We made it to South Africa! I am currently sitting on a hotel bed with Shannon (The Woman Formerly Known as Beautiful) as we discuss our flight.
After two days and 20 hours of in-air travel with five children, one sick husband, one husband with allergies, a mother-in-law with sciatica, one airsick member of our group (yes, the barf-bag got some use), and 15 mini bottles of wine later we landed. We were greeted by Gloria sent by Destination South Africa, who escorted to a waiting coach that took us directly to our hip and jovial hotel, The Sandton Sun in Johannesburg. This was meant to be just a lay-over stay, yet we were welcomed with a celebratory cocktail of the cranberry genus. After a power-nap, we dined alfresco and were really relaxed.
Tomorrow, we will be meeting our coach again and heading to Madikwe Safari Lodge. What we all chatted about at dinner was how comfortable and de-stressed we all felt, which is very unusual when on such a big trip- even for me. We pinpointed the cause of much traveling distress as the fear of the unknown. That, coupled with the inter- and in-country travel to and from destinations, makes it hard to completely relax when on a big vacation like this. We are so thankful to have Terry and his team at Destination Southern Africa (DSA) take care of all of our travel (flights, car rides, and miscellaneous excursions) as well as organize our lodging and trip itinerary They also suggested and booked all of our recreational activities outside of our lodge stays. All we have had to do is show up and someone guides us to fun. DSA is specific to the continent of Africa, and specializes in family travel. So, if you’re going to Africa, obviously we highly recommend them, but even if you’re visiting another area of the world with which you are not familiar, I would only use a travel specialist that specializes in that one particular area you are looking to visit. We have come to find out there is a huge difference in a basic travel agent (which is so great for many cases, but not trips like these) and a travel specialist. Anyway, use one- especially on big family trips!