If you are just joining the adventure, we are exploring the wonders of South Africa with Adventures by Disney and we invite you to catch up on all you have missed here.
Today was a travel day in one of the trustiest of forms. When I first started going from California to Walt Disney World, my friends would talk about travel days where they would avoid doing anything because they were never sure if something would go wrong or how tired they would be. Well, today was the first day “something went wrong” but we will get into that later.
The day started boarding the coach one last time for a trip back to the airport to board a charter flight to our next destination. As we drove past the Indian Ocean, Tess leaned over to me as I was looking at surf and said “I am sorry you didn’t get to touch the water. At almost that exact same moment, our guides took a survey of who had and hadn’t touched the Indian Ocean, which led to a quick unscheduled stop for me (and many others on the bus) to get a chance to feel the cold water on a different ocean.
Off to Hoedspruit
Now, I think it is safe to say Adventures by Disney knows how to take care of their guests, and the charter plane from George to Hoedspruit just really drove it home. Our guides did all the legwork at the airport for us while we sat and enjoyed the company of our other travelers, which really is just an amazing feeling to know you have nothing to worry about in an airport, much less one in South Africa.
As we flew the 2 1/2 hours, our guide, Craig, took the microphone and told us all about the amazing Buff headwear. For those of you who’ve never heard of the Buff, it was made popular by the television show Survivor as a multi-use piece of circle clothe and can be used to make anything from a blindfold, a face guard, or a hat (unfortunately a brooch or a pterodactyl are not options). After a bit of back and forth between he and Kira, our other guide, about why he is telling us about something we could have bought our first few days or at the very end of the trip, we were all surprised by our very own and exclusive AbD Buff.
One of the other amazing things about this flight was the view!
Kapama River Lodge
Once we are all gathered, it is on to one of our own game jeeps that we will stick with for the rest of our time at Kapama. The Kapama Game Reserve spanning16,000 hectares is massive and amazing. In the first minutes of our drive from the airport to our hotel, located in the Kapama Reserve, we had already seen a few animals and this wasn’t even a game drive yet.
There will be many more photos of this amazing lodge over the next few days, but after heading to our room this is where things went a little sideways. The original plan was tea then our evening game drive. Well, as the legend goes “it never rains on Joe Rhode,” but that can’t be said for lightning…lots of lightning.
Of course, as anyone who has visited Walt Disney World knows, lightning can change everything very quickly. So originally we had an hour rain delay, but with the storm moving closer and closer, we moved to Plan B. Once the call went out for no reserve drives, Joe and Mark jumped right into putting on their own little show about the dung beetle. Finding a recently passed display model by the pool, it gave a perfect display as Joe told us all about this amazing creature.
Now, the dung beetle was not the only creature cause an uproar, as it turned out four lionesses had somehow gotten into the lodge grounds and made short work of one of the other beautiful animals that I had just taken a picture of. Hey, the Circle of Life isn’t just a great song!
The lodge went into lockdown and we all were very safe while the game wardens took care of getting the lioness directed out of the lodge grounds. So, while we may not have gotten to go see the wildlife, we had some come to us. Once we got the all clear, we had a lovely dinner before turning in early or risk missing the 5:45 a.m. wake up call to get us out for the morning reserve drive. Here’s hoping no early morning lightning and lots of animals in their natural habitat pictures in tomorrow’s update!
Our main correspondent for Walt Disney World and the Orlando area and a heck of a paleontologist if he does say so himself.