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Ron Virmani Visiting mandela’s land- part i -the african safari

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South Africa contains some of the oldest archaeological and human fossil sites in the world – some 4 million years old.  Some thousand years ago, Bantu speaking people conqueredand absorbed the Khoi Khoi and San people.  The Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Diasdiscovered the Cape point in 1488. In 1652, Dutch East India Company established a stopover in the Cape of Good Hope on their way to trading with the East – India, China and Indonesia. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Ron Virmani Visiting mandela’s land- part i -the african safari


1
Visiting mandelas land- part i -the african
safari
2
  • It must have been fortuitous that I booked a
    vacation trip to South Africa on November 23 and
    spent about two weeks there, the last two weeks
    in the life of Nelson Mandela.
  • Since I went to Ecuador last year with STI
    (Singles Travel International) and had a good
    time, I chose the same company again.  I flew
    from Charlotte to Atlanta and took a 15 hour
    Delta flight to Johannesburg (also known as
    Joberg), the largest city in the nation of South
    Africa.
  • South Africa, a.k.a. Mzansi, is one big country,
    stretching 1200 miles N-S and 1000 miles E-W.
    South Africa is a country of 50 million people
    and is fascinating on many different levels.
  • South Africa contains some of the oldest
    archaeological and human fossil sites in the
    world some 4 million years old.  Some thousand
    years ago, Bantu speaking people conqueredand
    absorbed the Khoi Khoi and San people.  The
    Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Diasdiscovered the
    Cape point in 1488. In 1652, Dutch East India
    Company established a stopover in the Cape of
    Good Hope on their way to trading with the East
    India, China and Indonesia.

3
  • The British, the Dutch and the French colonized
    the country and defeated the native Bantu
    speaking population - Xhosa and the Zulu.  Many
    wars and conflicts took place.  The Dutch
    imported slaves. The Europeans instituted the
    policy of Apartheid.  Nelson Mandela (a Xhosa)
    was jailed for 27 years because of this.  But in
    1994, the apartheid finally ended and he became
    the first President of South Africa.  Now back to
    Johannesburg!
  • DAY 1 Arrival in Johannesburg
  • After reaching Joberg on November 24, I checked
    into the Hotel and met up with fellow STI
    travelers and the tour guide, Chris, a white
    young man of obvious Dutch heritage.  He spoke
    English and Afrikaans, a language of Dutch
    extraction. We were at Emperors palace.This was
    an upscale Roman theme complex of several hotels,
    a shopping mall, a casino and many restaurants.
     We mingled, ate dinner and went to bed.  

4
  • Day 2 Madikwe Safari Lodge
  • Next morning after breakfast, we took a 50 minute
    charter flight on a puddle jumper to Madikwe game
    reserve, named after the Madiqwe river.  As we
    got to the reserve, two huge Safari jeeps pulled
    upby the side of the commuter plane on the
    airstrip.  Billy and Daniel were driving these
    jeeps.  They were going to be our safari guides
    for the next 3 days.  We drove to the Madikwe
    safari lodge, about 10 minutes away and saw
    giraffes and impalas on the way.  The lodge was
    surrounded by an electric fence to keep big game
    out of the lodge area.

5
  • At the lodge, we were greeted most cheerfully and
    offered welcome drinks.  Then we were taken to
    our huts.  The huts were spacious, with a small
    dipping pool on the back porch of each hut.  Huts
    also had outdoor showers on the back porch
    looking over the vast game reserve and the
    giraffes walking by.
  • At 4 pm, we had high tea and got into our jeeps
    for our first safari adventure.  Soon we came
    upon a pride of lions that had made a kill of a
    wilderbeast and were feasting on it.  We spotted
    black-back jackals who were waiting patiently for
    any scraps that might be left.

6
  • Later, we saw elephants and a rhino.  Rhinos are
    either black or white.  We passed by a watering
    hole and saw several birds including egrets,
    herons and Egyptian geese.  Roadrunner birds were
    always crossing the road in front of us with
    their cute and clownish gate.
  • In the evening, we stopped the jeeps and got down
    for some cocktails.  Having a snack in the middle
    of African wilderness with a backdrop of
    multi-color sunset was very thrilling.  Coming
    back to the lodge, the guide spotted a chameleon
    and picked it up to show us.
  • We came back to our lodge by dusk.  We had to
    have a guide escort us to our rooms after 7 pm.
     The footpath to the rooms was narrow and
    completely dark.  The guide had a flashlight,
    though.  All the bugs were out in full force.
     Centipedes, dung beetles, millipedes, scorpions,
    etc. were in the way.  We also spotted a snake.  

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  • The dinner was a Boma experience.  A bonfire
    was lit in the open under the stars.  Table was
    set up with candles for dinner.  A great number
    of termites with wings were flying around.  The
    native guides demonstrated how to catch them and
    roast them to snack on.  Some of us enjoyed that
    experience.  
  • Dinner included many meats including Impala.  We
    went to bed around 10 pm.
  • DAY 3 AND 4 Two full days of Safari
  • We would wake up at 5 AM, have coffee, juice or
    tea in the morning with light snack and set out
    for safari by 6.  It was summer time in Africa
    now.  Animals were more visible in the mornings
    and evenings.  We would see the animals from 6 am
    to 9 am.  Then we would stop in the jungle for a
    small snack, juice or something.  We would come
    back to lodge around 10 am. 

10
  • One of the aims of safari is to see the Big 5
    in their natural habitat.  These are the most
    dangerous animals to hunt.  They are lion,
    leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo.  We were
    not able to see a leopard but saw all the other
    animals many many times. Breakfast was served
    around 10 am in the lodge.  Then we would rest
    and have lunch around 1-2 pm.  At 4 pm, there was
    the high tea.  This would be followed by
    afternoon safari and then cocktails in the middle
    of jungle by the time of sunset.  Then we would
    return to the lodge and have dinner around 9 pm.
  • On day 3, we again saw a pride of lions with a
    fresh kill.  Two lions were seen mating.  As you
    may know, lions mate for 3-4 days at one stretch,
    every 30 minutes, a total of about 200 times.  We
    came across a herd of elephants drinking at a
    watering hole.  Baby elephants are the cutest
    things.  They stick to their mothers.

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  • An elephant eats about 500 lbs of vegetation in a
    day and lives about 65 years.  They use their
    tusks to manipulate the branches of trees.  
  • In the evening, dark clouds came along with a
    bunch of rhinos, both white and black.  These
    names are confusing because both types are about
    the same dark color.  It started raining but
    cleared up.  We drove to see 4 cheetahs.  The
    jeeps were often within 20-30 feet of lions,
    elephants, cheetahs etc.  
  • We also saw giraffes, zebras and wilderbeasts.
     The dinner this night was inside the lodge and
    less buggy.
  • On day 4, we set out to see a pack of wild dogs.
     There were about 20 in number, mostly sleeping
    or resting and they totally insulted me by not
    taking much notice of the presence of our jeeps
    within about 20 feet.
  • We encountered a herd of elephants with several
    cute babies and adolescents.  About 6 lions were
    resting on the other side hoping to nab a baby
    elephant or something.  But the elephants charged
    at the lions and ran them off in different
    directions. 

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  • Elephants came across the puddle of water in the
    middle of the road and used their trunks to spray
    themselves with the mud.  Coating of mud protects
    them from sun exposure and parasites.
  • We went to the watering hole and saw the birds
    again.  At one point, we spotted a lion who
    wanted to make a kill off a herd of wilderbeasts,
    but a Kudu, an antelope, saw him coming and
    started howling loudly so the wilderbeasts ran
    away from the scene.  We saw many mounds of
    termites in the jungle, each about 4-5 feet tall.
     Most vegetation was thorny.

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  • DAY 4 - THE BUSHWALK
  • Around noon on day 4, I went with the safari
    guide and Chris for a bushwalk.  This means not
    sitting in a jeep but being on foot.  I felt very
    vulnerable and scared.  I knew I could not outrun
    any animals. The safari guide had a ready loaded
    gun.  We set out single file in 90 degree
    scorching sun.
  • We spotted elephants about 75 yards away.  We
    spotted warthogs and rhinos.  Giraffes looked at
    us suspiciously.  The zebras ran away.  We picked
    up a tortoise.  Luckily, the animals were not
    terribly bothered by us and did not bother us.
  • In the evening, we saw buffalos.  At another
    point, we saw two Impalas fight a duel, probably
    over a female.  Throughout these days, we kept
    seeing many elephants, Impalas, waterbooks and
    other animals in the wild.  Scrub hares would
    always be scurrying around in the evenings.

17
  • In 3 days of safari, we learned a lot about
    animals, birds and plants.  We learned to
    recognize white rhino poop from elephant poop
    from buffalo poop.  We played with Impala poop
    pellets by holding a contest about who could spit
    them the farthest!  Alas, I lost!
  • Again, the dinner was Boma, ostrich as one of
    the meats offered. 
  • DAY 5 MORNING SAFARI THEN TO JOBERG
  • We spotted Klipspringers on the slopes of a
    mountain.  In an open area, a bunch of
    wilderbeasts and baboons were roaming and
    feeding.  We saw Springboks, which are the
    national animal of South Africa.  Later in the
    tour, they were on dinner menu.  We headed back
    to the lodge.  I saw a large snake run into its
    hideout.  Probably a Mamba!  

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  • Around 11 am, we finished our memorable Safari
    tour and took our charter flight back to
    Johannesburg.  Little did I know that thousands
    of dignitaries from different countries would
    soon be assembling here to pay homage to Nelson
    Mandela.  I am reminded of an incident in May of
    1893 when Mahatma Gandhi boarded a train from
    Pretoria to Durban with a first class ticket but
    was thrown out of the first class coach by an
    Englishman. 
  • I feel grateful that people like Mandela and
    Gandhi have fought against discrimination and
    made this world a better place.  I have had to
    fight discrimination myself in the US.  Please
    see www.novantracism.com
  • I plan to write about the second part of my trip
    later.  Ubuntu!  (Which is Bantu for human
    kindness).
  • Dr Ron Virmani  Visit online Resource to know
    more about other travel destination by Dr Ron A
    Virmani .

20
  • Visit below link for Part 2
  • Dr Ron Virmani - VISITING MANDELAS LAND- PART
    II WHALE-WATCHING CAPETOWN
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