(Location: Johannesburg, South Africa)
Getting to Madagascar from the US takes a bit of time, especially if you are on frequent flyer tickets. We’d booked forever in advance so we got business class tickets and were flying Houston – DC – Johannesburg – Antananarivo. There was a hurricane in the Atlantic, so we were watching the weather intently. It appeared to be headed straight for DC, so we called the airlines and pre-emptively rebooked ourselves via London. This meant leaving a day earlier, no business class, a 9 hour layover in London, and a 22 hour layover in Johannesburg. De-freaking-lightful.
We stayed at the President Lodge Guesthouse, which was recommended by some local fiends. The lodge was close to the airport, clean and secure, and had lovely hosts. We arrived around 10am so were intent on beating jet lag by staying awake as long as possible. The lodge arranged for a car to take us out to the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve, located about an hour away.
The have an “Animal Crèche” where you can pay to go into a pen and play with the animals. The rate was R30 per person per species and each visit lasts 5 minutes. This came out to about $2, so we visited them all.
We returned to the lodge covered in cat hair, so the lodge hosts arranged to have our clothing laundered and returned in a few hours. Dinner was abundant and yummy: pork, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, yams, and malva pudding for dessert. Breakfast was just as lavish, though we were still full from the night before.
Next stop: Antannanarivo