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Born Free [Safaris]

An African Adventure Awaits!!

Hello and welcome to the latest installment of “Where in the World is Jackie?!” Currently there’s not too much to report, as I’m merely sitting on my couch. But in less than 48 hours, I will be leaving on a jet plane bound for far warmer and sunnier conditions (insert dancing now) on the world’s second largest continent: AFRICA!! And since it is oh so large, there is no way to cover a lot of it in two short weeks time. But if you’re gonna go, ya might as well go all the way and just head to the southern most tip – cause really, who doesn’t think the idea of an 8.5 hour flight followed by 11.5 more hours in the air doesn’t sound simply delightful?! Tis the price one must pay to travel, but it will be oh so worth it.

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But before I launch into some logistics about what’s to come, perhaps a little backstory would be nice. First off, I will not be embarking on this journey alone. My fellow traveler is none other than Miss Brenda…who tackled Australia with me four years ago (yep, we’re all about the “A” continents!!). And well frankly without Brenda, I do not know if I would be hitting up Africa at all. It was never one of my bucket list destinations. I had plenty of other places to keep my mind preoccupied, but then she started talking about South Africa and Cape Town and safaris and all the animals and fun stuff…and well eventually I jumped on board. This all goes back to at least November of 2016 (as that is the date of the first item that is in my “South Africa” travel folder).

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So basically I’m saying this trip has been years in the making. There were other travelers that came and went from the conversation, but we just couldn’t make it work. Well more accurately, between Groupon, Travel Zoo, our own searches, and various random agencies and web sites, we could never get what we wanted for a price we were willing to pay. Then life happened and talk of Africa fell by the wayside. I went to Europe in August and had an incredible time. But as any good traveler knows, you’re mentally trying to book your next adventure before your current one even ends.

So after Europe, with one week of vacation left to use, I was on a mission to make something else happen. I was really looking for a New Year’s Eve/Birthday extravaganza, but I just couldn’t convince Brenda of that. Instead, she jumped back on board with Africa. Having been down this road before, as well as having my mind focused on other parts of the globe, I pretty much left it up to her to figure it out. First, she solved my only one week of vacation dilemma – just use my last week from 2018 and my first week from 2019. Next she was in contact with a travel agent who was coming up with some decent ideas. But then I went back to that trusty South Africa folder and discovered an email from Julianne, one of the other potential travelers along the way, and she had been working with this company called Born Free Safaris. On Monday, October 22, Brenda submitted a generic request for info and divine intervention stepped in to match us up with Neil…our Africa whisperer.

After one rather extensive phone conversation with Neil, Brenda was very impressed and practically gushing about him (if she were the type to gush that is). Being South African and having actually owned a safari lodge, Neil is a wealth of knowledge. She told him exactly what we were looking for and gave him our budget, and we left him to work his magic. He said it was gonna be tough – also considering short notice and it being summer there – but he’d see what he could do. About 30 hours later, we had a truly amazing proposal in which he was able to secure a lot of his favorite affordable (but still oh so splendid) accommodations, hitting all our requests and then some. So really the question wasn’t should we do this, it was how can we not do this?! That being the case, we were locked in and all ready to finalize things one short week after sending out that initial information request…and only 90 days from setting off on this adventure of a lifetime. And seriously, if anyone is ever thinking about Africa, let me hook you up with Neil. He’s awesome!!!! I just wish he was coming on the trip with us 😝

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It’s been kinda odd though not having to really figure anything out for ourselves. There was no master spreadsheet to create or hours of research to be conducted. There was the trip to the travel clinic and some shots and pills to procure, but thankfully nothing too crazy. And then there was the long anticipated wait for our final packets to arrive and to commence packing. I am happy to report that that is going well. One area of concern is the current situation in Zimbabwe, but we are hoping and praying to get in and out of Victoria Falls without incident.

On that note, here’s a quick rundown of where we’ll be focusing our efforts. First up is the Cape Town, South Africa area and their surrounding winelands. From there we are heading to northeastern South Africa and the game preserves around and including Kruger National Park. Finally we’ll be taking in the sights and sounds of Victoria Falls. Time and wifi dependent, I plan to check in here with some regular updates. Thanks for traveling along with us.

Have passport, will travel!!

Jackie 😎

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Posted by JackiesJourneys 21:11 Archived in USA Tagged waterfalls wine south_africa victoria_falls Comments (0)

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