Our Destination……

Here is our flight and travel plan, dear friends…..

Our destination is the Eastern Cape of South Africa.  We will fly to East London, South Africa, a coastal city on the Indian Ocean.

As a young girl and student, maps and geography were extraordinarily interesting for me, and not only will we see a bit of Africa, but we will see the Indian Ocean!  On the last day of our trip, after the safari, we will be on a chartered  fishing boat, fishing in the Indian Ocean!  Unbelievable!  Never in my childhood dreams, studying these far-flung places in middle school, did I dream that I would ever actually see them!  And I will have a chance to put my toes into the Indian Ocean!!!!!

OK, the details: We (me, from Massachusetts, and my sister, Cindy, from Nevada) will be departing from Boston, Massachusetts, and flying to Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C. There, we will meet up with the other four women of this dream team, The Safari Sisters, who will make up this African hunt: Britney from Michigan, Michelle and Julia from Oregon, and Christina from Virginia.

Six companions…..

From Dulles we will fly to Dakar, Senegal (and, oh, does that not sound exotic and intriguing!) and from what I am told, we will not be able to de-plane, but there, we will re-fuel, and then the jet may be fumigated (Holy proverbial smoke Bat Man!  Fumigated for what?   From the information I have read, the stewardesses may spray the interior of the plane – and I may just go hide in the loo for that operation, and I will NOT come out until all of that is over!)   Then, sans whatever cooties we Americans might bring into the country, off we go to Johannesburg!

Once we arrive in Jo’burg, we will be picked up by a representative of the Afton Guest House, where we will spend the night. At this point, I estimate we will have been traveling for at least 30 hours from the time we leave my home in Massachusetts. So we will need some rest !!!!

South Africa appears to be 6 hours ahead of EST and it will be their winter there, and we can expect temperatures from the 30’s to low 70’s.  I put Fort Beaufort, the closest town into my iPhone for the local weather, and most days, it seems to get into the 60’s after a chilly early morning.  We can handle that!

So, let’s back up a bit…. health concerns are, of course,  a big priority, so I checked into what I would need to travel to South Africa. After consulting with my local primary care physician, here are the vaccinations I have had: Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Typhoid, and Yellow Fever. I have an Rx supply of Cipro, in case of intestinal malaise, and will have along aspirin, Pepto, Immodium and everything else in the medicine cabinet! The hunting concession is in a malaria free zone, so I do not plan to take malaria medication. As I did, anyone going to Africa should check with their primary care physician for the recommended innoculations!

Anybody getting nervous, yet ????  I sure am !!!!

Luggage is another matter:  I have had a group of items for the trip on the guest room bed, and I am arranging and re-arranging the piles.  Everything will end up in the bags, eventually, and I will be carrying a full change of hunting clothes and boots in my carry on in case my checked bag is diverted…..and this is the usual drill for any trip.  Any essential and valuable gear such as my binocular, range finder, camera, etc., will go into the carry on, and I will also lock the checked bag with a TSA approved lock.

The paperwork to be completed for bringing my firearm into the country is detailed and exacting, but the PH supplied instructions and a sample form, so the papers should be in order.

Ammo transport is interesting.  Leaving the US, the ammo is to be in my checked bag.  Once we arrive and fly within South Africa, the ammo must be separate, in its own small locked hard plastic case.  That ammo case will travel with the rifle, also in its own locked case.

Let us hope that all of my luggage and gear arrives with me!

Here are some photos of the lodge and of the cottages where we will stay.  These photos are courtesy of Starr and Bodill African Safaris. Lodge-copy-300x208lodge5-copy-150x150lodge4-150x150



What hunter does not dream of an African safari?

My own dream of an African safari began long ago, reading the adventures of Ruark, Hemingway and Capstick, where the beauty of the country and the pure raw adventure of the tent safaris of the mid-1900s were so vividly documented. Of course, other notable and contemporary writers such as Craig Boddington have contributed to this dream with their writing through the years and I have a strong longing for an African safari and adventure.

The written words of these authors ignited and fueled the fires of my dream: the long and exhausting days hunting game on foot, the allure and romance of double rifles, the evening meal of fresh game cooked over an open fire, and experiencing that special and intangible bond shared by hunters telling stories around an African campfire in a simple hunting camp.

While I cannot hunt alongside the great African hunters and writers of the past, I certainly can dream of walking in their footsteps, perhaps just on the same dry earth they trod, with their spirits as companions, helping me hold the rifle steady. I want to experience firsthand what they have shared with me over the years through their stories: the slow methodical tracking and stalking of African game, hearing the birds, monkeys, and roaring lions; seeing the dry dusty footprints of ancient elephant, and visiting the crowded water holes where both the hunters and the prey converge.

I want to be a part of that dry grassland and feel my heart beat with the pulse of Africa as the waves of heat from the expansive veld shimmer into a cloudless sky. And most of all, I want to experience the mystery of the dark and deep African night with the crescent new moon in the ink black sky, along with the famed Southern Cross and the brilliant stars of the southern hemisphere.

Yes, this African safari seed was planted long ago, nourished over the years by the experiences of other hunters, not around a campfire at night, but through literature that has been a joy and an inspiration; and this all lives in my heart and mind.

So, dear friends, put on your hiking boots, and please come along with me on this special trip. I sincerely hope I can share with you my own excitement of discovery, the wonder of a new experience, and something that will spark a desire in you, too, to go forth and seek your next adventure!