Day 1: Travel
Ten hours in a plane with a kid, but hey, at least it’s a direct flight. With the nine hour time difference between Portland and Amsterdam, we’ll arrive 19 hours after we left, according to the clock, at 8:30 in the morning ready to each Dutch pancakes.
Day 2-3 Amsterdam, The Netherlands
We’re spending two nights in Amsterdam, mostly because it’s the farthest you can fly from Portland on a direct flight. It’s also a charming, family-friendly city, where we hope the weather will be nice enough for canal tours (or skating?), bike rides, walking through the Vondelpark, and did I mention the Dutch Pancakes?
Day 4 travel, arrive Johannesburg
5,500 miles straight south (11 hours by plane) and only one time zone change, and we’ll be in Johannesburg, South Africa. I hear it’s a lovely city, but we will only have time for a night’s sleep.
Day 5-8 Kruger National Park
Four nights on safari at Ezulwini Game Lodges, adjacent to the Kruger National Park. Two nights at the River Lodge and two nights at Billy’s Lodge. This was the package we purchased at the Dove Lewis auction, starting this whole adventure. We’ll have two game drives daily, where we’ll hope to see the “Big 7” (elephant, lion, rhino, cape buffalo, crocodile, hippo and the elusive leopard) as well as giraffe, zebra, gazelle and others. Not likely to see Audrey’s favorite (cheetah) in these parts, unfortunately.
Day 9-12 Cape Town / Kalk Bay
After driving the five hours back to Jo’burg, we’ll fly to Cape Town for four days in the Cape Town area. We’re really looking forward to seeing what is often described as one the most beautiful cities in the world. We’re staying outside of town a bit, in Kalk Bay, a beautiful fishing village with a rich history that’s about a half hour from downtown. We’ll be in a great position to see the city to our North, tour the Cape of Good Hope to our South, spend some time on the beach, and even see penguins!
Day 13-15 Wine Country
Next, we’ll do a a few days in the wine country just on the other side of Cape Town. This won’t just be fun for the grown ups, since Audrey will surely enjoy the farm country, wine tram and we’re planning to stop by a cheetah preserve.
Day 16-18 Plettenberg Bay
We’ll spend three nights in the heart of the Garden Route, near the beach in Plettenberg Bay. If we’re feeling adventurous, there are Elephant preserves, water parks, Ostrich Farms, zip lines, boat trips and more nearby. Or we might lounge on the beach a few days.
Day 19-20 Amakhala Game Reserve
Our last two nights in country will be spent on safari at the Woodbury Tented Camp at the Amakhala Game Reserve. We’ll stay in the nicest tent I’m likely to ever see, and go on twice daily game drives. This will be our best chance at seeing cheetah in the wild. Or perhaps an elephant from our plunge pool.
Day 21 – the longest day ever
To partially offset our wonderful fortune of making this incredible journey, we’ll have a 36-hour long travel day getting back home. We’ll drive from our lodge to the local airport, then fly Port Elizabeth >> Johanesberg >> Paris >> Amsterdam >> Portland