Safari 2018, A Touring and Hunting Combo

by david on June 19, 2019

Getting There Part 1

Saturday, September 8

Today begins our journey.  I have described the trip many times before, so I won’t go into much detail. We started from Raleigh, NC then to Atlanta, GA, and finally Johannesburg, South Africa where we overnighted before we left for Kasane the next day. The only thing that made today noteworthy was it marked my and Janice’s 34th wedding anniversary.  I still consider myself one of the luckiest people alive because she said “I do” (and subsequently has not changed her mind).  I sorta hated to spend it in airports and airplanes but, we were going on an adventure and it had to start somewhere.

 

Sunday, September 9

As usual, the service Debbie Gracy and her staff at Gracy Travel provided was exemplary (https://www.gracytravel.com/.  The meet and greet team met us at the gate and escorted us to customs and whisked us through before most of the other passengers had made their way to the customs station.  Before you could say “wait here please”, our passports were stamped, and bags collected and handed off to the Gracy team member outside the security area. “Lucky” was there waiting and escorted us to the police station to collect my rifles.  In all previous trips I had taken advantage of Gracy Travel’s firearm paperwork pre-approval service and, as usual, it was well worth it. Cases were opened, serial numbers checked, and we were done.

The “City Lodge” is a hotel in the Johannesburg airport and is only a short walk away.  Lucky helped us with our bags and escorted us to the front desk of the hotel. After making plans to meet in the morning for our escort back through the airport and to check in, he bid us goodnight and made his way back.  After spending the last 24 hours traveling and the last 16 in an airplane, it was wonderful to stretch our legs and wander around the hotel for a few minutes. Everyone was hungry and we soon found ourselves seated at the restaurant.  With stomachs rumbling, almost too loud to talk over, we placed our orders and sat back to relax for a moment. The drinks arrived quickly, Castle Lager for John and I, wine for Janice, and hot tea for Barbara. While not overly filling, they kept the hunger pains at bay until dinner arrived.  A rack of ribs each for John and I, and lasagna for Janice. Barb was the adventurous one ordering Peri-Peri BBQ chicken and pap. Peri-Peri is a spicy tomato based marinade. Pap, also known as mieliepap in South Africa, is a traditional porridge/polenta made from mielie-meal (corn) and a staple food of the Bantu inhabitants of Southern Africa. The food was all good and the beverages had their desired effect.  Knowing we had one more day of travel and the fatigue of the last 24 hours had convinced us of the need to turn early. Off to bed we went and sleep came quickly.

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