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Cullinan Diamond Mine174.2 Kilometers to the Manyane Resort Caravan Camp in Pilanesberg National Park. Mar24,2011

While driving through one of the toll booths that we had to go through that day I smashed my mirror and couldn't see the Left side of the RV. I looked for our tail gunner in my other mirror but he was not visible and since I couldn't find any place I felt safe enough to stop I continued to the park. Upon arrival before proceeding through the gate I jumped out and pulled the mirror back into place. We pulled into the Caravan Camp found a site,

Class C Motor Home

left our chairs and headed into the game preserve for a self drive and animal viewing. We saw zebras, rhinos, wildebeests, Kudu and impalas.

zebraswildebeast crossing roadZebra

ImpalaMother Kudu nursingwildebeasts


the next morning bright and early we met the Safari Jeep and were taken to the Elephant ride. The ride is in a closed off section of the park where they have zebras, rhinos and giraffes.


Debby and I along with the handler rode an elephant named Michael Jackson who was the biggest but not the toughest in the riding herd,

Michael JacksonMichael his handler and us

as he had lost a fight to a rival for the favors of the groups only female. Our freinds Marci and Steve Krauss took the pictures of us as I took pictures of them.

marci and srevcemarci and steve with babymarci and steve

The ride lasted about an hour and was awesome We of course saw all the animals which were in the area. The predator species were excluded by walls and fences. After the ride we fed Michael and then were fed ourselves as the staff prepared a souvenir video of our ride.

Debby feeding Michaelcharlie feeding michael

young elephant


Impalas, zebras, Guinea Fowl and baboons were allowed to roam into the caravan camp but not the larger animals and predators.

guinea HenImpalas fightingbaboon

In the afternoon we took our rig out into the park for our last self drive and wouldn't you know it I had an accident. I drove into a small loop and saw that others had backed out the way they came in but it looked passable to me so I drove through an opening in the bushes. What I hadn't seen however was a branch sticking out at about 2 feet off the ground and that ripped a gash in the side of the rig from front to back. I heard it but was not about to get out in a wildlife park that hosted Lions and Leopards. Replacement for the side cost me about $300 U.S


That night we all went to a buffet farewell dinner at the Resort and the following morning we were up and out by 5 AM picked up by the Safari Jeep and taken out to the Park for a balloon ride. The teams that set up the balloons were running late because one of the trucks had been attacked by a bull elephant.

us in front of balloon


Our driver had a rifle

driver with rifle

(this picture was taken when the driver was guarding a trip participant who needed to relieve herself before getting in the gondoila. He politely had his back to her and I made sure only he was in the picture)

Our pilot had a handgun but he said after this experience with the bull elephant he was going to get checked out for a rifle. He realized the hand gun wouldn't stop an elephant. We rode up in the balloon and could see the other balloon near us (our group was too big for one balloon) We saw several cars below us and waved.


balloon rideballoon ride

Obviously I didn't take the picture of us in the gondola and that is Styeve in the other corner. So I am pretty sure the picture of us was taken by Charles (Chuck) Lehman another of our trip mates.

balloonview from baloon

While on the ride we saw giraffes, wildebeest, impalas and black rhinos (most of the Rhinos we had seen on our drives had been white rhinos).

inpala from balloonwildebeast from Balloon

black rhino from balloon3 giraffes from balloon


Upon touching down and disembarking we met the chase team and our jeep driver who quickly set up a table and we were all treated to a champaign toast and presented with a certificate of our flight.

jeep driver setting up toast

The driver then took us for a buffet breakfast at one of the parks time share resorts and they didn't even try and sell us a time share. After breakfast we went back to the Caravan Camp to prepare our rigs to be turned in at the Johannesburg Maui Depot.

We then drove the 196 KM (122mi) to the Johannesburg Depot. Our rigs were checked in and we were taken to the Southern Sun Tambo Garden Court Hotel. After checking into our rooms and relaxing for a while we went to dinner in the hotel's dining room.