Monday, May 12, 2014

Let the safari begin

Monday, May 12, 2014

Road tripping from Jo'burg to Kruger national park today. The South African country side wasn't quite as imagined but beautiful none the less. Interesting to see the non-industrial farms and pastures across from the embracement of nuclear power. Just as many road trips before lunch consisted of one of the worlds most recognizable highway pit stop restaurants - KFC.

During lunch my mind naturally wondered, 'what's for dinner Cliff?' Knowing the dietary restrictions of our group of 3, his vague answer had me worried and hungry. Per the arrangements our trusty guide would prepare "dinner" for us 3 out of the 5 nights at Kruger park. Once arriving at the supermarket just outside the park's main gate, I was easily distracted by the local produce, cuts of meat and one women's use of an obvious bath towel wrapped into skirt [#PeopleOfWalmart got nothing on her]. 

Over the years I've come to accept the more control I have over my diet while traveling, ultimately leads to a much better experience for myself and my travel companions. Yes it does take away the whimsy of sitting down at a random cafe to enjoyed a freshly baked pan au chocolate or scone but I've found these places often serve wine and wine can be filled with just as much whimsy, if not more. As Cliff picked up the 'rations' of bread, yogurt and eggs, I continued to shop to supliment my gluten, dairy and egg free diet.   

Upon entering the park we were greated with warm smiles and hospitable hello's. Within miles of passing through the gates the animals came to say hello. First antelope, then impalas, a heard of zebras, baboons, and then there was the elephants - by far the highlight of our animal sightseeing. And when cousin Kathy exclaimed, "what big ears! No wonder dumbo could fly."  I was in complete agreement.

After 8 1/2 hours in a tightly packed Toyota we arrived at our thatched roof 'cabin.' We dined at the camp site restaurant trying the 'classic South African beef stew.' Salty would have how I would descibe it but the deliciously crispy $1.50 glass of wine made it more than palatable. 

Day two at Kruger we ride at sunrise with a 6am drive in search of the large cats, cougars, lions, jaguars....oh my. Perhaps this will be the one time in my life I'll genuinely say, 'here kitty kitty...' 

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