Considering that I had always heard that South Africa is one of the best country for travelling to, this trip was planned with very very high expectations. During the planning stage itself, I had the feeling that those expectations will be fulfilled. For a wildlife lover like me, SA has a lot to offer. On land, they have almost every major animal except for our very own Tiger. Other than that, there is a lot on offer in South African seas with Whales, Sharks, Penguins, Seals being the prominent few. I was surely very excited to be visiting SA.
As we were travelling during the peak Christmas/New Year period, I started the bookings as early as September beginning. International flight was booked first followed by Kruger Safari, various hotels, domestic flights, car rentals and adventure sports like Sky Diving, Shark Cage Diving and Scuba Diving. For anyone planning a trip to SA, its highly advised to make bookings as early as possible because even after starting so early, I found most lodges in Kruger already sold out.
|When a 4 am flight is delayed to 7 am!!|
|Bird's eye view of barren Lands of Ethiopia|
Other then the normal city life, Addis Ababa has two good museums one of them hosting the oldest known human skeleton. Ethiopia is believed to have the first humans. However, due to some further delays in getting transit visa, we reached our hotel by about 5 pm and were unable to visit any of the museums. After a short drive through the city, we stayed in our hotel rooms only considering that we had to wake up pretty early next morning for our flight to Jo'burg.
|Deserted Planes at Addis Ababa Airport|
In the morning, we reached the airport well in time for the flight only to find that even this flight was delayed by an hour. The flight continued getting postponed further and further and finally we took off after a delay of over 3 hours. Later, we found out that this delay was due to some electric issue in the Dreamliner we were supposed to fly in. The various issues with Dreamliners have since become an everyday issue.
Finally, we reached Jo'burg at 5 pm SA time on 23rd December. After the regular immigration procedure was over and we came out of the airport with a slight sense of anxiety considering how much we had heard about Jo'burg being unsafe. The Car Rental building is located right next to the airport exit where we were guided by a local who seemed to ask for some money when we reached there but as we hardly had any change till then, we had a tough time getting rid of him. Once I took out the papers for our Car booking, I started reading the terms & conditions there. There was a point which mentioned that if you don't pick your car at the designated time, your booking might be cancelled with no refund. However, the lady at the counter was helpful and told us that she will arrange a car for us in an hour. Thankfully, the car was there in 30 minutes and we left for our hotel in Melville that was booked for the night prior hoping to get some discount from the manager as sympathy for all the trouble that we had faced reaching there. Even with GPS, we had some tough time driving the 20 kms to the hotel and reached there around 10 in the night. The roads were pretty good with people driving properly in lanes which always is a big deal for us Indians. I took some time adjusting and finally curbed my tendency to switch lanes at whim during my stay in SA. The caretaker at the hotel provided us rooms but had no bottled water left. Considering that tap water is portable in SA, it wasn;t such a big issue.
Continue reading the next part: The Wildings of Kruger