Thursday, 16 January 2020

January 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 2020 Richards Bay to Cape Town

 January 16, 2020

With a wake up call at 06:00, room service breakfast at 06:30, and my walk to the Cabaret to see South African Immigration officers at 07:30 and be ready to board my bus to the Game Reserve, everything stopped cold.
Captain Filip is on the horn apologizing for the Pilot’s helicopter being a little late, additionally, that the Immigration Officers were a going to be little late, and he also stated that, ‘what can you do, this is South Africa?’ My read on all of this not a fault of Azamara…so be calm, get in the line and relax. Many of my fellow passengers followed a different thought, and after a few abrupt words to line jumpers here and there we all left 1.5 hours later than expected.
My tour consisted of a two-hour air-conditioned bus ride to the Game Reserve, a two hour 4X4 (ten-seater) ride through 230,000 acres of mountainous waist-high grassy land with indigenous trees and plants to munch on - for the animals of course, and a two hour ride back. We saw White and Black Rhinos (they are the same greyish colour depending on the soil and water in their habitat), gigantic Cape Buffalo about the same colour as the Rhinos, Wharthogs slopping in a water hole’s mud and, two different breeds of Antelope and lots of birds, some of which eat the parasites right off the Rhinos’s backs. Others saw Zebra, but no one mentioned Giraffe, Lion or Elephant to make up the Big Five. 
Terryl did not wish to do this tour because she’s done it before on real Safaris that went on for weeks. 
My guide was a rather muscled young woman with eyes like a Hawk after having done this work for 17 years. She’d quietly yell out ‘Wharthogs at ten o’clock.’ Quietly because she didn’t want to spook the animals or us in the back seats. This reserve is not a zoo; everything is all about nature, predators and prey, water and food and seasonal mating. I have photographs shot over and around the shoulders of fellow passengers, but with the right cropping I may have some good stuff to show you.
We arrived back on the ship at 15:30 (1.5 hours later than planned), and for any who were hungry the main Dining Room had remained open.

January 17, 2020

Last night after an evening meal Terryl and I found a front row seat in the Cabaret to hear an Aussie play a Guitar and a Digerydoo, both instruments backed up by Igor’s five-piece orchestra. His music was marvellous, however I was pooped from those six hours doing the Game Reserve and couldn’t wait to get back to our room and hit the sack.
Today we have docked in Durban, one of South Africa’s largest cities and have taken the Shuttle Bus to a centre complete with the usual shopping, and things like sea world, other family amusements and all reasonably close to one of their dozen coastal beaches. Our idea was to use a local bus for a three hour tour of the city, but after a half hour taxi ride getting to the bus we decided to nix it and return to the ship. At 19:00 tonight we will be on an Azamara sponsored complimentary tour to Durban’s Cultural Centre for cocktails, a Zulu original dance exhibition, a few nice words by Captain Filip and Cruise Entertainment Director Ernest Chartrain, and then the half hour ride back to the ship. At 22:00 The Quest leaves for Port Elizabeth, South Africa. 

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January 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 2020 Richards Bay to Cape Town

 January 16, 2020 With a wake up call at 06:00, room service breakfast at 06:30, and my walk to the Cabaret to see South African Immigr...