I got up at around 9:30am and went through to the main house for breakfast, helping myself to cereal from the kitchen, James didn't surface until 11am! We worked out that we'd like to go to Sterkfontein Caves, an archaeological site where evidence of early man has been found so I called them up to get directions and it turns out that they are closed on Mondays! We'd not had much luck so far with closed attractions starting with the Diamond Mine, the Cheetah Sanctuary and now this! We decided to go to the local Rhino & Lion Reserve instead and luckily I called them and they do indeed open on Mondays. James also called Dominic from Global Car Hire to arrange collection of the vehicle at 4pm.
We left for the reserve via a city route planned out for us by Bill, everything went smoothly and we got to see a bit more of Johannesburg as well. Since the end of Apartheid a great deal of the road names have been changed as they were previously named after former colonials or members of the government, this made navigation a little more awkward as Bill's map was printed before 1994. We found the reserve with little trouble, though we did have to stop at the information hut to make sure we were going the right way. By the time we actually got into the game area it was lunchtime so we stopped at the picnic area where we were able to get toasties. As we were eating, a Springbok was wandering around and actually came up to make an attempt on our food, whilst I knew these were not dangerous animals I was a little worried that they might be similar to goats which will eat anything from clothing to fingers. A warden kept calling the Springbok away from us (it had a name too) and told us not to worry about him, it was quite amusing all the same. After eating we had a wander around the shop and a look at the Crocodiles (in a pool by The Croc Pub) and took a few photos of some Lion cubs in a small pen.
We had a drive around the Cheetah and Lion enclosures and didn't manage to see either but we did manage to see some Wild Dogs (which looked like Hyenas) which James managed to spot hiding under a tree. On the lowlands (and out of the main game area) we also got to see herds of Wildebeest, Zebra, Eland and Kudu. We left the park in good time to arrive back at the house to hand the car over to Dominic at 4pm but he didn't turn up until about 6pm, with a little crew of people - presumably for safety as he also carried a gun. He had a look around the car and noticed damage to the right-front headlight which James and I were almost certain we didn't cause, there had been a previous impact on the car and he also tried to blame us for the bonnet being misaligned. Anne negotiated with him for us and got photocopies of the forms etc. and off he went with the car, he wasn't particularly professional through the whole thing and was on his mobile for a while trying to sell a car. All we could do is wait until we got back to Cape Town and go to back to Global and speak to Shane.
We had drinks and dinner
with Anne & Bill before being picked up by Anthony to go out for the evening,
we went to a bar called Rhapsody where we met up with Michael and Jurgen. The
bar was good, a nice atmosphere and there were waitresses to bring drinks to
your table. We sat outside on the terrace until it began to rain (spotting at
first), when we moved indoors. This was a very smart move (by Anthony) as a
couple of minutes after we had gone inside the rain came hammering down, like
nothing I've ever seen in Britain - this was HEAVY rain. The rain was pounding
the roof of the bar so much that it was impossible to hear eachother talk, when
it finally stopped we settled up and left for Cool Runnings in Melville, another
bar in the same chain as the bar/restaurant we visited in Cape Town. The bar
is situated near two universities and we went around the time when all the students
were returning after the Christmas / New Year break, the place was absolutely
rammed full and the atmosphere was great, I had a Rizla Sizzla cocktail as unfortunately
they didn't serve the Pan Galactic Gargleblaster. We left about 1am and Anthony
took us on a drive-through tour of the city-centre and Hillbrow, two of the
worst areas in Johannesburg. From what I could see there wasn't much specific
trouble but it looked rough as hell with fires burning on the streets and people
sleeping rough everywhere. We got home at 2am and slept like a log.
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