Well.. July has definitely been a crazy one, but it’s also been very good to me so far. I’ve only just had the chance to sit down and update you all on everything that’s been going on. We are only half way through the month and to me that’s actually pretty crazy, I feel like I’ve done loads already and I’ve still got a lot more to get through yet!
I had 3 available days at the beginning of this month and I was super excited when they changed to a Dubai trip.. I love that country so much, and it’s their summer right now so I was really looking forward to staying that gorgeous hotel again and being able to laze about in the 40 degree heat again. I remembered when I worked on the cruise ship that I had dinner by the Burj Khalkha and the Dancing Fountains when I was in Dubai, and last time I came with crew I wasn’t able to, so I was very happy that this time that was exactly what the girls wanted to do – they were all so taken with the Burj Khalifa being lit up and the fountains dancing to the music!
After a few days off, I was lucky enough to get back to Johannesburg.. and this trip I was VERY excited about. The first time I went to JoBurg, I didn’t do too much as a) I wasn’t actually aware it was their winter and b) it’s the first time I visited this country, so I wanted to see what it was all about etc. This time, I vowed to myself I was going to do the Glen Afric Safari that so. Any crew had been raving about.
One thing on my (extensive) bucket list was to do an African Safari.. that has now been ticked off in the best way possible. Glen Afric is a National Park in the North West, and is home to the “big 5” as well as the original set of Leopards Den. Anyone that used to watch “Wild at Heart” on the BBC back in the early 2000s will recognise the name Leopards Den – let me jog your memory……
… remember now?? Yeah. I visited it..the actual set.. the real house. Only if you were a huge fan of the Tv programme would you understand just how excited I was to walk round that house and take photos and realise I was there. Haha.
The Glen Afric Safari was fantastic though. We were picked up from our hotel & driven 45 minutes to the National Park where we then joined 4 other tourists for the Jeep trek.
The trek started off by heading straight to the elephants.. and oh my god, it was even better than I expected. Who can say they’ve walked with elephants for an hour, touching them, sitting amongst them.. not many people.. but I did, and I felt so privileged and at peace just being around the gentle giants. To say I’ve done it is just.. amazing.
I was asking way too many questions about them, because I was just in absolute awe. The three girls have full roam of 1000s of square miles of nature reserve, and three keepers walk with them everyday to make sure they’re safe which I absolutely loved. The keepers and guide were so knowledgeable about them.
The overall trek through Glen Afric took around two hours, seeing all the gorgeous animals that were there. Their enclosures were massive & you could tell they were very well looked after and happy. The animals weren’t tame by any means, but they also weren’t “wild” enough to be released. The animals there were saved from being killed, trafficked or likewise, and the park prides themselves on rescuing animals and giving them a safe home. The Big 5 can never completely mix because of them not quite having the natural instincts they need to survive, but when you’re sitting in the truck and the 3 prides of lions start to roar & then the tigers join in.. well.. we all just fell silent – it was amazing.
The last part of the tour was turning up to Leopards Den. I mentioned to the guide that it was a shame I wouldn’t be able to go inside, to which she said on the sly that she knew there was one door unlocked somewhere on the veranda.. & I was off!
Walking through the house was just surreal but awesome for me, but it was time to go back to the hotel.
South Africa as a whole has become one of my new favourite countries. The people are so friendly and welcoming, they can’t do enough for you to ensure you’re happy and comfortable.. it’s really nice, and the country as a whole is really cheap. The exchange rate right now is around 17 Rand to the UK pound. It makes it easier to do what you want to do without spending stupid amounts of money. I would highly recommend bidding for Johannesburg or Cape Town if you’re crew, & if you’re not then you should visit the country, you won’t be disappointed.
I’ve got a couple of short flights to do now before having a week off for annual leave. I’m looking forward to recharging my batteries & catching up with people before heading back to visit two new layovers.. LA & Shanghai!