Thursday, July 1

Steve: The last long drive of our adventure is now complete, as we arrived safely in Johannesburg at 3:00PM today. It was a long day, beginning at 6:30AM when we left Kruger's Satara rest camp with the hope of seeing some additional wildlife during our drive south through the park. As we packed our car, we could actually hear lions roaring - they sounded fairly close and so we left in a hurry to see if we could get a glimpse of our first Kruger lion.

It didn't take long for us to find out what was causing all the noise. Shortly after leaving Satara, we found the road totally blocked by parked cars, probably 20-30 in all. People were climbing out of their windows, binoculars in hand, stretching their necks and struggling to get a view of what we knew had to be lions. Sure enough, we soon got a slight glimpse (through all the cars) of a large pride, probably 10-11 lions in all. Even after searching so long for a lion in Kruger, we really weren't motivated to stay and watch in the company of so many other cars. The lions were also a fair way from the road, especially compared to several of our encounters in Tanzania. So after waiting for 20 minutes for people to decide to finally begin moving their cars, we squeezed by and continued our journey south.

We can now recognize even more clearly how special our Tanzania experience was. Seeing so much wildlife (including lions) at close range, often by ourselves, was really wonderful. These type of encounters are probably not possible (or at least highly unlikely) at Kruger.

The rest of our drive was uneventful, but long. Surprisingly, the speed limit on the two-lane highways is often 80mph, with all kinds of vehicles entering and exiting, and even pedestrians crossing at will. I was very relieved to pull into the Hertz car return at the Johannesburg airport, having safely driven many miles throughout South Africa (all on the left!).

We will be staying here at the airport until our flight tomorrow evening at 7:15. We are all very, very excited, and can't wait to get back home. We'll spend our time tomorrow having another "memory party", repeating what we did last November in Madrid when we spent an afternoon reminiscing about all our fondest memories from our travels. We have all worked hard this time around in writing down our memories - it should be fun!






Animals seen today:

Slender and dwarf mongoose
Vervet monkey












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