After Maputo we headed to South Africa for our safari before my mom and brother headed out. Between leaving someone at the border and having to turn back to retrieve them, a flat tire and subsequent bus switch, and slow driving, our roughly 602k journey took 15.5 hours. Like I said, travelling here is always an adventure. We got in too late to make the big five night drive we were scheduled for that day, but fortunately spots opened up in one the following night. We left our lodge at 4:30am the next morning for our guided tour of Kruger. We had a wonderful guide and throughout the day were lucky enough to see Impalas, Wildebeests, Jackals, Zebras, Warthogs, Monkeys, Giraffes, Elephants, Buffalo, many different birds, Hippopotamus, and Lions. Everyone always wants to know which of the “Big Five” animals we saw, thus we missed only Rhinoceros and Leopards. The cool thing about Kruger park, as opposed to a zoo or the smaller game drives is that the area is huge and the animals are wild, this can also be the problem though—because the animals are wild and there is a lot of area for them to explore, you aren’t guaranteed to see all of them. The last morning we had a nature hike with an incredibly knowledgeable zoologist who could tell us about every single plant and animal we saw, and pointed out leopard tracks where one had passed within 20m of the cabin where we slept. We were able to get fairly close to a herd of Zebra which is actually kind of scary on foot!
A woman working in a store asked us where we were from and found out it was our first time in South Africa. “Have you gotten robbed yet?” she asked us cheerfully. Luckily we made it out with no incidents however.
Back in Maputo I was able to get some REDES work done and then, since our meetings had been cancelled, I headed back to site earlier than I had expected. As we were waiting on the side of the road we saw a 20+ car caravan drive past and in the middle a hearse like I have never seen before, with the back made entirely of glass so you could see the coffin inside. Ann and knew it had to be someone important, considering that all of the cars in the procession were police cars or really nice cars, we later found out it was Malangatana Ngwenya, a famous Mozambican artist. “He is the Picasso of Mozambique” a man explained to us. Opening ceremonies for all schools should have been today, but they got moved to Monday because he will be buried today.