Today was a travelling day. We bid farewell to the beautiful city of Cape Town and it's not hard to see why so many people who visit the Mother City decide to make it their home.
Breakfast at Mugg & Bean at the airport then we checked in for our flight.
Bussed it across the tarmac to our plane, and the flight was only about half full so that was a nice change.
This time we got to see Cape Town from the air in the daylight, the view extending all the way down to Cape Point. As we headed northeast we crossed over the cape fold mountains and the country is not unlike South Australia with its red soil and folded hills which extend into vast arid plains. The western side of South Africa is in drought at the moment and you can tell, everything looks so dry. We flew over the karoo, desert landscape with yellower soil, and the whole country is flat to Johannesburg.
Lunch on the plane was chicken and rice with vegies, which was pretty nice.
Arrived in Jo'burg around 2:30pm, bussed it from the plane to the terminal and picked up our bags. Then we headed out into the arrivals hall where we found another sign with our names on it.
This was the most nerve-wracking step of the whole trip for us. We knew if we could find this driver and make it to our accommodation in Jo'burg where our tour commences we would be okay. Turns out it was all fine and the drive through Jo'burg went smoothly but it certainly is a different city to Cape Town.
Our accommodation is at the Sunrock Guesthouse in Kempton Park, and is surrounded by a high concrete wall which is electrified around the top. Scary? Comforting? A bit of both? Yep, we'll go with that, a bit of both.
After we settled into our room, we went for a wander around the garden and stumbled upon a likely looking crew. Khaki pants, pocketed vests, bucket hats and all manner of optical equipment pointing towards a bird feeder. Yep, this was our tour group for sure.
We met our tour guide, a South African guy who informed us we are by far the youngest guests he's taken on tour. I mentioned to him that I followed Noah's blog, which is why I chose Rockjumper Birding Tours, (Noah Strycker did a global big year in 2015, becoming the first person to see over 6000 species of bird in one year). Anyway, our guide was like, 'oh yeah, I went with Noah when he visited the Drakensberg on that trip.' Pretty cool, well at least it is if you're a birding tragic like me.
We, along with the four others in our tour group, wandered around the garden, spotting a few new birds, managing to add 5 lifers to the list (Red-headed Finch, Karoo Thrush, Speckled Pigeon, Speckled Mousebird and Red-faced Mousebird.) Umm yeah, you're going to hear more than you ever wanted to about birds for the next two weeks.
Now, I know the question that's been plaguing you all, is just how many birds do I actually have on my world life list? Well, as of yesterday the answer would be 475. Hopefully by the end of this tour that number will be closer to 800.
The group gathered at 6:30pm for a delicious dinner, and to go through our briefing for what the next two weeks will hold. Basically that will be a ton of wildlife; birds, mammals and maybe reptiles because the season is so late and it's still hot.
Tomorrow we have a 5:30am departure for a day trip up north of Jo'burg. We've been told the possibilities include giraffe, blesbok, impala and zebra. Can't wait to find out what the day will hold for us!