Ships, Planes, Trains and River boats taking us through Asia, Middle East, Africa, Baltic, England, Paris and Amsterdam through to Budapest...

Sunday, May 11, 2014

32 Durban, Rhino River Lodge Safari, Day 1

Excitement was building as today we were disembarking for an overland trip. We are spending 3 nights in Durban then flying to Cape Town to rejoin the ship.
South Africa conduct face to face immigration, and as we were overlanding we needed to go through immigration in the terminal.  Unfortunately, they miscalculated how many would be lining up and there were only 2 immigration inspectors taking a horrendous amount of time to process each person.  Eventually they increased the number and we were finally through.
Wonder, our driver was out there to meet us and take us on the 4 hour drive to the game park.  Durban is certainly a city in its own right, and many times on this trip we commented we could be anywhere in Australia. We were amazed at the amount of sugar cane grown in the region, and even more amazed as we passed the Gum Trees.... Also the amount of people along the freeway ... not sure if they were hitch hiking or waiting for a bus!!
At around 1pm we arrived at the Rhino River Lodge.  It sits on the shore of the Msunduze  River ( a little dried up at the moment ) in the southern section of the Zululand Rhino Reserve.  There are several lodges in this reserve and they work together in spotting the animals during the drives.  The park is divided into sections and only one vehicle is allowed in each section at a time, and they keep in contact by walkie talkie.
After being shown to our comfortable rooms, we headed down to the dining area for lunch, a very nice chicken salad.  Then at 3.30pm we met our guide Kyle and his big jeep ready for our drive.  On this drive we saw Buffalo, Impalas, Rhinos, Hippos, Lions and Giraffes but all from a distance.  With the zoom we did manage to grab a couple of shots.  The drives go for around 3 hours, and as the sun starts to set we stop and out come the drinks, called Sundowners.... I thought it was going to be a special cocktail but soon realised it is just another name for 5 o’clock drinks.... Very nice....
Back at the lodge we made our way to the main lounge and dining area, and found it beautifully set up with the campfire surrounded with chairs ready for pre dinner drinks, and the tables set up around that on the lawn.... The little lanterns on the tables gave the area a wonderful ambience.  For dinner we had a stuffed mushroom, beef pie, and for dessert a superb Crème Broulee..... dinner was delicious... all washed down with a very nice South African Red.
After too much washing down we found our way back to our rooms in the dark .....after a long night sleep came easy.

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