Monday, 5 October 2009

The Honeymoon - Safari Day 1

It's jolly chilly today - and smells of bonfires outside - I love it. Penny's bandage has been removed, but she now has a cone on her head to stop her licking her foot which apparently has a sore from the banages. She is not amused. I have lots of work to do - but procrastination seems to be the name of the game.

I had been put off from telling honeymoon tales - following the reaction on my Cape Town opinions - but there have been demands for more. So, I thought I'd continue (hopefully without offending anyone!). We left Cape Town after being congratulated on our choice of weeks to visit - apparently we'd been very lucky with the weather and everyone hoped we'd appreciated it. We assured them that we had.

We jumped on a plane to Johannesburg - Mr Jones spending the flight wedged between me and a little girl who was slowly eating a quickly melting chocolate bar that she kept waving at him menacingly.

Our driver picked us up and we started our loooooong drive from Johannesburg to Madikwe. The travel agent had insisted that the drive took just over three hours - by hour four, with another hour to go my backside begged to differ. Mr Jones had done the drive before, but helpfully couldn't remember how long it took, probably because he dropped of at the beginning and woke up at the end. (No such luxury this time husband - if I'm awake with a numb bum, you can be too).

We stopped for a loo break in Zeerust - an industrial looking town that is literally 100 miles from pretty much anywhere and surrounded by bush on all sides. It was Friday night and the streets were full of people. The noise hit us instantly. In an English town you might get a few people chatting, a couple of hooligans shouting and garnering themselves a few tuts, and the odd person singing - but in Zeerust you couldn't hear for the noise of people. They were singing in groups to music, chatting, laughing, calling and shouting. The whole town seemed to be on the street (or in Nandos). It was amazing, but slightly overwhelming. I scuttled to the loo at the petrol station while our driver had a cigarette (yes - on the forecourt of the petrol station, right beside the pump - apparently petrol isn't flammable in Africa).

My agony was relieve an hour later when we pulled into the Madikwe game reserve and made our way to Impodimo Game Lodge. We'd missed the evening drive so a ranger with a big gun took us to our mini lodge. Impodimo is the only lodge in Madikwe that isn't fenced so the animals can come right up to the rooms, which means after dark you have to go everywhere with a ranger and a gun! The elephants drink from the swimming pool and bison stalk about right next to your veranda. Most unnerving but very exciting.

Our room is beautiful with a free standing bath, outside shower, four poster bed and comfy sofas. We can see straight out into the bush. We cannot believe the luxury this far from civilisation.

We eat dinner outside surrounded by fire pits (and rangers with guns), wrapped up in jumpers and rugs - the food is amazing, but I keep my feet off the floor for fear of anything lizard like crawling up my trouser leg.

We get back to our room to find the bathroom full of candles, a steaming bubble bath and a bottle of champagne on ice. Bless them.

We fall into bed after our long journey - very ready for sleep. However a rustling munching noise keeps us awake. Mr Jones assures me it's just a bird in the thatched roof of our lodge. I beg to differ. We grab the torch and shine it round the room. Peeking out of my trainer is mouse with big eyes and even bigger ears. He is chewing his way into a bag of roast veg crisps that we'd stuff in my shoe for the journey. He steals one and runs under the bed where he proceeds to scraunch and scrunch the crisp for the next 10 minutes. We call him Marvin and accept the fact that we'll be sharng the room and the crisps. I tell myself that mice can't climb (yes I know they can!) so that I can get to sleep before our 6am safari drive.

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