8/29/18.

I am not quite sure what day it is–Wednesday? We arrived yesterday afternoon, after a flight of 9 hours to London, a layover of 9 hours (we booked a day room at a hotel close to Heathrow/LHR, so we could take a shower and a nap, and I highly recommend it), 11+ hours to Johannesburg (god), 2 hours to Durban, and a 3.5 hour drive to the game preserve. By the end of the day, I was stumbling tired.

We arrived in time yesterday afternoon, just, to go on the afternoon game drive. Oh wow, so glad we did. It’s absolutely gorgeous here. And quite cool, except for a short few hours in the afternoon. But it cools down quickly.

The picture is a postcard of the South African flag. I love the colors. A representation of the flag is on the tails of South African Air, and I loved the design and the colors. So when we went into the onsite shop today, a flag postcard was the first thing I looked for.

I’ve taken lots of pictures over the last day-and-a-half, which I’ll post soon.

But I have to say, I love the experience as much as the animals we are seeing. Takes me back to summers in Colorado when I was a kid. Being a doctor, my dad couldn’t spend the whole summer in Estes Park, but he came out for a couple of weeks at a time as often as he could. He’d fire up the 1948 Willy’s jeep we kept there, and off we’d charge out to Rocky Mountain National Park, ghost towns, trailheads, wood-gathering and cutting, whatever my father decided we were going to do that day. The jeep, Nellybelle, we called her, after the jeep in the Roy Rogers TV show, was completely open air. I’m sure you wouldn’t be able to get away with having kids in such a thing today, but then no one noticed. It was grand.

It had very low gears, so we could go a lot of places: up and down steep hills, old logging roads, through and over deep ruts, roads with a fairly substantial sideways slant. Or no roads. We spent a lot of time in first gear. A lot of time. And all this is what I am so reminded of here. The trucks driven by the rangers into the preserve will hold 9 people instead of 5, but in other respects they are really similar to Nellybelle.

Fortunately, they are more reliable than Nellybelle! Sh broke down regularly, especially if we were far from home. These trucks don’t do that. They aren’t fancy, but their engines are well-maintained, which is really fortunate when when an elephant is a tad unhappy with how close we are.

More later!

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