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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Johannesburg 3

DAY 15-16, 11-12 Sept 07



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Our shuttle fetches us at 9am from the hotel to the Joburg international Airport, R275. Our flight is by Singapore Airlines SG0479 departing at 1.15pm and reaching Singapore the next day, 12th September at 5.40am.

From our previous experience, there won't be much that we can eat on board since there are no Halal food. Thus we go to Nando's and buy a lot of food for the 10 hours and 25 minutes journey. The Nando's here are Halal and there are a lot more varieties in their menu as compared to Nando's in Malaysia.

In Singapore, we transit for about an hour and depart at 7.10am to Malaysia. We reach Kuala Lumpur at 8.05 am. We didn't get to finish the food that we brought from Malaysia, since it is easy to find Halal food especially in South Africa, so we end-up bringing the food back to KL :)

In Malaysia, we continue to follow the Rugby World Cup, especially when South Africa is in the game. South African Springboks are the champions of the 2007 Rugby World Cup!!

InsyaAllah, we will be back in South Africa with our family. It is a beautiful and interesting country to visit :D

Monday, September 10, 2007

Johannesburg 2

DAY 14, 10 Sept 07


Tosh is wearing his other new rugby t-shirt that we bought in Cape Town.















Mandela Square


We walk slowly from our hotel after breakfast. Since it is still early, there are not much cars on the road. It feels safe walking here. After walking for more than 10 minutes we reach the Sandton Square @ Mandela Square. There are 85 boutiques and shops.












The Sandton City Shopping Centre is adjacent to this Square. There are 290 shops in here. It is open from 9am-6pm on Mon-Sat. The Michelangelo Towers are linked directly to the Nelson Mandela Square Mall. There are designer showrooms and restaurants.








After sight-seeing and a bit of shopping, we go back to our hotel for lunch. It is the peak of the 2007 Rugby World Cup. We enjoy watching the games on tv while eating biltong! Go Springboks!! Among our favorites are Brian Habana & Percy Montgomery!


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Sunday, September 9, 2007

Zambia - Johannesburg

DAY 13, 9 Sept 07


ZAMBIA


Today we are flying to Johannesburg. Tosh is taking pictures with Brighton (beside Tosh) and Freddie (squatting down). They are great people. On the way to the airport, we stop by a few places to find a fridge magnet, but we can't find any. Thus we proceed to the airport. Departure tax: USD25/pax @ RM175. Tosh is wearing his new South African rugby shirt.





At the airport, we manage to get the fridge magnet, even though the price is much more than it should be and everything here is in USD. There is no air-conditioner at the airport, neither there is fan. There is an air-conditioned room that are charged at a certain rate.













JOHANNESBURG


Our flight is also by British Air and our departure time is at 1.20pm. We arrive at Johannesburg at 3pm. We have booked our airport transfer through www.airportshuttle.co.za to take us from the Johannesburg Airport to Sandton for R275 at 3pm.

We are staying at the 3 star hotel, Pembury Plaza @ Sandton Park Plaza Hotel for 3days, 2 nights. We booked our accommodation through Expedia for USD145.36 @ RM497. This hotel is at 84 Katherine Street Sundown. The check-in time is at 2pm and the check-out time is at 12pm. The price is for a Superior room with en-suite bathroom and breakfast. There is a total of 135 rooms in this 3 floors hotel.

We love this hotel. It is clean, looks new and makes us feel at home. There is a swimming pool and a gym. There is also a free wifi at the lobby. We choose to stay at Sandton because this area is much safer than other areas in Johannesburg. It is also a walking distance to the Sandton City shopping mall and Nelson Mandela Square, 800m. This hotel is 35km from the airport.

Our unit is like a 1 room apartment. There is a kitchen, dining room and a living room.

























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Saturday, September 8, 2007

Zambia 2

DAY 12, 8 Sept 07


Breakfast is at 7-9am. We have our breakfast at the same place as our dinner. We have cereals and milk. Then we go upstairs where there is a lounge and a bar.












Village Walk


Today Freddie is going to bring us to visit his village. There will be a lot of walking today. We learn a lot of things about the locals here. They build they houses on their own, using clay with a mixture of the animals dung / feces. Freddie already has a house, but currently he is building a larger house for him & his wife. This walk takes a few hours. By the time we reach the lodge, it is already hot. We go back to our suite and have a short nap. It is very relaxing with the cool breeze from the river.











At noon, Brighton comes to our room to wake us up for lunch. Our window is wide open and he comes to the window and makes a "knock knock " sound. We smile at him and get ready for lunch. Brighton always volunteers to take picture for us :)













Sunset Cruise

Our boat is made of metal, maybe to prevent from the crocodile / hippo :)






















That is our cute Honeymoon Suite :)












We rest at the lounge while waiting for our dinner.














Today we are having Fish & Chips by the camp fire. Tawaf has been spraying too much of the insect repellent that makes her feel dizzy. After a quick dinner & ice-cream dessert, we go back to our suite so that Tawaf can rest.





Friday, September 7, 2007

Zambia 1

DAY 11, 7 Sept 07

At the
Shoestring Airport Lodge, there are no other visitors / travelers. It is just us. We wake up early in the morning and spend sometime using the computer & Internet at the living room. At about 8am, we take the free airport transfer to the Airport.

Our flight from Joburg to Livingstone, Zambia is at 11.05am by British Airways http://www.britishairways.com (BA6291 Comair). It is R5402 @ RM2340 for 2 pax, return tickets. We will be reaching Zambia at 12.40pm. At Zambia, we will be going to the Victoria Falls! At the Joburg Airport, we buy some biltong. Biltong is dried meat that is eaten as a snack by the locals. We are so happy to find the Halal biltongs. They are delicious!!



The currency in Zambia is Kwacaha. We can also use South African Rand here. It is advised to finish the Kwacaha currency before we fly off from Zambia because then the money has no value. It is also said that it is not safe to walk after 10.30pm.

The main attraction in Livingstone, Zambia is the Victoria Falls. Other than that, there is a Livingstone Museum, Railway Museum which has the history of the Victoria Falls bridge and a Field Museum which stands on the archaeological site, evidence of people living here 2.5million years ago.

We've booked a package with the Waterberry Zambezi Lodge online: www.waterberrylodge.com. Ensuite double room for 2 pax (3 days 2 nights) is USD640 inclusive of the airport transfers.

The price includes 1 activity per day selecting from an island picnic on Chundu Island, a sunset cruise, an escorted visit to the Victoria Falls or an escorted visit to Mosi O Tunya National Park. It excludes the entry fees to the national parks which are USD15 per person. We've requested for Halal food and the Lodge staff says that there are plenty of vegetarian food here and there are Halal Food suppliers in Livingstone.

At the Immigration Desk, we have to inform them that we are on the Waterberry Lodge manifest so that no visa fee will apply. As we exit the Livingstone Airport, there's a guy holding a card with our name on it :)





Victoria Falls


From the airport, our guide brings us to the Victoria Falls. He says that the lodge is a bit far from here, thus it is better if we visit the Falls first. Entrance: USD15/pax. The Victoria Falls is actually in between of Zambia & Zimbabwe. Thus, visitors can also enter the Falls from the Zimbabwe's side. There is a Victoria Falls Field Museum which shows how the falls were formed. Tawaf is wearing her new SA Rugby t-shirt.











































































When the water is low, people can swim at the lip of the Falls. Outside of the Victoria Falls, there is a large craft market. There are lots of crafts and curios, animal carving stones, drums, spoons, jeweleries etc. The sellers are very pushy though. At first, we just look around to see the varieties that are being sold. Then the guy invite us to see more stuff inside their shops. Then they start to be pushy and a few of their friends gather around us. At that time our guide just wait for us outside. We start to feel uncomfortable and Tosh just buy an animal wood carving that they are trying to sell. Then we walk away and promised ourselves not to buy anything from the craft markets here.

Next, we go to the Waterberry Zambezi Lodge. To go there, we have to pass by the Mosi O Tunya National Park. There are also game drives (safari) being offered at this National Park. There are antelopes, zebras, giraffes, elephants, rhinos and others, but there are no predators. The entrance to this National Park is USD30. There ia also an old grave yard of the pioneers in this park. Part of the Victoria Falls is in the Mosi O Tunya National Park.



Waterberry Zambezi Lodge



At the Lodge, we are welcomed by the staffs. They help to carry our bags. The Lodge manager says that we are the only visitors at this time, thus they are giving us the Honeymoon Suite! We love this place! It is beautiful and the staff are very friendly and helpful. Since we are the only visitor, we become their center of attention and they do their best to serve us at all time.























Right infront of our suite is the Zambezi River. Even though the river looks calm, there are crocodiles and hippo living in the river :).

There is a net at our bed, to protect us from all sorts of inserts, bees, hornets, mosquitoes and others. There is only a small fan in our room. Nevertheless, our suite is cool maybe because of the roof. It is made of dried grass. No matter how hot it is outside, we feel cool inside our suite.

The swimming pool is freezing cold. Tosh wants to swim, but he only lasts for a few minutes and he's shivering cold :)






















Dinner starts at 7pm. Appetizer: Pumpkin soup. It's delicious! For the main dish, we have salads and vegetarian lasagna. The staff has placed our table at the veranda and we can hear the sound of the river. Once a while, we hear the sound of the hippo :). It sounds funny, similar to a laughing Santa Clause "Ho Ho Hooooo".

There is 1 hippo that's living in the river near to this lodge. Hippos are more dangerous than crocodiles since the rate of humans being killed by hippos are higher than crocodiles.

A hippo doesn't kill human for food, instead it kills because hippo doesn't like human very much. The hippo's jaws are very strong and they can crush human's bones easily. One of the staff, Freddie, says that once he was walking back from the lodge to his village, though the dark alleys. Then he heard a sound and when he flashed the torchlight, it's the hippo! Usually when the hippo sees light, it will run away, but that night, the hippo chased after him. He threw the flash light & ran for his life. hehe it's a bit scary when we hear this. We pray that everything goes well.













After dinner, Brigton and Freddie help to set the campfire for us to relax and chat. We keep on spraying the insect repellent on our legs and hands just to be on the safe side, even though we've taken the Malaria injections. Later when we are walking to our suite, suddenly we hear the water splash. It must be the hippo. We turn back towards the lodge veranda and ask the staff to accompany us to our suite :). That night we have a good sleep in the net.