Saturday, January 8, 2011

Safari Gecko Style...

Our home away from home
Safari time! Suzanne drove us out into the threatening thunderstorm, across Johannesburg, and out to the small community of Pretoria. There we were to meet the other people on our tour, heading out into South Africa and through Zimbabwe. The great orange truck pictured here would be our roving home for the next 10 days. The Tawana Lodge, jumping off point for our tour, was a small, rustic lodge, set out in the middle of nowhere, leading to somewhere…or many somewhere as the case may be. We had been prepared for a group of at least 9 people, though we knew we could have as many as 22 on the trip. 
We were extremely surprised to discover there were to be only 5 of us on the trip! We came to the conclusion that the smaller trip made it because they needed the truck in Victoria Falls for the next, much larger, leg of the trip.
Misheck, Irvine and Clayton
Now…for the stars of our trip…I have to start with our guides…Misheck was our fearless leader – the one who filled us in with everything we needed to know, told us great stories and told us where to go. He has a great sense of humor and is a wonderful humanitarian. Clayton was our intrepid driver, over the mountains, through the rain, across the plains…you name it, he drove through it. I do believe the most daunting task was the paperwork from one country to the next! Irvine was our cook extraordinaire. It’s one thing to cook gourmet meals from the comfort of your own kitchen…he managed to create wonderful meals on camp stoves and wood fires. We had absolutely amazing food!
Nick and Tom
Our three companions all came from Australia – we wondered about that at first and then discovered that Gecko’s is an Australian company – seems that we were actually the novelty. Believe it or not…two of the three were lawyers! Nick is our official storyteller – I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who has had a more varied life than he has had. He kept us in stitches with his many tales, trials and tribulations. Tom is quiet and reserved, but if you want to know something about Africa, he’s the one to ask. He had spent time at university, studying African history and was a veritable gold mine of information. Jackie’s our third companion, another university student, on the eve of graduation, traveling across Africa while contemplating that final paper that is due (hmmm…seem to remember a trip across Europe a number of years ago…with the university waiting…) and where to go once she’s finished. Seems like we all have that question at one point or another.

Have to make an addition here...partway through the trip, Ruth from New Zealand originally but now living in England joined us. She had gone to a wedding and then joined up with our great team!
Food on the fire...delicious!
The bouncing, rolling, rocking, truck became our home as we made our way across the country, traveling mile after mile, or should I say kilometer after kilometer, trying to take pictures on the road (no, most of them did not come out), enjoying the scenery and the stories, reading books, basking in the air conditioned comfort (20-50 air conditioning…20 windows at 50 kmph), corralling the rolling water bottles and attempting to snooze during the hot afternoons. I’d suggest you refer back to the initial description…snoozing wasn’t easy. 

No comments:

Post a Comment