Saturday, September 26, 2009

First Day on Tour

Today's route: Zimbali to Manzini  172 miles.   (Google Earth file)

Today was a fantastic day - and the start of the tour.

At 8.30 this morning, John White lined all the cars up, and one by one we were waved off under the swoop of a large South African flag. This was the moment we had all been waiting for after almost 3 years of planning.

The route today was gentle and easy. Leaving Zimbali on the N2, we headed northeast, parallel to the coast, and through the Valley of a Thousand Hills. Undulating hills, green with the thick field of sugar cane stretched out before us. On either side as we drove, people whistled and waved,cars flashed their lights and trucks blew their horns.

In and amongst the sugar cane fields, small villages of round huts with thatched roofs were sprinkled, each alive and colorful. Cattle occasionally would come to the road. At each petrol stop, the cars were surrounded by people, each wanting to learn a little something about these wonderful machines.

Arriving at lunch, we entered the Zululand Tree Lodge - a private game resort. Impala were sighted on the way in. A wonde3rful buffett lunch of lamb, chicken, beef stew, salads, vegetables and deserts was enjoyed overlooking a small watering hole - where several Nyala came to drink. It was spectacular.

A short run of 35 miles to our day's stop - Ghost Mountain Ranch. The car performed well - and the overdrive is just terrific.

As we entered the ranch, Zuku dancers lines both sides of the road in full dress, the drums and dancing frenetic. Unbeleivable. Once checked in, we had a sunset cruise on the very large lake - spotted hippo, amazing birdlife and several antelope species.

The night ended with a terrific display of Zulu dancing around a large fire, and then another magnificent dinner. At this eating rate, I'll have to have the car's springs re-arched to support us by the end of this tour.

Tomorrow is a rest day - morning and evening game safaris (and more food)

No comments:

Post a Comment