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Cape to Kruger and a Waterfall

a travel blog by craigandcorrine

We are off on another trip! We back to the fantastic continent of Africa, this time we are starting in Cape Town then travelling by car up to Port Elizabeth over a several days then getting our safari on in Kruger, from there up to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe where we will say bye to Craig's parents and brother. We will continue on to Livingstone in Zambia where we will be volunteering for two weeks in a school and orphanage.
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The Preparation

Perth, Australia

We are five days away from leaving on a big jet plane to Africa. This time we are taking Craig's parents Tracy and Bruno and his younger brother Marc with us.. We thought we might need some big cat bait!!

Over the last couple of months in preparation for our volunteering stint in Zambia we have organised morning teas and had a hot roast beef roll night at our place to raise funds to buy much needed items for the school. We have been astounded by the generosity of our friends, family and work colleagues. THANKS GUYS!!

After many months of planning you would think that we are all ready to hop on to that plane, well you would be wrong. Even though we have had our immunisations and our safari suits are all ready to be packed we still need to do just that, along with 40 Australian rules footballs, 15 basketballs plus some t-ball gear and a bunch of other bits and pieces of sporting equipment.

Now to finish getting ready for our big trip, next on the list pick up our plane tickets!

See you in Cape Town!

PS Don't forget to leave your comments or crazy ideas for photo suggestions. If you leave a suggestion for a crazy photo for example different poses, we will try and do it and put it up next time!

permalink written by  craigandcorrine on October 13, 2011 from Perth, Australia
from the travel blog: Cape to Kruger and a Waterfall
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The Journey

Singapore, Singapore

Every journey has its hurdles.. Our first hurdle was when Craig's brother Marc couldn't find his passport less than 24 hours before we were meant to fly out! After a full scale search of three different houses it was finally located and everyone breathed a big sigh of relief.. Marc needed to be there, what else are we going to feed the lions with!

Our second hurdle was it seemed no matter how hard we tried and how we packed our cases and the boxes of donated sports equipment we could not get everything in and come close to our weight limit. Thanks to Craig's parents who came to the rescue and packed the extra stuff.

The third hurdle was when our luggage still came in heavier than what we were allowed. We all had our fingers crossed that the person checking our luggage in was compassionate to our cause and would let it go through. Our crossed fingers did the trick and there was no extra charge.

We were finally on our way! The flight to Singapore was a dream flight, not many people on the plane so we were able to spread out. The stopover at Changi airport went relatively quickly with a visit to the Butterfly Garden and a quick bite to eat. The second leg of the journey we were not quite as lucky, with the flight being packed! Corrine had her knee caps almost shattered when the man in front could not work out his chair and rammed it back.. This was even before takeoff. It was a long flight.

We eventually made it to our destination after one of the longest journeys that either of us have ever taken. We were rewarded with the beautiful scene that is Cape Town and with renewed energy we all looked forward to what laid ahead of us!

permalink written by  craigandcorrine on October 20, 2011 from Singapore, Singapore
from the travel blog: Cape to Kruger and a Waterfall
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A Big Table

Cape Town, South Africa

After spending three days in Cape Town I think it is safe to say it is one of the most pretty cities that we have visited. The views from Table Mountain looking down on the city and out to the Atlantic Ocean and the view from the city up to Table Mountain, Lion's Head and Signal Hill and the surrounding mountains are equally as breath taking. Put that together with tasty wines and a fantastic water front, (for those at home think a cross between the restaurants at Hillarys Boat Harbour and the working harbour of Fremantle but bigger and you get an idea.) Cape Town is a great place to visit!

Cape Town was not all smooth sailing unfortunately. Our hotel that we were meant to stay at was having an issue with the hot water system. There was no hot water! Everything else was fantastic there though. To the hotel's credit they moved us to another hotel free of charge, they went above and beyond though and moved all five of us to The Westin which is a part of the recently built Cape Town International Convention Centre. But for those of you who come to Cape Town we highly recommend Hollow on the Square.

There were two clear highlights of the Trip to the Cape, for those who know Corrine it would come as no surprise that one of her highlights was the wine! Even Craig's mum who likes to declare herself as a non drinker even got in on the act. We are even hoping that we can get one of the bottles home to share with Nathan and Mel!! When people think of South Africa wine is probably not on the forefront of their minds but if you enjoy a drop or two Cape Town should definitely be on your list to visit.

The other highlight is quite understandably Table Mountain and the surrounds. A trip here is not complete with out a trip up to the very flat peak. Once up there the views were spectacular. Unfortunately the "Table" is often covered up with a "Table Cloth" a think blanket of cloud. Luckily the day we chose to go us was the day the sky was the most clear.

One thing that stands out in Cape Town is the devastating effect that the apartheid had on the town. There are still areas of the town that have not finished rebuilding since almost everything was demolished in District Six. Hopefully in the coming years this can be rectified and the town can be rebuilt.

We are leaving today for Hermanus and will be sad to leave behind Cape Town and all her friendly citizens including the little rabbit like creature called a dassie that is the closest living animal to an elephant.

permalink written by  craigandcorrine on October 22, 2011 from Cape Town, South Africa
from the travel blog: Cape to Kruger and a Waterfall
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Hermanus... Strange name great place.

Hermanus, South Africa

We said goodbye to Cape Town and made our way to Hermanus (for those of you playing at home it is said Her-mar-nes) via The Cape of Good Hope, or as we called it “The Cape of Goodness me it is Windy I hope I don't blow away.” We still cannot figure out if the two and a half hour detour was worth it or not. We did tick off the obligatory photos in front of the sign that told everyone the co-ordinates of where they were along with the other tourists. The best thing about the visit was when a lady asking Craig if he could take her photo was almost knocked off her feet by the wind into him. I would not recommend taking small children here as they may get picked up by an updraft and blown out to sea... On the other hand if you are on holidays and want to get rid of your pesky kids The Cape of Good Hope would be a perfect place to take them.

Feeling slightly wind blown we hopped into the car for our journey to Hemanus, we were treated with spectacular scenery of where the Atlantic Ocean meets the rocky cliffs. We drove along the cliffs and felt like we were in one of those emails you get of dangerous roads.. We saw some ostriches and even had to slow down for baboons. Baboons have no fear of cars it seems and will take their sweet time in getting out of the way. We were all on the look out for whales playing close in to shore but were not lucky enough to see any.

Once in Hermanus we were blown away by the bed and breakfast were we were to spend the night. It was amazing. It was just like being at home but only better! All the rooms overlooked the ocean and the cliffs. The owners there have done a really amazing job. It made us want to retire and open our own B&B there. It would be great to go back and spend a few nights there.

One thing that we were hoping to do was Great White Cage Diving, we unfortunately didn't get the chance as when we went to book the weather forecasts all said that there was going to be bad off shore storms and all the companies had canceled the trips at that stage, We are still holding a bit of a grudge against the weather man for being wrong and denying us a chance with the big fish when the weather turned out to be fine! Oh Well there is no use on dwelling on things that could have been, we still have a great adventure ahead of us.

Next Stop – Mossel Bay!

permalink written by  craigandcorrine on October 24, 2011 from Hermanus, South Africa
from the travel blog: Cape to Kruger and a Waterfall
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Mossel Bay, South Africa

We set off to Mossel Bay from Hermanus, this was to be our longest road trip and all just to get to the begining of The Garden Route.

There is not a huge amount to report on this particular leg of the journey other than having to stop for some more baboons which is quite the novelty for us.

Even that night we didn't really do much other than get a free shuttle bus to a restaurant, something I think they should do at home.

Next stop Knysna!

permalink written by  craigandcorrine on October 25, 2011 from Mossel Bay, South Africa
from the travel blog: Cape to Kruger and a Waterfall
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Knysna, a geyser and a few elephants!

Knysna, South Africa

The higlight of our trip along The Garden Route happened in Knysna. While here it was Craig's parents Tracy and Bruno's 30th Wedding anniversary. We had planned a pretty awesome Surprise for them (even if we do say so ourselves) We organised an exclusive sunset walk with elephants at Knysna Elephant Park. After feeding them with the rest of the group we got to hang around and have extra cuddles (well as much as you can cuddle a four tonne giganton elephant!) and pats and got to walk with them before they bedded down for the night. The experience was incredible and left us lost for words. After the ellies were in bed we got our own private dinner and just reminisced about what we had just experienced.

The fun didn't end there!! Once back at the guest lodge Corrine somehow managed with the strength of an elephant pull the shower tap out of the wall!! This left a giant hot water fountain coming out of the wall causing localised flooding to not only the bathroom but the bedroom and floor below when it seeped through the ceiling. Thankfully the owner was really good about it and got us into a different room that we are proud to say we didn't destroy. No photos were captured at this event.

The next day a sheepish Corrine and the rest of the crew headed towards [[South-Africa/Jeffrey's-Bay]] with a quick stop at Monkey Land and Tenikwa Cat Sanctuary where we got up and close to cheetahs!

Our next big stop will occur at Kruger National Park. See you then!!

permalink written by  craigandcorrine on October 26, 2011 from Knysna, South Africa
from the travel blog: Cape to Kruger and a Waterfall
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Hazyview, South Africa

We got to Port Elizabeth without any dramas to catch our two flights to get to The Sabi Sands Game Reserve which is a part of the Greater Kruger National Park which is where we were to spend the next four nights.

Our flight was delayed in Johannesburg which in fact turned out to be a blessing as there was a slight hiccup and we left some things on the plane from Port Elizabeth. Thankfully we were able to get them back.

After a rather bumpy ride into Kruger/Mpumulunga International Airport we were almost at our destination, just another hour and a half bumpy car ride separated us from the animals. You could feel the excitement in the car with Marc and Tracy both snoozing away and everyone else other than the driver fighting with their eyelids to stay open.

Once at Inyati we were welcomed with spectacular views of a heard of elephants grazing not so far away. It was an amazing sight for us who had been there before but even more so for the others who did not know what to expect. A quick refresher and some afternoon tea we were ready for the first game drive.

Every game drive we went on offered a new adventure from leopards in trees, lion cubs playing, sundowner drinks with rhinos walking past through to seeing nature at work with a buffalo being a meal for lions first, then vultures and hyenas.

Whilst on the drives, we had Piet as our guide and Nelson as our tracker, who also were our guide and tracker on our previous visit. Time and time again these guys were able to track and locate many animals, the list of animals was very extensive but the highlights were the big 5, zebra and giraffe. During the quieter time during the middle of the day Craig went for an afternoon jog with Piet through the park.

The first morning drive after a awesome thunderstorm, we headed out only a few hundred metres from camp and the car was stopped. Nelson had spotted some tracks, a leopard dragging an impala. Following the tracks we come across where the leopard had dragged its kill, only to find lion tracks leaving the area. Later on we found the lions basking in the sun after they had enjoyed the remainder of the impala.

We had some great people join us on our drives including Peta and Manfred from Germany.

This post could go on forever but we are now in J'burg heading to Victoria Falls.

See you in Victoria Falls!

permalink written by  craigandcorrine on October 30, 2011 from Hazyview, South Africa
from the travel blog: Cape to Kruger and a Waterfall
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Finally the Waterfall!

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

We arrived in Victoria Falls without any dramas but were in for quite a shock when we landed though. Victoria Falls International Airport is the smallest airport we have been to. When we landed we were greeted with 37 Degree Celsius heat, then we herded towards immigration and customs like cattle. Even in big flash airports you feel like cattle waiting to go through but when the airport is no more than a shed with a couple of ceiling fans... Well you get the picture.

Once at the hotel we were welcomed with iced tea and a cold towel. After settling in we hit the pool, AHH BLISS! We then dragged ourselves out of the pool to get ready for a sundowner cruise along the Zambezi. Then we found out that we had our days mixed up and the cruise was not until the next night. Disappointed that we dragged ourselves out of the pool for nothing we walked down the main street (which also seems to be the only street in Victoria Falls) to have a look whilst dodging all the illegal street hawkers trying to sell their dodgy wares.

After an early night we got up early to go white water rafting down the Mighty Zambezi. From all accounts it is the best white water rafting in the world and we conquered it. We were all feeling pretty smug that we hadn't capsized and made it through grade 5 rapids, then we saw the climb up!! Our smugness was soon gone. The 2km walk up a 250m high gorge in 40 degree Celsius heat was an absolute killer! It took about 45minutes to climb up but at the time it felt a lot longer. That night we relaxed while having a few drinks cruising down the top of the Zambezi whilst taking the sights of hippos wallowing, an elephant and a magnificent sunset.

The next day we hobbled like a bunch of grannies to see what we had come to see. The Victoria Falls. The sight was breathtaking but unfortunately there was so much mist from the falls around we were unable to get any decent photos of one of the wonders of the world. It would be a sight to see in the wet season when the falls are at their peak!

After a quick dip in the hotel pool there was no time for relaxing as we had to head out for some serious adventure! We were picked up and soon after and taken to one of the gorges to go flying foxing, zip lining and gorge swinging! Gorge swinging is not as "adult club" as it sounds. It is similar to bungee jumping although you are strapped in at the waist. You then jump and free fall for about 100 metres, the rope then catches you and swing through the gorge! The flying fox was 200 metres above the gorge as was the zip line.

After the action packed days we said our farewells to Tracy, Bruno and Marc and we are heading on to Zambia where we will be volunteering at a community school for two weeks.

See you in Zambia!

permalink written by  craigandcorrine on November 3, 2011 from Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
from the travel blog: Cape to Kruger and a Waterfall
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Pool with a view

Livingstone, Zambia

We made our way from Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe to Livingstone in Zambia. What a crazy journey! It only took about 45minutes all up, including going through immigration in Zambia but it was a crazy 45 minutes and a little bit nerve wracking too.

The trip took two different taxis. One to get us to the Zimbabwean border and then another to cross the bridge to the Zambian boarder. Leading up to the bridge there were a load of trucks and their drivers finalising their last bits of paperwork before heading into Zambia. There was quite a queue lining up but that could have also been because only one truck is allowed onto the bridge at any one time.

Once on the bridge our taxi driver had to weave in and out of people making their way to the other country. Cars did not seem to be staying on their side of the road. People on bikes loaded up with with so many things your wonder how they can actually push the pedals. Once we got to the other side that is where the fun began.

As soon as we got out of the taxi people were trying to grab our bags to help us and make a quick buck at the same time. We were able to fend nearly everyone off. It also seems that people here do not have respect for people's personal space. Either that or they are just really nosy! While showing our passports to guy in immigration the people were standing so close behind us they could have read the passports. It wasn't only the people behind us the people behind them got really close too. The guy going over all our paper work was not phased by this. He was too busy chatting to his friends on Facebook! After what seemed like forever we were finally issued the appropriate visa for volunteering in the country, charged $50 each (a figure he just seemed to make up out of the blue, although he did give us a receipt) stamped our passports. Then went back to Facebook, probably telling his friends that drinks were on him as he had just duped two Australians out of $50 each!

We finally me our contact and driver while we are here and headed to the backpackers that will be home for the next two weeks.

We have had a quick look at the school but we will tell you more about that later when we have some more to talk about.

On Saturday night we went out to dinner at a little Italian restaurant called Olga's Italian Corner. All the staff their come from disadvantaged backgrounds. People who did not have access to schooling when they were younger so have no skills now. Olga's teaches them about the hospitality trade, (something Livingstone is not short of considering the many tourists about.) cooking and even carpentry. They are even opening a guest lodge and make a pretty good pizza. You can check them out at www.olgasproject.com. It was nice to see how eating out can make a difference.

Today we went for a swim... Going for a swim, that's pretty boring you say.. Well it just wasn't any swim. We went swimming on top of Victoria falls itself. We went by jet boat to Livingstone Island and then for a short swim and walk out to the little pool named Devil's Pool and then took a big leap of faith into the water where we found ourselves right on the edge of the waterfall with only a natural ledge made of rock stopping us from going over. It was amazing to see the rainbows that the mist forms from such a birds eye point of view. We both did the jump without to much hesitation. We were both more nervous going gorge swinging than jumping off a rock metres away from the largest waterfall in the world. It was such a exhilarating experience. Once back on dry land we enjoyed a fantastic lunch on Livingstone Island. Hopefully the photos do what we did some justice and you can see how silly we both really are!

We start our first full week at the school tomorrow so will hopefully have something to tell you at the end of the week. In the meantime if we have anymore crazy adventures we will be sure to tell you about them.

See you all later.

permalink written by  craigandcorrine on November 7, 2011 from Livingstone, Zambia
from the travel blog: Cape to Kruger and a Waterfall
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Volunteering at Linda Community School - Week 1

Linda, Zambia

It has now been a full week of volunteering at Linda Community School. If we said we have loved every minute of it so far, that would be a big, fat. hot and sweaty lie! It has been pretty tough. Both physically and emotionally. The only thing that we would change would be the heat though. It is getting to about 45 degrees Celsius. The school doesn't have any cooling system in place including fans.

We we got to the school on Monday we glad we had worn our walking shoes. The first thing we did was go for a walk to see how some of the children lived. One child lives an hour walk from the school and sleeps in a tiny little mud and straw hut that he has to share with his brother. The hut would be about half the size of a disabled toilet cubicle you would find in a shopping centre. His three sisters share a slightly bigger hut that is also the kitchen. There is no electricity and closest source of water is about a kilometre and a half away at the communal pump. This pump also occasionally breaks so the village is has no real access to water when that happens. The pump was not working for a couple of days this week. When that is the case the school attendance drops dramatically until people are able to access water again.

The school is lucky that it has its own water pump so the children have access to water all day. This pump also provides half of the community with water too.

A lot of the children at the school are orphans who are being cared for by relatives. One child is being cared for by his uncle who is only 21 himself. Not only has he cared for this boy by himself since we was 15 he also has a small farm that is his only source of income. The children only go to school for half a day so that they can work for the other half and help their parents or relatives if they need to. The kids might be put to work on the small farms, collecting firewood to sell or even crushing rock in extreme heat that is sold by the wheelbarrow full for the equivalent of $1.

It sounds as if these kids live a pretty bleak existence but they all come to school with bright smiles and are ready to learn. When asking the kids what they want to be when they grow up their answers are the same as kids in Australia. They want to be pilots, soldiers, teachers, nurses and farmers when they grow up.

For the next couple of weeks the school is a couple of teachers short for various reasons. There are no substitute teachers so we have been given the grade six class to teach. The high light of the day for both them and us would have to be the sport. This week they learned how to kick an Australian Rules footy. There are some kids that there that I imagine talent scouts would take a keen interest in. They seem to be naturals. Today they played T-Ball... Well a very modified rules version. It must have been quite a sight as we gathered a pretty strong crowd of kids and adults from the community. It was great fun. The Wombat Team beat the Platypus Team.

This week did not come with out any dramas though. There was in fact a Malaria scare that involved taking Corrine to the doctors clinic. It turned out to just be a cold which she had tried to tell people but no one was taking any chances and two injections in the backside later. One of them just in case it was very early stages of Malaria and not registering yet and another for the nausea (probably caused by the incredible heat) The trip to the clinic was quite an adventure. We both thought were seeing things when a cat came strolling out of one of the examination rooms into the waiting area and out of the door. There was also a dog just wandering around. It did make us wonder if we were in fact at a veterinary clinic instead of a human one. At least all is good and we do have a bit of a story to tell. Isn't that what traveling is about?

We are off to Botswana for the weekend so we will surely have a tale to tell after that.

See you soon.

permalink written by  craigandcorrine on November 11, 2011 from Linda, Zambia
from the travel blog: Cape to Kruger and a Waterfall
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