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Penny in a comfortable chair at SkukuzaI am writing a general happy reflection on our great days in SA and Botswana while it is still very vivid in my mind! We all had wondeful prime family time with many friends as well.

It is amazing to think and imagine we were still in Botswana this time last week having arrived back in Europe to the weather we may have wished for at Christmas time! I am in Frankfurt area with Peter and
we woke up to a covering of snow yesterday and a -3° frost this am! Beautiful but….. In SA we enjoyed the glorious sun and warmth that goes with it – much enjoyed by three young boys who swam in pools nearly everyday wherever we happened to be!

We all managed to arrive at JHB on March 4th within an hour of each other! Andrew was there to meet us and take his Father onto Francistown whilst eight of us went east towards Kruger Park. We stayed at Badplaas in the most beautiful area the first night – rolling hills and wonderful clouds casting huge shadows as we drove along….. the park had pools and mineral springs ,quad bikes for the energetic
ones Andrew & Sareta Just Married !!!and quiet spots for the oldies! ( me!!) We all slept well and moved onto have five nights in Kruger the next day. All went well and we stocked up at a PicknPay on our way into the park for the evenings of braais and outdoor life! we managed to get wrapped around a tree in the carpark before leaving but that is another story and saw our large hirecar excess disappear on day2! But it could have been much worse! We were able to drive off with everything still working!

The park with the boys was a great success…. we especially enjoyed our first two nights at Shukuza where we had a large bungalow for most of us and a smaller roundaval where Liz and Erik stayed… we saw the most game here too on morning and night drives including a close sighting of a white rhino spotted by Erik! The night skies too were just amazing! Olifants was our next camp and we had three amazing guest houses overlooing the river and the last one was Shingwedzi and the one I remembered most from my first visit with Andrew way back in 91!

We spent the Erik & Liz at Baadplaslast nght at Louis Trichart before driving through the border at Martins Drift to Francstown. It was a wonderfully old fashioned slightly run down hotel with lovely gardens….. the pool was also inhabited by a pair of gueese but the boys still went in with strict instructios not to swallow too much water!! We were looked after by Hendricks who insisted on serving the children first at dinner and breakfast….. it worked well and we enjoyed wonderful real home cooking at an amazingly low price ´- especially compared to UK prices!

And so to Francistown and the real reason for the holiday! We were twenty or so for the days there – just over a week – and Andrew and Sareta managed to accomadate all of us one way and another! All the children – 6 of them were with them and their parents and liz, Erik and I stayed with John and Bee next door in great comfort! We also made full use of the Spa in between – Katherine had a treatment everyday and loved it! There was lots of last minute planning and detail etc but all came together perfectly on the day – a few Henry gives the seven swimming pools and waterslides at Baddplas the thumbs upanxious moments regarding the weather as we had two nights of rain and thunderstorms – but at midday on the day the skies cleared and the sun came out and the blessing service in Bee and Johns garden was perfect! We all went onto an evening reception at The Marang after photos and drinks….. Andrew gave a great speech and then we danced the night away!

It was so special to enjoy evenings of family suppers all taking a turn to produce it…. ( I got away with no cooking!) So much easier to be doing everything outside…. I got to have my birthday that week too and a party had been organised so I felt very pampered and spoilt!

We all left on March 17th – Andrew & Sareta are enjoying Mauritius til Tuesday…. and we had two nights in a lodge nr Valwarter just three hours or so north of JHB and over the border…. it gave us time to get our energy levels up to tackle the long flights home!!

I am in Germany til next week and go to Dublin this weekend for another wedding…. we are going Friday – Monday and Peter James quad bikingis going to give me a tour of his city!! His sisters daughter is getting married so I will meet his family! Then home to Tenterden after being away for months! Liz is planning on relocating to the Boston area in the US in April so I need to get back to have some time with her…..

Hope all is very well with everyone!

Love Penny

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