Tuesday, March 25 2008
Here is a view we saw on this leg of our trip.
We were greeted with good news this morning, the captive woman had been released last night. The police would not tell us her condition only that she was safe, alive, and in good hands. After this news we packed up and drove to Bourke’s Luck Potholes still in a daze over yesterday’s tragedy. The scenery along the way was spectacular, something like the Grand Canyon with more rain so it was a lot greener; very deep and rugged canyons. The potholes were formed from the merger of two rivers; interesting rock shapes and holes are the result.
I was having, what I refer to as a Missing Mina Day today, which always makes me very sad. Seeing the potholes area helped me back up from these low feelings.
A lion relaxing after devouring its dinner.
We eventually ended up in the Edeni private game reserve where we are to spend two nights sleeping in tents surrounded by lions and leopards; I guess the danger we faced yesterday was not enough for us. As the evening drew close we all boarded an open-top four wheel drive vehicle and drove off into the game reserve to spot animals. We saw giraffe, zebra, impala, hippopotami, hyena, jackal, vulture, and finally a male and female lion eating their pray. The lions were something to see.
The drive ended in the darkness and the guides used spot lights to search the jungle for night animals.
Wednesday, March 26 2008
Our guide with Sharon holding one of his bullets.
We were greeted with more good news this morning, three of the robbers had been caught. Their capture was not due to good police work but rather they had stolen a Blackberry from one of our group which was programmed to turn on automatically twice a day; so the phone company were able to triangulate the robber’s position. Apparently some of our stuff had been recovered and the police intend to return it to us. The bad news is there were actually four robbers and one is still at large. Also, the police would not tell us whose passports had been recovered. This meant we had to continue working on getting new passports for everyone who had lost one.
We went for a four hour hike early this morning into the game park. The guide was carrying a rifle and it was big enough to stop anything that might bother us.
This made me feel somewhat reassured about making our foray into the wilds on foot.
We saw giraffe, warthog, tortoise, dung beetles, and tracked elephants. The weather was warm but overcast. After the walk we returned to camp and had breakfast. We rested in the afternoon by the pool; yes the game park has a pool. Later we all met with a trauma councilor which the guides had organized. Truly, in South Africa, the people are far more dangerous than the wild animals. An official accompanied the trauma councilor and after his talk to us there was no doubt left in my mind that crime in South Africa is completely out of control. He shared stories of all kinds of horrors he had experienced which really did not make us feel much safer.
That evening we went on another night drive where we saw elephants, impala, gazelle, porcupine, jackal, small cats, and many birds, plus a spider nearly got into the jeep; which made Julia leap out of her skin. The stress of our ordeal was starting to show in our group and with our guides.
Thursday, March 27 2008
This morning we broke camp and left Edeni private game reserve for Kruger National Park via a stop at a reptile park.
Julia with a reptile.
The police had committed to return our stolen possessions today at Kruger but this never happened; we are all beginning to doubt if we will ever find out what is left of our stuff. The problem this leaves us with is we do not know what to buy to replace the stolen property. Because passports have been stolen we are not sure if we can continue the trip into Swaziland as it is a separate country and requires passports for entry.
Our camp site the first night in Kruger.
Once in Kruger National Park we were taken to a hide by a lake were we saw hippopotamus and many birds. At the Kruger central area we saw water buffalo and a crocodile. South Africa may be lawless and full of robbers and incompetent police but it sure is a beautiful place with amazing wildlife.