Friday, November 30, 2012

Trip to Rustenburg and Pilanesburg Game Park

One advantage of living in Gaborone is our proximity to the border with South Africa - the closest border crossing is only about 30 minutes' drive from our house. We drove about three hours down to Rustenburg, South Africa over Thanksgiving weekend, and had a great time! We basically had three goals in visiting Rustenburg:

1. To eat at McDonald's, the nearest of which is located in Rustenburg. Believe it or not, there are no McDonald's in Botswana! I eat McDonald's probably about twice a year when living in the U.S., but it's funny how just knowing that McDonald's isn't available here has made me crave a nice fake-meat burger and some greasy French fries.

Mission: accomplished! And my McDonald's craving has been satisfied for another six months or so.

2. To visit Pilanesburg Game Park. South Africa is chock full of lovely game parks where you can easily spend days driving around spotting giraffe, zebra, lions, hippos, and elephants. Pilanesburg is just about 30 minutes outside Rustenburg so we did a self-drive through on Saturday. The park is really beautiful and the mountain scenery gives a different experience from Botswana's safari locations. We didn't see any of the "big cats" but found plenty of giraffe and zebra - including my favorite find of the day: an absolutely adorable little baby zebra whose stripes hadn't fully come in yet! As an added bonus, our hotel was located on a private game reserve so we got to do another game drive through our hotel grounds on Sunday. Awesome!

3. To stock up our liquor cabinet and avoid the 45% tax on alcohol in Botswana. This was the only one of our goals that we did not accomplish... we didn't realize that all liquor stores in South Africa are closed on Sundays! Oh well, still an amazing weekend!

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