I am a Baboon and You Are Not: South Africa, Day 3
I actually heard my alarm when it went off at 3:00 AM. I was scheduled to meet my safari group at 3:30 to head to the airport to fly to Johannesburg. I went up to the Garden Lounge and everyone was there, looking the worse for wear. I met up with Perri and Alyssa and we all headed down the gangway to the waiting transport. Somehow Rosemary had arranged for us to have a huge bus to take us to the airport, free of charge. When we got there, we were all free to check in ourselves and find our way to the gate. Perri, Alyssa and I found a place to have breakfast, where I ate some sort of delicious croissant/scrambled egg concoction. When it was time, we got on the plane and the three of us immediately passed out.
When we woke up, we were nearly there. The plane landed and after running a couple of errands in the airport, we all piled into 3 vans that were waiting for us. The drive to Kruger from Johannesburg was supposed to take 6-7 hours, so we had a long way to go yet. We drove and drove and drove. Just outside of Johannesburg, South Africa is flat farmland and looks no different than Ohio. I fell asleep a few times, as did the rest of the bus. We stopped at one point to use the restroom and buy some snacks, then we continued on our way. Suddenly we pulled over and the driver got out. We didn’t see him again for almost an hour, as we baked in the hot South African sun. He explained to us that one of the other drivers had forgotten his permit paperwork at home, and that had caused the delay. Since we had such a long drive ahead of us, this irritated the occupants of the van. With nothing to do about it, however, we grumbled to ourselves and continued on our way. The scenery changed to rolling hills and I saw signs to learn how to fly fish, and we stopped for lunch in a small town that looked like it might be in the Pennsylvania hills. I had a chicken sandwich for lunch, having seen nothing on the menu that could be described as cultural food. We piled back into the van and set off once again.
After what seemed like many more hours of tedious driving, we finally arrived at Kruger National Park. The resort we arrived at was not our own, but it was just the point where we were to set off for our sunset game drive. We selected our open-air Jeeps and bumped off into the wilderness. Perri, Alyssa and I were in the back, where we scanned the bushes and horizon for any signs of wildlife. The sunset we were fortunate enough to witness was rich with warm colors and painted the sky with streaks of oranges and reds and purples no human hand could mix. With the sky in this state, someone in our vehicles spotted a trio of tall giraffes in the trees. The scene was right out of National Geographic, as two of the giraffes were play-fighting as if they were putting on a show for us. We saw a menagerie of other animals as the sun went down, from jackals to wildebeest to impala. No lions, though. Unfortunately our drive was cut short because of the delay we had experienced earlier in the day, and we had to head back to our buses.
The buses drove us another fifteen minutes or so to Marc’s Adventure Treehouse, where we would be staying for the next 2 nights. We unloaded and moved into our treehouses. I was in treehouse number 6 with Perri, Alyssa, Jennifer, Sarah, and Marie. It was definitely rustic, but cozy. We all had our own twin bed with a mosquito net. A sign on the wall warned us not to leave food open in the room, because they had problems with monkeys breaking in. Only in Africa. I trudged tiredly down to dinner and was rewarded with a home-cooked feast, which satiated me for the night. After some social time with my fellow safari-heads, I turned in for the night. I made sure my mosquito net was secure around my body and fell right asleep.