Day 1 – March 6, 2010
Due to yesterday’s weather conditions in Europe (in the evening we had snow again!), we started with a delay. The flight was a bit bumpy during the first hours and arrival at Johannesburg International was an hour later than scheduled.
It was great to be in South Africa again, to see blue sky and the sun after the hard winter months we had at home. Passport control, baggage claim – all is very efficient now at the modern International Airport! 45 minutes after leaving the plane we were already at the car rental station! With a nearly new car we left the airport on our way to Pretoria.
And then SO had a stupid idea. Instead of driving directly to our friend’s place he wanted to buy a few things in his favourite shopping mall in Pretoria. On the way to the mall there was a terrible traffic jam. It’s always better to avoid Saturdays in the begin of a month for shopping when all people had enough money in their pockets and like to spend it! We took the next possible opportunity to get out of this traffic jam and drove directly to the guesthouse of our friend Rosi.
The guesthouse is in a quiet part of Pretoria not far from the Botanical Garden. Rosi had invited us for lunch. We were sitting together in the lapa, eating, drinking, relaxing! The birds were singing in the garden. It was a fantastic start for a holiday.
CB - still with wet hair after swimming in the pool!
One of the birds you can find in Rosi's garden: a Crested Barbet.Day 2 – March 7, 2010
It was fine to wake up with the sounds of birds! After breakfast we said good-bye to Rosi and drove to Nelspruit. We had booked a room in our favourite hotel and after a short rest we met forumite Fanta at the BP-garage. Fanta had invited us to accompany her to the Second Chance Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre where she is volunteering one day per week. The Centre is situated between Nelspruit and White River.
The mission of Second Chance is to provide care and rehabilitation to ill, injured, and/or orphaned wildlife - especially those that have been negatively affected by human activities - with the goal of returning them to the wild. Frith Douglas who is leading the Centre is caring lovingly for all the animals. When we arrived there it was just feeding time. During our visit to the Centre we saw Servals, Banded Mongooses, Side-striped Jackals, Bushbabies, a Red Duiker, a Baby Bushbuck, Vervet Monkeys and tiny baby birds!
We were really fascinated to see Zorie, a Striped Polecat
! Zorillas are strictly nocturnal carnivores. So it would be difficult to spot them in KNP.
Thank you very much, Frith and Fanta, for inviting us to see Second Chance!
After our visit to the Centre we had dinner with Fanta in a nice restaurant in Nelspruit. Since that evening SO – normally a wine drinker - knows what a Black Label is. He tried it several times during our stay in South Africa. Fanta, it was really a pleasure to meet you! Thanks for all!