These posts-right now it appears there are 15 in all- are dedicated to my dear friends and fellow members of Captains Voyage Forum, especially my friend Jan-Olav, my VERY PATIENT cousin Merrill/Bob (I'll explain the name this summer!), and most especially the amazing adventurer who made this whole incredible odyssey possible, my wonderful and much-loved mother, Jane Hutchinson James.
So to begin.....
We left the Crystal Serenity in Port Elizabeth, South Africa at 7am on Friday morning, February 12. We were a small group- 5 guests and our escort, Pauline, who is the wife of Serenity's golf pro. Six travelers- the perfect size to fit into one Land Rover! We were a fun group-Pauline, Jill, Ed and Lee, Jane and Elizabeth. (EP 365 Day 149)
We were driven to Port Elizabeth's airport and checked in for our flight to Johannesburg.
Airborne, we could see Serenity in the harbor.
and we headed inland away from the Indian Ocean.
One hour later, the capital of South Africa came upon us.
The Crystal port agents loaded our minimal luggage and off we went to the "other" side of the airport, to make the second half of our journey into the bush.
Federal Air services several tiny landing strips in the interior of South Africa and it has a lovely facility to relax in before boarding your plane.
This is the plane that took us to Londolozi, and others onto Mala Mala afterwards.
I was delighted to find the first row seat was vacant, and I had an up-close and personal view of the pilots for the hour-long flight.
Before I knew it, we were landing...and then selecting our bags.
And I had my first incredible view of Londolozi.
We loaded up in our open Land Rover and watched the plane take off for Mala Mala, just a 5 minute flight away.
On the way to Varty Camp, we had glimpses of what was to come...
and were greeted with a happy welcome.
The grounds are simply magnificent.
We walked into the main lodge, and before I could take two sips of my welcoming champagne, I had the camera out and was taking the first of many MANY photos!