A Travellerspoint blog

March 12 to 19, 2016

Malaysia and Thailand

RTW day 107 - Just left the Phillipines and weather is very hot and humid again but no rain. We were also lucky that we left Japan the night before the earth quakes happened. My guardian angel chime is still protecting us.

March 12 - Penang, Malaysia
Did not have a tour scheduled today. We were going to do a hop-on-off bus tour but the weather is very hot, 91 degrees and very humid. So new just did a short walk around several blocks looking for a couple caches for Roger and returned to the ship.
3-12.8 Penang, Malaysia port

3-12.8 Penang, Malaysia port


3-12.26 Roger finds cache in Penang

3-12.26 Roger finds cache in Penang

March 13 - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Had a 9 hour tour of the “Garden City”, 1 ½ hour bus ride from the port. Our first stop was at the Butterfly Park. The tropical environment housed over 6000 butterflies. Then stopped at the botanical park and visited the Orchid and Hibiscus gardens. Did a short city tour of the business center then headed for a good lunch at a local hotel. After lunch, we had a stop at the Petronas Twin Towers. This also housed a 6 floor shopping mall for some retail therapy. Then the drive back to the ship.
3-13.37 Kuala Lumpur botanical gardens

3-13.37 Kuala Lumpur botanical gardens


3-13.r1 Kuala Lumpur twin towers

3-13.r1 Kuala Lumpur twin towers

March 14-15 - Singapore
The ship medical department arranged for Roger to have a mole on his chest checked out. The doctor removed the mole and lasered the blood vessels. Turned out to be nothing to worry about. Returned to the ship then took the shuttle bus to the local mall. Found a KFC there so had fried chicken comfort food for late lunch. The next day we took a cable car ride that went to 3 islands and over the ship. One leg took us up a hill to Faber Peak that had beautiful views. Roger found 2 caches there. The other leg went to Stenosa Island. This was a very large entertainment location with casinos, Universal Studios Park, restaurants, kids inter-active play and more. We made a stop at a Hard Rock Café. We then took a tram back to the port.
3-15.12 Cable car ride to Mt. Faber

3-15.12 Cable car ride to Mt. Faber


3-15.37 View of Singapore from cable car

3-15.37 View of Singapore from cable car


3-15.38 Stenosa island

3-15.38 Stenosa island


3-15.42  Merlion

3-15.42 Merlion

March 17 - Koh Samui, Thailand
Had a tour to the Na Mung Safari Park. This was where we were to have our 2nd attempt for an elephant ride. But was not to be. Oceania had cancelled this portion of the tour due to an earlier bad experience of a passenger being hurt on a ride. We enjoyed an elephant show and a demonstration of monkeys harvesting coconuts from the trees. There was also a Thai cooking class to make Green Mango salad. The final stop was a demonistration of rubber sap collection and processing it to small mats for export.
3-17.2 Koh Samui, Thailand spirit houses

3-17.2 Koh Samui, Thailand spirit houses


3-17.9 Cooking demo  Green mango salad

3-17.9 Cooking demo Green mango salad


3-17r.1 Na Muang waterfall

3-17r.1 Na Muang waterfall


3-17r.2 Rubber sap collecting

3-17r.2 Rubber sap collecting


3-17r.3 rubber processing

3-17r.3 rubber processing


3-17r.4 Monkey collecting coconuts

3-17r.4 Monkey collecting coconuts


Copy of 3-17.2 Koh Samui, Thailand spirit houses

Copy of 3-17.2 Koh Samui, Thailand spirit houses

March 18-19 - Bangkok, Thailand
King Bhumidol Adulyadej has reigned since 1946. For the last 10+ years, he has been confined to a hospital with dementia. Our guide tried to explain the line of succession since the King has 3 children. Two of them even have an army ready to fight. It’s any ones guess who will win. Since the King was born on a day that has yellow as the color, yellow marigolds are everywhere. They drape garlands of yellow and white everywhere. Hair, neck, auto’s, bikes, cars, busses and boats. Our tour on the 18th was mostly bus ride around the city with very little walking and steps. We saw most of the city highlights then had a nice Thai lunch at a riverside hotel. I had the real Pad Thai! (but not spicy). After lunch we did a tour of the Wat Suthat from the 14th century. The courtyard is lined with statues that have mosaics of glass which came to Thailand as ballast on Chinese trading ships. Then some time for retail therapy again.
3-18.28 King & Queen

3-18.28 King & Queen


3-18.19 Flower market

3-18.19 Flower market


3-18.46 14th century buddha

3-18.46 14th century buddha


3-18.56 Wat Suthat

3-18.56 Wat Suthat


3-18.60 Family buddhas

3-18.60 Family buddhas


3-18.69 Spirit house

3-18.69 Spirit house

Day 2 was a tour of the Imperial Treasures . First stop was at Wat Trimitr for the Golden Buddha Temple. The 700 year old, solid gold Buddha weighs 5 ½ tons and stand 10 feet high. During enemy invasions, the statue was entirely covered with plaster and was located in a different district, this was about 1931. A deserted temple was in need of a Buddha and received permission to move this one. During construction in 1955, the plaster was partly broken and the discovery of the gold statue was found. During our visit, there was a monk novication procession happening. Many family and friends took part and all were offering presents
3-19.3 Monk novication ceremony

3-19.3 Monk novication ceremony


3-19.12 Solid gold buddha

3-19.12 Solid gold buddha

The next stop was the Golden Palace and Emerald Buddha temple. The complex was built in 1782 by King Rama I and covers over 1 square mile. Thai Kings resided in the palace till 1949. The buildings are covered in gilt, glass mosaics with towering finials. The queue was very long to see the jade Buddha so we passed on that (and it was VERY HOT!!) Lunch was next on the menu at the same riverside hotel as yesterday. We then got on a local boat for a ride on the Chao Phraya River and canals. Along the river were teak houses, Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) and Phra Prang, a 260 ft high pagoda decorated with ceramic tiles and pieces of porcelain.
3-19.48 temple with ceramic tiles and porcelain flowers

3-19.48 temple with ceramic tiles and porcelain flowers


3-19.86 Boat with garlands

3-19.86 Boat with garlands


3-19.86 Boat with garlands

3-19.86 Boat with garlands


3-19.91 Phra Phang

3-19.91 Phra Phang


3-19.96 Teak house on river

3-19.96 Teak house on river


3-19.100 Floating grocery store

3-19.100 Floating grocery store


3-19r.1 Witthayaram Temple

3-19r.1 Witthayaram Temple


3-19r.5 Mythical beings

3-19r.5 Mythical beings


3-19r.6 Mystical figures and mosaics

3-19r.6 Mystical figures and mosaics

Posted by pointslj 21:14 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

March 8-10 Myanmar


View Around the World 2016 on pointslj's travel map.

April 15 - Updated with additional photos

RTW day 98 - currently at Kobe , Japan . Since Beijing, China the weather has been very cold. 40's at night and below 70's during the day. while in Japan waters, the internet and cell service will not be allowed. I am in a port terminal using their web and sending what I have done for Myanmar. A couple of pictures are missing so I will send them later. So sorry, again there will be delays in posts. However, it is spring here and the places have the flowers and trees blooming.

March 8 Docked in Rangoon, Myanmar - The last 30 miles was up a river and felt like a river cruise. Had to wait for high tide so made us have a delayed arrival in port. Signed up for the night tour of the Shwedagon Pagoda. It was a 1 ½ hour bus ride on poor roads and heavy traffic to Yangon. The entire site is 114 acres and would take a couple days to see it all. About 588 BC, King Okkalapa enshrined relics of 4 buddha’s who attained enlightenment and called it Shwedagon. The original pagoda was 66 feet high. In 1453 AD, Queen Shin Saw Pu raised the height to 302 feet and in 1774, King Sinbyushin had it rebuilt to the current 326 feet . It is covered in 64 tons of gold paint. The upper portion consists of an “umbrella” that has 7 layers, ½ ton of gold, 83,850 gem stones and 4,016 small gold bells, the ”vane” that has 2000 assorted gems and the “Orb” that has 4351 diamonds and a 76 Carat Apex diamond that is 2600 years old.
3-8.25a Shwedagon Pagoda

3-8.25a Shwedagon Pagoda


3-8.62a 76 Karat diamond on top of orb

3-8.62a 76 Karat diamond on top of orb

The main pagoda is surrounded by a ring of secondary pagodas, Buddha images and 2 very large bells. Around the base are stations marked as Planetary Posts. According to your day of the week of birth, these are the ideal spots to light candles, pour water on the images and pray. There is Before entering the site, shoulders had to be covered, pants or skirts below the knee and no socks or shoes to be worn. And the temperature was about 90F. It was a beautiful time to see the site.
3-8.36a Small pagoda & buddha

3-8.36a Small pagoda & buddha


3-8.45a Jade Buddha

3-8.45a Jade Buddha


3-8.50a Reclining buddha

3-8.50a Reclining buddha


3-8.34a Teak carvings

3-8.34a Teak carvings


3-8.58a Maha Gandha bell made in 1778AD.

3-8.58a Maha Gandha bell made in 1778AD.


3-8  Shoeless and covered up at the pagoda

3-8 Shoeless and covered up at the pagoda

The monks and nuns do not have to have a life time commitment. It is custom to spend at least a week as a monk to fullfill a family duty. The monks go out into the village after morning prayers to collect alms for the daily meal.
3-8.68a nuns chanting

3-8.68a nuns chanting

The Myanmar writing is very pretty. Our guide said the first thing they learn is to draw circles.
3-8.12a Road sign

3-8.12a Road sign

The ladies use a face paint for beauty and for sun protection (I forgot the name of it)
3-8.59a Face painting

3-8.59a Face painting

March 9-10 - Had a wake up call at 3:15am to get the flight to Mandalay. Arrived at 8:30am and started tour. Stopped at the Mahamuni Pagoda and Buddha. Gold leaf is applied regularly by men. NO women are allowed inside.
3-9.40ba Discrimination!!

3-9.40ba Discrimination!!


3-9.41c Mahamuni Gold Buddha

3-9.41c Mahamuni Gold Buddha

Continued on to the Golden palace Monastery (Shwe Kyaung). It is made of carved teak and was originally covered in gold leaf. Again, ladies were not allowed inside the main portion.
3-9.101b Golden Palace.

3-9.101b Golden Palace.

Had a brief stop at shops with teak carving and embrodery
3-9.20a Embrodery

3-9.20a Embrodery


3-9.16a Carving display

3-9.16a Carving display


3-9.24a Puppet carvings

3-9.24a Puppet carvings


3-9.33a Marble carving shop

3-9.33a Marble carving shop

The next stop is the Kuthodaw Pagoda. This complex consists of a main pagoda and 729 separate marble ones that houses the worlds largest book. Each slab is a page of Buddhist scripture.
3-9.49a Worlds largest carved book  729 pages

3-9.49a Worlds largest carved book 729 pages


3-9.52a Pagodas for the marble pages

3-9.52a Pagodas for the marble pages


3-9.53a Book page

3-9.53a Book page


3-9.63a Shrine at Kuthodaw pagoda

3-9.63a Shrine at Kuthodaw pagoda

Later afternoon was a visit to Amarapura, Myanmar’s Royal Capital. A stop at handicraft shops where demos on silk making are done. Then a final visit to the U Bein Bridge which spans Taunghthaman Lake and is the longest teak footbridge in the world. Back to the Mandalay Hill Resort for an outdoor dinner buffet, puppet show and dancers.
3-9.100a U Bein Teakwood bridge

3-9.100a U Bein Teakwood bridge


3-9.42c Amurapura workshop silk weaving

3-9.42c Amurapura workshop silk weaving

March 10 Flight back to Yangon and transfer back to ship.

Happy Sailing Linda & Roger

Posted by pointslj 03:00 Archived in Myanmar Comments (0)

Taj Mahal tour

RTW day #91


View Around the World 2016 on pointslj's travel map.

First, so sorry for no posts in a month. March was a very heavy travel time and with a full ship, the internet is VERY slow. We are currently in Shanghai, China on day 91. A lot of folks are getting off here. Can't believe the cruise is half over. Just returned to the ship from a 3 day tour to Xi'an, China to see the terra cotta warriors. More on that later.....

March 1, docked in Male, Maldives - Took a ferry from the ship to the airport, beautiful blue water. Too bad we did not have a chance for a swim. Flew Srilankan air line to Deli, 1 and 1/2 hour bus ride to Oberoi Hotel with heavy traffic. Motor bikes everywhere, lots of horns honking and very smoggy. Had lunch at the hotel and then some went to the old fort and some went shopping. (Guess what I did!) Roger went to the fort. Had dinner at the roof top terrace with sitar music.
3-1.9b Oberi Hotel, Delhi

3-1.9b Oberi Hotel, Delhi


3-2.1a Delhi Old Fort

3-2.1a Delhi Old Fort


3-2.6a Off to market

3-2.6a Off to market

March 2 - We had 2 buses of folks and a spare bus (just in case) for the 4 hour trip from Deli to Agra. Had a lot of heavy traffic leaving Deli but then mostly interstate roads (toll) thru agriculture areas. It was potato harvesting season with mostly women doing the manual labor. The potatoes were bagged up and trucked to cold storage buildings to be sold later.
3-2.12a Potato truck at storage unit

3-2.12a Potato truck at storage unit


3-3.27a Camel & bull pulling potato trucks

3-3.27a Camel & bull pulling potato trucks

There was also farmers storing the cow patties in straw huts to use as fuel in the bricking making ovens
3-2.11a Cow patty storage

3-2.11a Cow patty storage


3-3.31a Brick making ovens

3-3.31a Brick making ovens

Arrived at the ITC Mughal hotel in Agra.
3-2.45b Mughal Hotel, Agra

3-2.45b Mughal Hotel, Agra

After lunch, I took a tour of the marble inlay factory. I could not believe the detail in the art items they make.
3-2.49a Marble inlay demo

3-2.49a Marble inlay demo


3-2.51a Marble inlay

3-2.51a Marble inlay


We then went to the Kohinoor Jewelry store and embrodery art museum. There was 200 year old robes and large wall art that were amazing. Each one taking 8-10 years to complete. This family business also has a large booth at the Tucson Gem and Mineral shows each year.

Roger took a tour of another fort that was also a prison site. During a power struggle, the eldest son of the king took control of the country and imprisoned his father there. The father requested that his prison cell have a view of the Taj so he could see his wife's burial site.
3-2.1a Old Fort Prison

3-2.1a Old Fort Prison


3-2.1b View of Taj from prison

3-2.1b View of Taj from prison

Left the hotel for a sunset view of the Taj. We left the bus near then site and boarded a large golf cart for the drive to the gate to reduce pollution.
When you walk thru the gate, the view takes your breath away.
3-2.57a Monkeys at Taj Mahal

3-2.57a Monkeys at Taj Mahal


3-2.63a

3-2.63a


3-2.68a Taj Mahal

3-2.68a Taj Mahal


3-2.68b Bench Princess Diana sat on during her visit

3-2.68b Bench Princess Diana sat on during her visit


3-2-68b

3-2-68b

There were a lot of people there but not too bad for viewing. The Taj towers are being cleaned so there was scaffolding around 3 of the towers. The 4th one was already done. Many Indian ladies were in their brightly colored sari's.

March 3 - Rog and I slept in and passed on the opportunity to take a sunrise view of the Taj. After breakfast, we headed back to Deli. Here are some more nice pics from around Agra...
3-2.32a Agra Baby Taj

3-2.32a Agra Baby Taj


3-3.16a sound truck used in ceremonies

3-3.16a sound truck used in ceremonies


3-3.23a Decorated truck

3-3.23a Decorated truck


3-2.27a

3-2.27a

Got back to Oberoi hotel in Deli at lunch time. Did a city tour, visited the Capitol, Air Force Headquarters, WWII memorial arch and a hand crafters co-op. We bought a hand knoted silk Rug (Sorry, forgot to take a picture before they wrapped it.)
3-3.59a War memorial arch Delhi

3-3.59a War memorial arch Delhi


3-3.82a Rug making Demo

3-3.82a Rug making Demo

then dinner on the roof terrace. We were entertained by 2 Indian dancers

March 4 - Flew back to Cochin, India did a short city tour then re-joined the ship.

Next entry will be for Yangon, Myanmar

Happy Sailing!!!

Linda & Roger

Posted by pointslj 21:32 Archived in India Comments (0)

Feb 27, 2016 RTW day 55

Good Bye Africa


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I can't believe that it is almost 2 months into the cruise. Its been everything we had hoped for. Getting ready for the Taj Mahal trip on March 1.

We had dinner in the Polo Grill with a couple (Woodie and Cheryl) that happen to live in Atlanta. Of course, that started chit-chat about the city and it turned out that Cheryl and Roger went to the same grade school, same high school (3 years apart) and the same church. We have had several more dinners together and we are going to the Taj in the same group. Nice folks.

A few days ago, the medical department announced that the Noro Virus had reached 2% of the passengers. This caused the CDC guidelines to be implemented. Lots of sanitizing going on.

So catch up time......

Feb 16 Maputo, Mozambique We did not have a tour scheduled but took a walk into town to look for a geo cache. This lead us to an old train station. It was still a working railroad but did have a lot of old things in a museum. The cache was supposed to be around an old steam engine but the guards said Roger could not touch the engine. He was not able to find the cache.
2-16.1a Maputo rail station

2-16.1a Maputo rail station

2-16.2a Maputo rail station

2-16.2a Maputo rail station


2-16.3b Maputo train station

2-16.3b Maputo train station

Feb 17-18 At sea Still playing MJ, art classes and Rog is going to lectures. I have learned to play Chinese MJ but with out the scoring. It is a lot easier than with the card.

Feb 19 Nosy Be, Madagascar Did not have a tour here. Took the shuttle bus to town called Hell-ville. There were a lot of shops selling crafts and spices and an open air market selling fresh meats, vegetables and fruits (including flies). We did see a couple of fellows holding lemurs for a picture. There were a lot of yellow 3-wheel cabs for hire.
2-19.7a Hell-ville market - Nosy Be, Madagascar

2-19.7a Hell-ville market - Nosy Be, Madagascar


2-19.11a Nosy Be taxi

2-19.11a Nosy Be taxi

Feb 20 at sea

Feb 21 Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania On the way into port, we passed this fish market selling the morning catch.
2-21.6a Dar es Salaam, Tanzania fish market

2-21.6a Dar es Salaam, Tanzania fish market

Signed up for an 8 hour tour to Historic Bagamoyo. We were a caravan of 4 mini busses for the 2 hour drive to Bagamoyo. The bus ride itself was an exciting experience. The roads leaving town were 4 lane with a few stop lights. Then went to 2 lane roads then dirt roads for the rest of the trip. This was a Sunday so there was a lot of traffic, tons of motor bikes. The buses did not stop until we got to our lunch location in Bagamoyo. We had a police escort with sirens and flashing lights and he did not stop for anything. In town, we went thru red lights and even crossed to the wrong side of the road when there was a traffic jam on our side. On the 2 lanes, we drove down the middle stripe and all the traffic moved off the road for us to pass. We felt like a presidential convoy. I asked the guide if this was a safety measure but he said they do it for some special visitors. Not sure I believe that. There were armed guards everywhere. Once we were at the town, we headed to the Paradise Beach Resort. We had a good lunch and entertainment by Swahili dancers. Then had some free time for a quick swim or walk on the beach.
2-21.16a Swahili dancers

2-21.16a Swahili dancers


2-21.20a Swahili dancers

2-21.20a Swahili dancers


2-21.22a Paradise Beach Resort cottage

2-21.22a Paradise Beach Resort cottage


2-21.24a Paradise beach

2-21.24a Paradise beach

Bagamoyo is a costal village which many early explorers like Livingston and Stanley traveled from Zanzibar to outfit their adventures. It is also the last glimpse of their homeland that many slaves had before being transported to Zanzibar to be sold on the slave markets.
We then traveled to the Kaola Ruins. These ruins consist of two mosques and 30 tombs built from coral stones. The older of the 2 mosques is thought to be from the 3rd or 4th century.
2-21.31a Kaole ruins mosque

2-21.31a Kaole ruins mosque


2-21.36a Kaole ruins tombs

2-21.36a Kaole ruins tombs

Then we went to the German Churches Holy Ghost Mission and museum.
2-21.58b German Holy church mission

2-21.58b German Holy church mission


2-21.57a musem slave chains

2-21.57a musem slave chains

There was also a quick stop at an old fort then started our 1 1/2 hour trip back to the port which was accomplished in 1 hour thanks to the police escort. Arrived back at the ship at 7pm.

Feb 22 Zanzibar, Tanzania. Roger and I went on separate tours. I went on a "Spice Tour" . We first went to the Maruhubi Palace ruins. The palace was built by Sultan Barghash in 1882 for his harem but destroyed by fire 20 years later.
2-22.9a Maruhubi Palace ruins

2-22.9a Maruhubi Palace ruins

Then went to the Kidichi Persian Baths built in 1850 by Sultan Seyyid Said for his Persian wife, Sherazade. The changing rooms, massage tables and bathing pool are still visible. The picture is of the stand up toilets.
2-22.43a Persian bath ruins

2-22.43a Persian bath ruins


2-22.19a Boat building

2-22.19a Boat building

Then I to the spice garden for a tour. We had a guide that would pick the plants and we would try to guess what it was by smell. Along the way, the guide was weaving gifts for us (and a bigger tip!). The ladies got a crown with hibiscus flower and a frog necklace. The men got a hat and tie. At the end of the tour, we had a taste of fresh fruits.
2-22.23a Vanilla bean

2-22.23a Vanilla bean


2-22.28a Nutmeg

2-22.28a Nutmeg


2-22.30a palm tree climb

2-22.30a palm tree climb


2-22.37a Crown & frog made by guide

2-22.37a Crown & frog made by guide

Roger went on the Stone Town tour. Built in 1874, the Anglican Church was once the hub of slave trade in East Africa. At its peak, up to 60,000 slaves passed thru the market each year.
2-22.aa Anglican Church

2-22.aa Anglican Church


2-22.bc Slave holding building

2-22.bc Slave holding building


2-22bd Slave holding chamber

2-22bd Slave holding chamber

There were carved doors around that is a symbol of wealth.
2-22.cc Carved door

2-22.cc Carved door

Pretty tree
2-22.dd Pretty tree

2-22.dd Pretty tree

Feb 23 Mombasa, Kenya We did not realize that the game preserve tour we had scheduled had been cancelled. It was too late to schedule a replacement so we just went into town. Roger bought a new battery for the lap top.
2-23.aa Mombasa, Kenya entrance into city center

2-23.aa Mombasa, Kenya entrance into city center


2-23.4a Mombasa, Kenya tuck tuck

2-23.4a Mombasa, Kenya tuck tuck

Feb 24 - 25 At sea Roger reported tummy trouble to medical so WE were confined to the cabin for 48 hours. Had 2 days of room service and a lot of time to catch up pictures and blog.

Feb 26 Mahe, Seychelles We had a tour scheduled at 8:30am but had to cancel. We were released from confinement at 4:30pm so just walked into town but all the stores were closed. Roger was able to find a cache in city center. The ship sailed at 8pm.

Feb 27 at sea Had another captains cocktail party for Oceania Club members.

Happy Sailing Linda & Roger

Posted by pointslj 23:01 Comments (0)

Feb 24, 2016 RTW day 52

The Thanda Safari


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We got into the port of Durban 2 hours late due to the night time storm, leaving at 12:45pm for a 4 hour ride bus ride to the game preserve. There were 12 of us on the trip. We arrived at the gate of the preserve at 5pm and met by 2 open top 4X4 Land Rovers for the 20 minute trip to the lodge. Each truck had a guide driving and a tracker sitting on a seat on the hood. We were not on the road 5 min. and had a giraffe eating a tree right beside the road. He was beautiful. At the lodge, we were greated with a "pink land" drink and received orientation. There was a few dos and don'ts to follow. The animals are used to having the trucks around them but we were warned not to ever get out of the truck or stand up in the truck. This action changes the profile of the truck and may make the animals interested in us. Roger and I kept our butts firmly planted in the seat. We then headed out for an evening bush ride. Saw zebras, many kinds of antelope, wart hogs, a black rino with a small baby. After dark, we were at a watering hole and saw 2 female lions with 2 grown cubs come to the water for a drink. They then came up on the bank and laid down beside the truck.

Returning to the lodge about 8:30pm, we had a fabulous dinner. Roger and I both had a Kudu Steak (a type of antelope) which was very good, potatoes, salad, wine and dessert. After dinner there were 7 Zulu dancers that performed for us. Our villa was 2500sf with a domed thached roof. Outside there was a plunge pool, a wide wrap around wood deck, an outdoor shower, an outdoor fireplace and dining spot and a viewing platform with a round bed extending over the bush. Inside there was a 4poster bed with netting, a floor to ceiling round stone double fireplace, a sitting area, a bathroom with double sinks, a vanity desk, an oval tub and walk in tile shower. Since it was valentines day, whey had red hearts made of rose petals on the bed and bath mat and a bottle of champagne on the fire place hearth.

We had a 5am wake up call for the morning bush ride. Went to the lodge for coffee and juice then headed out toward the elephant area. We saw them coming down a hill and the tracker had the guide go to where they would come out. He said they were heading toward the lodge for a morning drink out of the fish pond there. We waited in the clearing then had 8-10 elephants pass by us. One big bull was coming straight to the truck so the driver backed up out of the way. Heading on, the tracker then saw a pair of white rinos on a hill top. The guide drove up to the top beside the animals but they just continued eating the grass. We were on the Eastern side of the preserve driving along the fence that had an adjoining preserve. At the edge of the other preserve, we saw 2 cheetas looking very nervous. The tracker looker ahead and saw 3 male lions that had just finished a meal and were resting. He said the cheetas had probably caught the prey and the lions had chased them away from it. The lions were beautiful. I can't see how anyone could shoot them. About 9am, the guide stopped and he served us coffee, tea and cookies. Then we headed for another water hole and saw a family of 3 giraffes drinking. There were 3 Cape Buffalo resting near by. We were able to see 4 of the BIG 5 African animals, missing out on the leopard. Got back to the lodge about 10am for breakfast, then had about 1 1/2 hours in our villa to pack and enjoy the view. While waiting for the 4X4s to pick us up, there were 3 large elephants that came to the fish pond for a shower and drink. It was like they were saying goodbye. The 4x4s were picking us up at 11:30am for the ride back to the gate and the waiting bus. We had a 2 hour bus ride back to the ship at Richards Bay.

Enjoy the pictures....

2-14.8 Thanda drive

2-14.8 Thanda drive


2-14.17 Thanda drive

2-14.17 Thanda drive


2-14.27 Thanda Zulu dancers

2-14.27 Thanda Zulu dancers


2-14.60 white rino

2-14.60 white rino


2-14.17b Female Lions at night

2-14.17b Female Lions at night


2-14.59a Zebra

2-14.59a Zebra


2-14.57a Male lions

2-14.57a Male lions


2-14.46a Herd heading for water hole

2-14.46a Herd heading for water hole


2-14.79 drinking giraffe

2-14.79 drinking giraffe


2-14.79 drinking giraffe

2-14.79 drinking giraffe


2-14.74 buffalo

2-14.74 buffalo


2-14.68c Coffee break

2-14.68c Coffee break


2-14.86a Thanda villa

2-14.86a Thanda villa


2-14.88a Thanda villa

2-14.88a Thanda villa


2-14.90 Thanda villa

2-14.90 Thanda villa


2-14.91a Bedroom & fireplace

2-14.91a Bedroom & fireplace


2-14.85a Viewing platform

2-14.85a Viewing platform


2-14.103 Thanda elephants saying goodby

2-14.103 Thanda elephants saying goodby

Happy Cruising!!
Linda & Roger

Posted by pointslj 20:54 Comments (0)

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