Our very young guest, Aditi Sivakumar, age 8, describes her recent trip to South Africa with wonderful eloquence.
The Start – Seattle to South Africa
On August 9th, 2016, we flew from Seattle to South Africa for vacation. It was our first time to the Africa continent. We took a flight to Amsterdam. Then we were planning to take a direct flight to South Africa. But, our flight from Amsterdam to South Africa left before we got to Amsterdam. Later, they sent us to Dubai. Then we took another flight to South Africa (Cape Town).
Cape Town (Day 1) – Table Mountain
When we got out of the airport, we went in a minivan to our hotel. After we checking in at the apartment hotel, we decided to take a double decker bus city tour. We got to sit on the top. As the bus climbed up the foothills of Table Mountain, we got a good view of Cape Town. Then we got on the gondola and went up and up until we reached the top of Table Mountain. When we were in the gondola, the gondola was turning. We could see the whole city and the Atlantic Ocean from up there. We took pictures. After that, we came down by the gondola and went to our hotel. We had a great day today!
Cape Town (Day 2) – Cape of Good Hope & Boulders Beach
Today, we took a rental car and drove to Cape of Good Hope. On the way, we saw baboons. We stopped the car to let them cross the road. On the way we past an ostrich farm. We went to Cape Point. I went to a lighthouse. After that, I went in a funicular train up and looked at the beautiful views. Then we went to Cape of Good Hope. It is the south western most point of Africa. Next we collected rocks and shells. After that, we went to Boulder Beach and saw a colony of penguins. We saw them in their houses. They waddle.
Cape Town (Day 3) – Hermanus
Today we went to Hermanus to see whales. Along the way, we saw many small towns overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The road climbed up the mountain and we could see the ocean. Then we came to Hermanus. We tried looking for whales but could not find any. So we went to the park! In the park, we played on see saws, monkey bars, swings and collected sand. Even though we did not see any whales, we had a good time.
Cape Town (Day 4) – V&A Waterfront
Today we went to V&A Waterfront mall because it was raining. We went shopping for souvenirs. When we came out of the mall, it was sunny and bright. So we played in the park, had ice cream and listened to a band playing music in front of the park.
Day 5 – Mango plane to Durban
Today we boarded a flight called Mango. It was for 1 hour. In the flight, I had hot chocolate and chips. I also read a book. Today we will start our safari…
Safari Day 1 – Thanda Private Reserve, KZN
From the Durban airport, we went in a minivan to Thanda Private Reserve. Our guide, Arlus, and guide, Madiwe, met us at the main gate. They took us in an open jeep to the lodge. After a short lunch, we changed into khaki clothes and went for our first game drive. First we saw a herd of impalas.
Then we saw a boy elephant and a grandpa elephant. They lifted the trees from the ground with their trunks and ate the roots. The boy had to push the tree down to bend it at the roots. The grandpa elephant pulled the tree right out of the ground with the roots. It was so amazing seeing them eat roots!
Next, we saw two cheetah brothers. They were lying down under a bush. We saw them walk past our jeep! We had a great day seeing the animals!
Safari Day 2 – Where the Wild Things Roam
We got up early and went to the ride at 6:30am. We drove for a while. We came to a stop as the tracker found some footprints. The tracker and our guide followed the footprints. We were alone in the jeep!
They came back to the jeep and told us that the fresh footprints belonged to a lioness. We went looking and found her. She was walking in the bushes. Soon another jeep came up. The lioness walked around and went behind the other jeep. Soon she started walking to a watering hole. Slowly we followed her in the jeep to the watering hole. When we got there we could see her drink water. The lioness smelled some impalas and went hunting. We followed the lioness quietly on our jeep. Suddenly the impalas started running away. Then we saw some giraffes. Our guide and tracker believed that the giraffes warned the impalas about the lioness so they ran away. Next we went to the other part of the park to see rhinos. The rhino is a quiet animal. It was eating leaves from bushes. After that we went back to the lodge to have lunch.
After lunch, we went to our afternoon game drive. We took our binoculars and went looking for animals. First we saw a herd of female nyalas. Then we saw a male nyala. A male nyala is black and has horns. Next we saw a herd of implaals. Soon we came to a male buffalo. The male buffalo has horns shaped like helmet. Very soon we saw four more male buffaloes. I saw them in the middle of thorny branches. One of the buffaloes came close to our jeep and walked right past. We learned that there are tiny bugs that live and feed off buffaloes. Later we saw another herd of buffaloes. In the herd, we saw a baby buffalo with his mother. We also saw two buffaloes head-butting. We went on a bumpy ride downhill. Soon it got dark. Leopards come out at night. So we went searching for them. The tracker and guide shined lights at the trees and bushes, looking for leopards. But we could not see the leopard. At last we drove to the lodge and went to dinner and sleep. I had fun today!
Safari Day 3 – King of the Jungle
On day 3, we went to see more animals. First we saw two rhinos. The rhinos were moving slow. Also the rhinos were eating grass. They walked to our jeep. Soon the rhinos crossed in front of us. African rhinos have two horns. Next we went to see a male lion. He had a long mane and is the KING of THE JUNGLE!
He was sitting down and licking its paws. The guide took us close to the lion. We were twenty feet away from the lion. The lion was looking at us. Next he stood up. He started walking. A couple of mins later, he sat down. On the way back we saw zebras and nyalas. They were right next to each other. After that, we went to the lodge to have lunch.
Afer lunch we went to see some wildebeest. A wildebeest looks like a cow + a deer and is brown in color. Next we saw some zebras which were galloping. We saw a few warthogs. Warthogs eat food by kneeling down on their front knees. Soon, we saw a few giraffes. It bent down to eat leaves from the bushes. We saw another giraffe bending down to scratch itself. It looked like it had no head or neck. Later I got to touch a giraffe’s bone. It felt like wood. Finally the day became dark. The tracker and guide turned on the lights to look for leopards. We did not find a leopard. Soon we went to the lodge for dinner.
Safari Day 4 – Goodbye!
Today is the last day at the safari lodge. We were tired from the game drives from previous days so we decided to sleep in. Once we woke up, we walked on the grounds of the lodge, and saw a nyala drinking water. We said goodbye to our tracker, guide and all the friendly people in the lodge. We got into a minivan and the driver took us to Durban.
Durban Day 1
On the way to Durban, we saw several sugarcane fields. Soon we came to the city fo Durban, which is the third largest city in South Africa. Our hotel is next to the Indian Ocean. When we checked in, we got a basket full of beach toys. Then we went to the beach and found a spot to wade in the water. The waves were BIG! After that my brother and I made a large sand castle. After we were done, we jumped on the castle. We had fun today!
Durban Day 2 (Tour) – Valley of a Thousand Hills
On the second day of Durban, we went to the Valley of Thousand Hills and to the city of Durban. First we went to a Zulu village in the Valley of Thousand Hills. We saw Zulu people and they performed a dance for us. They also invited us to their traditional huts. Next to the village, there was a reptile park. We went to see the crocodiles first.There were big ones and small ones. After we were done with the crocodiles, we went to see tortoises and got to touch one! Then we left for Durban. On the way we stopped at a gift shop. My brother made a new friend. Then we went to the Golden Mile beach near downtown Durban. We saw Moses Mabidha Stadium. Later we came back to our hotel. We put on our swimming suits and played in the pool in front of our room. We had another good day!
Durban Day 3 – Cricket Match at Kingsmead
The next day we went to see a cricket match at Kingsmead Sahara Stadium. South Africa was playing a test match against New Zealand. As we entered the stadium we got placards with 4 and 6 written on them. We would use them to show when a batter hits a 4 or a 6. We also bought an autograph bat. Soon we got to our seats and the game began. We saw the fastest bowler, Dale Steyn, run in and bowl to New Zealand batters. Everyone cheered. We saw a grassy area. There we saw some kids play their own game of cricket. It was fun to see two cricket games going on at the same time. A South African cricketer, Chris Morris, signed on our autograph bat. Soon it started raining. We waited for a little while and then left the stadium. It was our first time in a cricket stadium and we had fun!
Soon it was time to leave for Seattle. But before that, we went to a mall and bought South African cricket tshirts and other souvenirs. We then left for the airport. We flew from Durban to Johannesburg, which is the largest city in South Africa. Then we took another plane to Atlanta and then finally to Seattle.
This trip was an unique trip for me as it was my first trip to the African continent and our first safari/game drive experience. We had a great time in South Africa and we would like to come back. I thank my parents for taking me and my brother to South Africa and my brother for keeping me good company throughout the trip. I also want to thank the Chalo Africa team for planning a great experience for us.