The End of a Journey

Posted by  Daniël Cronk   in       12 years ago     695 Views     Comments Off on The End of a Journey  

As I departed Gabarone, Botswana for the 6 hour bus ride to Johannesburg, South Africa I began to reflect on the journey I had just undertaken. What began as a 30 day journey through Southern Africa was quickly coming to an end. Time seems to go quicker each time I leave as it seemed almost like yesterday I had left and now I was heading home.

The journey began after 23 hours of travel from Minneapolis, MN, USA to Cape Town, South Africa by way of Amsterdam, Netherlands. After spending 2 days in Cape Town (with an unexcpted sighting of Matt Damon & Clint Eastwood) I headed north to Upington, South Africa for a day in Augrabies National Park before reaching Windhoek, Namibia 2-days later. After 3-days safari in Etosha National Park and 3-days safari in the Namib Desert I headed to Victoria Falls, Zambia/Zimbabwe. A week of activities like, canoeing down the Zambezi River, helicopter rides over the falls, an elephant & walking safari I headed into Chobe National Park in Botswana where I caught glimpse of my first wild elephant, which stopped my heart. After spotting thousands of elephants and over 20 other species of animals & birds the journey took me into the Okavango Delta, where a 3-day mekoro jorney took me through the reeds of the delta and into the heart of the worlds largest inland delta. But, too soon I was arriving in Gabarone, where I knew my journey was to end and as 2 days later I arrived at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa I knew my adventure had come to an end. But I did not get sad because of the newly formed memories of the people I had met and the things I had experienced would keep me happy for a while.

The flight out of O.R. Tambo Int'l Airport in Johannesburg turned out to be one wild ride. Departing on time at 23:30 my KLM flight headed due north with the destination of Amsterdam, flying directly into what turned out to be 9 out of 11.5 hours of pure turbulence. As I downed my last bottle of NyQuil (premeasured bottles of pure sleep) the plane began to rock, roll, jump and jive as we entered the airspace of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and never let up until we reached the south coast of France. . . this means that I slept very little, even under the influence of NyQuil. But after 11 and a half hours of flying the flight landed at Schiphol Airport.

Boarding the flight to Minneapolis I could feel myself fading, but pressed myself to stay awake - but did it last? Mostly. I also noticed something very weird, a lot of familiar faces. Almost half of the plane, it turns out, had been on the flight out of Johannesburg - strange. To lighten the mood on board, the captain turned comedian. During his talk he told us that there were 2 very important rules aboard his aircraft. 1.) Always pay attention to the very expensive and all important Seat-Belt sign and 2.) Always listen, respect and do not irritate the flight attendants for fear that you might end up being shoved into an overhead luggage bin. This flight was very smooth and the attendants very friendly. I don't know why so many people don't like the old Northwest Airlines - on all of my transatlantic flights I have never once had a problem. But it was strange, none-the-less, to be aboard a Northwest flight, a Northwest aircraft (an Airbus A330-300), but painted in the Delta livery (colors). A sign of the times to come.

So as I sit here writing this I leave you with one final question after a journey that has taken me over 65,000 miles round trip . . . where do I go next?


I am very passionate about traveling. My goal is to visit as many places and experience as many things as I can during my short journey on this earth.