A day of travelling started at 5 pm on 8th May, as we left our house to drive to the airport. My concerns with regard to the limitations on cabin baggage came true as my camera bag was weighed on check-in and deemed too heavy! OK, I'd rather over done it with ensuring I had all the equipment I needed for most eventualities, but it was still a heart stopping moment with the thought of the bag needing to be checked into the hold. Luckily with a bit of juggling of contents between our two bags, and the use of the voluminous pockets of my jacket, the problem was overcome and we headed for the departure lounge.
Our first flight was to Dubai, through the night. It proved uneventful, save for being our first experience of an A380 double decker, including a full flight of stairs between the two decks.
We had a two hour stop over in Dubai, which, according to the pilot was experiencing typical hazy conditions for the time of year at a barmy 38 deg C! Other than for a brief period walking from the plane along the skyway, we were immune to the heat, cocooned within the vast terminal building. Through security, we settled down to a short wait for the next flight down to Johannesburg. The only bit of drama surrounded my failure to pick up my headphones after we came through security. A mad dash back to the area, enquiries with various people and the relief on being handed the small case, completed a fretful few minutes.
Our second flight, again in an A380, was also uneventful. Slightly longer than the first, we were delayed for take off by one of the other passengers falling ill and needing to the taken from the plane for medical assistance. It necessitated her suitcase having to be extracted from the hold, so we started the next leg of the journey an hour late.
We finally arrived into Johannesburg airport at 5 pm local time, 23 hours after starting our journey. Unfortunately, that wasn't the end of the travelling as we were met by Peter (in the picture), who was driving us to the reserve. It took a while to realise that the vehicle was recording everything in kilometres, as we sped along the motorway at 140! Even after a rough calculation of 90 mph it still seemed that he was going to get us there as soon as possible! When he continued at similar speeds along the dual carriageways and single lanes roads, it only emphasised how far we still had to travel. Our final section was slower, but no less sedate as we left the tarmac road and bounced up a dirt track to our final destination.
This was the entrance to the reserve, with Peter opening the gate. I resisted the temptation to provide the ubiquitous plane shot from the terminal, though I was tempted to show you the infographic of the plane flying above Baghdad, Mosul and Basra!
We were met by Leanne, offered food, which we gratefully accepted, though not before a quick shower. The lodge is a little oasis within the wilderness and I'll probably introduce it to you over the next few days. It was then off to bed!
ps. (I'm now writing this up on the morning after the 28 hours of travelling). It has just become light (6:30 am). I'm restricted to the lodge area so no sunrise images this morning, but as I sit here typing, the birds have started to sing and I've heard an occasional guttural roar from the wildlife around us. The camera is at the ready for a fascinating few days.)
pps Ouch, the internet connection is slow! I'm having to use this basic uploader to get things going here, so I'd better make sure the subject is in the middle of every posted image as there's no choosing of the thumbnail crop!