Today is a bit of a shock to the system. We are back in CT but the temperature on landing was 12 degrees versus the 36 degrees when we left. There is synergy in there somewhere but just not sure what it is.
We left this morning at 6am as we had to drive from Letaba out of the Park and then down to the Kruger International Airport. The GPS said it would take 4.5 hours but I know what the roads and traffic are like so we gave ourselves a little more time. We didn’t see much on the road out of the Park (we exited at the Phalaborwa gate). However after driving for an hour Chloe exclaimed that she had left her cellphone under the pillow of the bed! Heart sinking moment. Quick decision needed as well – turn back and risk missing the flight or carry straight on and hope we could get it back some other way. Initially I did a U-turn to head back but Michael & Helen pointed out that adding 2 hours to the journey would mean we would risk missing the flight. So another U-turn and back on the original route.
Helen managed to find the Letaba Camp number and as we had cellphone signal we called them. They put her through to lost property who said they would check and we should call again in an hour. That was just after we exited the park and Helen called back and they said they had found the cellphone and would return it to us. The logistics of how we get it back still need to be sorted out but at least we can get it back (it is not a cheap one so definitely worth getting it back). We were REALLY impressed with the staff at KNP and how they handled this. It is SO pleasing to get service like this and for the honesty of the cleaning staff to return it to us as well. If only more South African’s didn’t conduct themselves like that.
We did stop at Hoedspruit for a quick Wimpy breakfast. Fortunately they have re-tarred most of the road now from Phalaborwa to White River. No more swallow-your-car potholes. There are still the usual hazards of pedestrians and cows though. At one stage we had to stop in a 120 km/h zone as a few cows we just standing in the road. It didn’t seem like they were going anywhere until a truck hooted (honked for the Americans) and drove right at them and that did the trick. Helen said “Only in Africa”. We also did see another “Only in Africa” thing – the Mpumulanga Premier racing past with police escort, flashing lights etc. He has a bigger escort than the Prime Minister of the UK has. I wonder how much is necessity and how much is ego?!
We got to the airport about 2 hours ahead of our flight. It would have made it VERY tight if we had turned around to retrieve Chloe’s phone so it was probably the right decision to leave it and hope that we get it back via post. The flight was uneventful. We are back to the reality of daily life again. Our thoughts will drift back to the bush, animals, birds and hot weather. Africa is in our blood – all of us agree.
PS: Next trip … Bahama’s business trip. Helen coming along for the pleasure. Upcoming in November.