Thursday, October 20, 2011


Had one last morning game drive yesterday at Londolozi before our flight to Johannesburg. We met us with our friend Maddy who Jess taught with in Taiwan and is from the area and had a few G&T, great fun. We then boarded our flight to London for the 11 hour flight. Again, we were booked in First Class on British Airways and our plane had their brand new upgraded cabin so the flight was a complete pleasure and the service was absolutely top notch.

During our second to last day on safari I was starting to get the end of holidays blues and contacted our wonderful travel agent Isla (The Travel Network in Toronto) to ask her to switch us to the brand new Four Seasons Park Lane in London. I needed something to look forward to! Isla worked her magic and arranged the switch and when we arrived in London we were upgraded from a basic room to a lovely suite which is huge by London standards. London hotels are very expensive and the rooms usually very small compared to many parts of the world. As we walked around to today with looked in the window at some properties, in this neighbourhood a 500 sq ft apartment sells for $1.8 million dollars!!! Yikes.
View from our room

Living Room of our Suite
(no bedroom, bathrooms pics, we have messed those up already)

We have been completely spoiled on this trip and stayed at the most amazing properties in the most amazing rooms which makes it very difficult for a city hotel to give too much wow factor. The room is beautiful and they truly have thought of everything but for me the true wow here comes from the service which is Four Seasons perfection.

Today has been lazy, got our room at 10 am. Cleaned up, went for long walk and lunch, long afternoon nap in super comfy bed and glass of wine and some quick blogging.

Tonight we are off to meet our friend Jimmy for a drink and bite to eat before going to see Pricilla Queen of the Desert on stage here (super gay, looks amazing!).

Fingers crossed that the hotel car (a gorgeous Rolls Royce) will be available to drop us off in front the the gay bar in Soho to meet our friend Jimmy!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

Herd of elephants strolling by our!!!

Third day on safari at Londolozi

We are on day three of safari and have been on 6 game drives so far with 2 more to go. At this point we have seen the Big Five and much more. Believe it or not safari is hard work, the 5am wake up calls have not been getting any easier which is not helped by the fact that any time not on game drive is filled with eating and drinking. Our morning drives are usually 4 hours and the evening drive 3+ hours. Never could I have imagined having the patience to sit in a vehicle for that long but just when I think I have had enough we come across an amazing sight. This morning was particularly tough, it poured rain for the first 2 hours of our drive and we didn't see much of anything (a giraffe here, zebra there, yawn!) we were trying to track down either a herd of elephants or buffalo and were having no luck. I was telling myself that I would not do tomorrows morning drive and the next thing you know we are looking at a leopard trying to wrestle its kill out of the tree, quite a sight, and totally worth the wait.

Yesterday Mike and Neeta from Vancouver left and were replaced by a couple from Mumbai, India. They actually turned out to be very lovely. They have been on safari many times and just jetted down here for 4 days on there way to Dubai (because this was totally on there way there!).

This is us with Neeta and Mike and our ranger David and our tracker Lucky.
This elephant just strolled by our camp.
We spent quite some time trying to track down these lions. They are two lioness' one with four 8 month old cubs and the other with two 3 month old cubs (there were 4 but 2 were killed by water buffalo 10 days ago). The cubs were so cute, we sat and watched them play for over an hour. As we drive around Jess and I both have the opening number of "The Lion King" playing in our head (live broadway version). FYI according to our ranger hyenas got a bad rap in that movie and all male lion are like Scar. There are no nice sweet Mufasa males.
Here is the leopard that we found last night and watched her climb into a tree for a rest.

Our tracker spotted this guy in a tree as we were driving home. On the drive home I was jumping around like a nelly schoolgirl as we were pelted with orange beetle like bugs that flew into our lights, not fun.
This is the leopard that we found today. Leopards drag their kills into the trees so the hyenas and other animals don't get them. We watched this guy climb into the tree and then try drag his kill out of the tree but the kill got stuck and he was swinging back and forth, amazing to see.
Running off for another game drive now. Very hard to blog with this schedule!!!!! Tomorrow, we have an early morning drive, fly to JHB at 2:30 pm and meet up with Madelaine, who Jess taught with in Taiwan, before our flight to London where we will spend 2 days.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Room 2 at Londolozi Granite Suites

It only took 2 days to upload this video onto youtube!


We left Hermanus yesterday and flew to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport on South African Airways and then took another 20 minute private airline (light aircraft, seats a maximum of 9) on a 20 minute flight to Londolozi Game Reserve's private air strip. You can get a road transfer from the airport but that takes over 2 hours to get there. The little plane was a wee bit scary as the plane couldn't go very high because of the short distance. Quite a bit of bouncing around but our 2 nineteen-ish year old pilots handled it well.
We are staying at the Granite Suites at Londolozi. There are only 3 suites in this camp and there are only two other guests here at the moment which is fantastic. The other couple just happen to be from Vancouver, too. Small world! Our suite is huge and gorgeous with outdoor private pool, outdoor bathtub and outdoor shower. We tried to upload a video but this beautiful country's internet is total KOK ('shit' in Afrikaans). Here is a picture right outside the back of our suite.
The days here are quite busy and go something like this:

5:00 a.m.: Knock at door to wake you with coffee and pastries.
5:30 a.m. game drive
8am crepes and coffee out in the bush
10am game drive done, full breakfast buffet plus hot breakfast
1:30pm lunch
4pm tea and pastries
4:30pm game drive
7:30 dinner

Someone had told Jess that all the animals here are microchipped and they can find them easily at anytime but this is not true of the private game reserves. There are no fences on this property and the day can be hit or miss. We have only been on 2 drives so far and both have been definite hits. Here are just a few of the pictures from 5 hours worth of driving (oh, and the giraffe picture is crap but we were racing to find two female lions and their cubs which we never found. Hopefully we'll take a nicer one tonight). The safari has been so brilliant. Last night we saw a leopard eating his kill in a tree (an impala... which we captured on video) and a bunch of hyenas eating another impala that they stole from the other leopards mother.

Oh, and you should also see our guide. Hy sit n huppel in our knupples.
There is much, much more to show you and write but we're not willing to spend our time hoping that we have enough bandwidth to get everything onto a posting. Maybe we'll have more patience tomorrow.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Last Day at Birkenhead House in Hermanus

Today was one of the only days of this trip that we have absolutely nothing planned. I tried to talk Jess into doing a couple of wine estates, which he vetoed. We had a leisurely breakfast and then did the cliff hike into the town of Hermanus (about an hour and a bit). The homes along the way were stunning, complete with electrical razor wire fencing! The security business is huge in this country. We toured the art galleries and Jess fell in love with a painting which, after measuring our luggage, fits and he has gone with the hotel driver back to town to buy it.

Every stop on this trip has been so different and every stop has totally exceeded our expectations. This stop has been all about whale watching and sharks. Yesterday's shark dive was something I never thought I would (or could) do and absolutely amazing.

Our room here at Birkenhead House is lovely, the best in the hotel, right at the front of the property overlooking this view from our front balcony. I completely rearranged our itinerary so that we could get this room and I'm so glad I did.
It is whale season here and viewing is better from the shore than from any boats. Boats are not allowed to get closer than 300 metres from the whale and they are much closer to the shore than that. We have seen tonnes of whales, often breaching where they jump right out of the water. They often breach 3 times in succession so it is quite something to see. Here are a couple of pictures taken from our balcony. Unfortunately, all our pictures show the final stages of whatever was going on. We never quite get the money shot.
Birkenhead House has been amazing. This place is an all inclusive where, well, everything is included in the room rate... food, booze, laundry, transfer, you name it. When we arrived, Ricardo (some super hot, sexy, latin flavoured man) toured us through the property and took us by the hotel bar and told us to order anything we want and to also feel free to step behind the bar and make something for ourself if we feel we can do it better. He also took us by this table and told us to help ourself whenever we like. Surprisingly, we have yet to partake in either of those activities. Shocking!
The room is the smallest of the trip so far but the decorating is lovely and the hotel service superb. The food has been amazing with special vegetarian menus for us at dinner each night.
Here are some of the common areas of the hotel.
This is the living area below our room (this is not our room, that would be TOO much). Jess is chilling here after breakfast waiting for housekeeping to refresh our room. Man, how long does it take to pick up 10000 rose petals ladies?! Honestly!
Tomorrow morning we fly from Cape Town to Kruger National Park to Londolozi Granite Suites. This is supposed to be the highlight of the whole trip (with the exception of the wedding). I hope they have an internet connection considering it is very remote. Forgive us if we don't blog.

Until then we will pretty much spend the rest of the day doing what we've been doing until now. We're both in heaven.