these animals. When they walk or run there is nothing more graceful.

The ostrich doesn’t really bury its head in the sand, it just looks that way sometimes.

Big Bird in the wild, no Mr. Snuffleupagus

Big Bird in the wild, no Mr. Snuffleupagus

Like social climbers who affect a British accent for life after one short trip to London, we have all decided we must pronounce the name of the striped animal “zebbrah”, not “zeebra”.  Whichever you choose, they’re fun to look at and their babies are cute.

The little one is snuggling up to mom.

The little one is snuggling up to mom.  You may say “awww”.

 

After an afternoon of lion hunting, we had sundowners by a lake, then wandered home in the dark, with Foster shining a very bright light into the trees and bushes to see what could be found in the dark.  His impressive skills turned up a galago, or bush baby.  This is a tiny, nocturnal, tree dwelling primate, hard to see even if you know what you are looking for.

The tiny and reclusive bush baby.

The tiny and reclusive bush baby.

 

There was also a giant owl in a tree:

The last animal of the trip.

The last animal of the trip.

 

There was one more thing I wanted get a picture of–the sky.  There is no light pollution out there in the middle of nowhere, so you can see more stars than you’ve seen since your last Boy Scout camping trip.  Plus, it’s the southern hemisphere so the stars are different–no big dipper.

I think the Southern Cross is in there somewhere.

I think the Southern Cross is in there somewhere

Getting there is exhausting, coming home is at least as bad.  Being there is heaven.  We had a spectacular time, saw things we’ll never see again, loved being with family and friends.  Life is good.

 

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Home again, home again, jiggity jig

  1. Your travels inspired me to go back and re-watch “Hatari”, the 1962 Howard Hawks movie set in Africa. And Linda is awaiting more details from you to help plan our own trip.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: