Archive for April, 2008

Planning: Safari proposals

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

Okay… what part of “I want something different” is to hard to understand?

In my emails to various safari operators, I explained that I would be staying at the Zulu Nyala Heritage Lodge for my week in South Africa. And that I wanted something different for the rest of my time in Africa. I even suggested (my exact words): “I’d rather a tent-style experience than a “ho hum, this is another hotel, except it’s in Africa” experience.”

So why are the majority of folks who are responding to my inquiry suggesting that I should just love to stay in places that are very much like hotels, except they’re in the bush somewhere? I mean, I know I may be making a terrible blunder (my idea of roughing it is a Howard Johnson’s instead of a Hyatt Regency), but it seems to me that this is one time in my life when sleeping in a tent in an unfenced compound is exactly what I want to do…

Sigh… maybe somebody will respond with something closer to what I’m looking for…

Planning: 19 hours on a plane???

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

Let’s see here… we leave New York’s JFK airport at 5:20 p.m. on May 30th (Friday) and arrive Johannesburg, South Africa, at 5:00 p.m. on May 31st. Factoring in the time changes, that’s — give or take a few minutes — 19 hours on a plane. Then we stay overnight in Johannesburg, fly to Richards Bay on June 1, fly back to Johannesburg on June 7, and fly home on June 8.

No. I am not spending 19 hours on a plane, each way, for only a week in Africa. I have no idea how I’m going to pay for this, and no idea what else I’m going to do, but I am definitely staying in Africa longer than just one week.

Onto the web I go, and with a bit of research and some poking around, it seems to me that Botswana looks like a great place to go… with the Victoria Falls tacked on to the end. So emails are going out to a bunch of safari operators (mostly from the Botswana Tourism Office website) to see what else I can line up.

Nineteen hours on a plane? Okay, but for two weeks, maybe. Three would be even better…

Introduction: AFRICA!!!!

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

I’m going to Africa. I can hardly believe it. This is something I’ve wanted to do since I was, oh, perhaps five years old. And now, at the age of 57, I am going.

My older brother Evan and I had talked about going when he turns 65. But last fall, my niece — Evan’s daughter Gina — managed to buy a one-week package for four to South Africa at a charity auction. She and her cousin were the first two, then she chose her Dad as the third person, and, in a miracle for which I will be eternally grateful, Evan called and asked me if I wanted to be the fourth person. It took me, oh, roughly a nanosecond to say yes.

There were some stumbles in the initial planning phases. Another brother (my younger brother Fred) wanted to go as well, but we weren’t able to work out the logistics to add another person to the package. Then for a very long time, there weren’t any specifics as to when or even exactly where.

Finally, in late March, the details were set: leaving JFK in New York on the evening of May 30th, en route to Johannesburg, South Africa, arriving on May 31st. Staying overnight there before flying on to Richards Bay on June 1st. Then on to Zulu Nyala Heritage Safari Lodge at Hluhluwe, KwaZulu-Natal.

And the planning begins…