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Sunday, May 18, 2014

African Adventure 2014 - Transfer from Cape Town to Thornybush

We awoke to yet another beautiful morning in Camps Bay. After we finished packing, we checked out of our room and sat down to enjoy our last breakfast at Primi Royal. It was delicious as usual.

While we were eating breakfast, our driver, Jason, arrived to collect us and take us to the airport. Jason, like many of the local people we met, was born and raised in Cape Town. It certainly seemed like a fabulous place to grow up. During our drive, we were able to learn more about Cape Town and share a little about the US.

Once at the airport, we proceeded to check-in like any other airport. The differences occurred with security. While we do not expect other places to have the same security standards as the US, it was amazing how easy it was to get through. Basically, put things on conveyor belt, empty pockets and walk through metal detector. Ben forgot to take his watch off, so he tripped the alarm, resulting in a pat down by a friendly South African security guard.

Inside the terminal, we set off to find water. We dumped ours unnecessarily out of habit from flying in the US. Before long, we were boarding a bus to catch a ride to our "gate". We use gate loosely because it was more of a parking spot with a sign indicating which gate it was. Our jet was similar to many small regional jets, just big enough to fit relatively comfortably. Unlike the US, we were served a full lunch, despite it being only 2 hours in duration.

The airport in Nelspruit appeared much like you would expect an airport in the bush to look. It was relatively small (you walked in from the tarmac directly into the baggage claim) with a thatched roof. It was absolutely stunning, as airports go.

Our bags were some of the first ones off, but we were in conversation with another couple from the States, one of the first American we had encountered. Our driver, Edgar, was waiting outside the baggage claim for us and off we were on our 2.5 hour drive to Thornybush.

Somewhere in the planning, Kari did not realize we had an option to fly all the way to Thornybush versus fly into Nelspruit and drive the rest of the way. Edgar apologized for the route, but Ben said that he picked it, to everyone's surprise. Ben's rationale was that we were going to travel the same duration of time; however, in the car, we would be able to see things we may not get to see on the game reserve. Ben was right about that. Not only did we drive through several towns and villages, our travel agent scheduled a stop at the Marula Market. The Marula Market had a variety of artisans trading their wares along with dinner and cultural demonstrations. Unfortunately, we did not have much time to look around, or we would risk missing our first game drive. We quickly found a few items of interest and jumped back into the car to finish our journey. Edgar was a wealth of information; we learned a lot about the area and people during our drive.

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