Accra Ghana Temple

Accra Ghana Temple
Accra Ghana Temple

Sunday, July 31, 2011

South African Safari - Part 1

This time we took our adventures beyond the borders of West Africa.  We did a 1 week safari camp in the Waterberg Biosphere of South Africa (northwest of Johannesburg and Pretoria and not far from the border of Botswana).  

The trip began as we watched a torrential downpour for two hours from the Accra airport lounge while we waited for our late plane.  They don't call it the rainy season for nothing!  Little did we know that our bags were out in that rain until we opened a bag in South Africa.  Everything was soaked!  

If you are going to South Africa from an African country, you had better be sure to take your immunization record, because they WILL check to see that you have had your yellow fever immunization! 

The first part of our adventure was finding our way out of Johannesburg on wide beautiful roads at high speeds with many vehicles...but driving on the left side of the road.  We truly appreciate so much that the British did as they left their footprint on many countries, with the exception of this driving on the left side of the road business.  We bought lots of groceries on our way out of town.  What we took with us was what we would eat for the week.   

Our safari camp was named Dinkweng and was about 3-4 hours northwest of Johannesburg.  It is called a safari camp, but is actually self-catering, luxury lodges (meaning no restaurants available) set on a South African game reserve.  It is common in this area for the local land owners to put up 3 meter fences and stock it with exotic wild African animals.  As we understand it, most of the native animals were literally hunted almost to extinction.  How wonderful that there is this effort to restore it to the way it used to be.  

Our #1 fun activity at Dinkweng was to take the Polaris (4X4 golf cart) around the property where we saw giraffe, wildebeest, impala, warthog with two babies, greater kudu, steenbok, black-backed jackal  and the tracks of baboons.  These animals are not domesticated in any way and are on their own to survive.  They are accustomed to the vehicle and did not consider us a threat, but are shy and very careful about their "personal space."  For example, the wildebeests decided that we were too close to the giraffe and began stomping and snorting, while they "stared us down."  It kind of reminded me of bison  behavior.  We took the cue and moved on along.  Wildebeests are pictured below.  Greater kudu is at the bottom of the page.  Gotta love those antlers!  

You can always tell which reserves have lions, leopards, etc.  because they have more substantial fences which are electrified.  I was very happy that our camp was not one of these.  But to see more African animals, a Big 5 Game Drive is the ticket.  Tune in next week for "South African Safari - Part 2."