South Africa Vacation | Personal Post | Nikki Guest

Hello Friends!

So if you don't really care about knowing some of the details of our vacation and just want to see pics of all the fun stuff...just scroll....waaaaay down to the END of the blog and click on the link titled South Africa 2015 (Yes, I realize I could drop a link here..but I kind of want to tempt you with the scrolling process...ha! ha!).  Otherwise...you can get a summarized version of our trip by reading below the line.   The pictures that are in the gallery will include cell phone pics, fancy camera pics and also point and shoot...we were shooting constantly.   It will help put into perspective what you are seeing...
Here is a little teaser:

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I have been trying my best to figure out a way to share our vacation photos with everyone. 
When an opportunity of a lifetime presents itself, our family will not sit back and question it...we always knew that South Africa would be crossed off the bucket list; however, to do it with our 2 children at this point in our lives was a true blessing.    I decided to blog about it rather than just share a bunch a pictures because it's important to understand a few things.    First, there were over 3000 images from South Africa!  Ha! Ha!  To say we fell in love with the country was an understatement.  It was so difficult to leave.    I narrowed down what I want to share online to a little over 170...you don't have to look at all of them, but I thought they were the most fun or at least interesting.   

So here are some of the basics of how the pictures will flow.   We flew into Johannesburg, then to Durbin where we stayed for one evening.   Durbin is on the coast of South Africa and so we did see some beautiful scenes on our first night in this beautiful country.    The following morning we were picked up and taken to our safari lodge.  We stayed at the Zulu Nyala.     The movie "I Dreamed of Africa" was filmed on their property (Kim Bassinger was the lead actor and it's a true story).   It was amazing.  I will probably repeat this OVER and OVER.   It is smaller; however, it does back up to Phindu Game Reserve which is much larger and we were able to visit there as well.     I liked that our safari location was smaller because the personal attention was incredible.  We had two safaris a day (which we did EVERY.SINGLE.ONE.) and then we did excursions.    Excursions included the Elephant Interaction, Cheetah Rehabilitation Center, Phindu Reserve where we enjoyed a sunrise picnic, a beach trip to St. Lucia which had us playing in the Indian Ocean.   Each one of these locations had a phenomenal memory attached to it.   Memories that we will carry with us FOREVER. 

Brief Summary of Highlights:

Elephant Interaction:  We were able to touch the elephant's tongue, feed him and basically love on him....it was insane!   Off the chain awesome! 

Cheetah Rehab:   We actually got to pet a cheetah...we were also fearing for our lives as the 2nd cheetah that was in the same fenced in space wanted nothing to do with us....at one point one of the "teenager" cheetahs tried to play with Cole...it was at that point the guide decided to call it a day...whew! 

Phindu Reserve:  Easy highlight...Leopard with her cubs!!!!! AHHHMAZING...and 2 Lionesses looking for food for their little ones....they walked right next to our Land Rover. 

St. Lucia Boat Cruise and Beach: HELLO INDIAN OCEAN!!!!  Warm water...beauty at it's finest...soft pink sand...WAVES that literally will knock you over.   We visited the beach town and there were signs saying beware of HIPPOS!  Yes....at night they roam the streets and will charge you. There are pics of them dumpster diving in St. Lucia!   

Zulu Village Visit:  So the boys learned a little Zulu.   Oh and they also ate some warthog and ostrich...not yours truly..but they did.  They learned a dance and then we also learned that the Zulus to have a Christian faith...how awesome is that!?   Such an eye opening experience. 

The ultimate highlight would be the safaris where we were hosted by Bernie our guide.  She was so wonderful to us.   Very patient with all of our questions and also a photography nut like myself...so it made it fun to get excited over a sunset or seeing dust fly in the air!    On our last day we came across a cheetah that had just killed an impala...well..we walked up and were within feet of this creature.   It was INSANE...when I think back to that moment...I am like...what the heck was I thinking!?   But...wow...it was awesome!   Later we were greeted by elephants...Bernie can put the Land Rover in reverse faster than any guide there...those elephants were ready for us to leave!! ha! ha!  

After the awesome safari we couldn't just leave this beautiful land...it was time to experience the city. We took a quick flight to Capetown and enjoyed a truly perfect time.    We saw penguins, hiked to Cape Point on the Cape of Good Hope.   I couldn't have been more proud of Cole...as I know his struggle is real...he pushed thru and was a trooper.    We took a gondola ride up to Table Mountain...visited the beautiful gardens (the name escapes me and I am being too lazy to look it up at the moment)...we drove and drove (yes, Emory DROVE!!! ...did awesome btw).    Our last day we visited Stellenbosch and Anderson enjoyed learning a nice game of rugby with some local South African kiddos.  Each place we saw perfection...God's handy work was ALL over the place.     There are truly no words to describe and certainly not any pictures that could do this country justice.    

Let me say this...  As cliche' as it sounds...this trip was a game changer.   We saw the strongest work ethic that I believe I have ever witnessed.  People were so friendly.  Truly caring individuals.    We never once felt scared or out of place.   I have honestly never felt more welcome.      So...this should tide you over ...soon I will share our pictures from our return to Texas that included a 9 DAY layover in London/Paris...ha! ha!  (We planned it that way).  Stay tuned...xo  Nikki

Click here for the pics!!!!    South Africa 2015