JUNE 3 :: SAFARI AT PILANESBURG NATIONAL PARK
The Mustangs left Johannesburg on Tuesday morning for a day-trip to Sun City and a safari in Pilanesburg National Park. The park is about a two-and-a-half hour bus ride northwest of Johannesburg. The team also had their final practice in Africa once they got back to Johannesburg.
The site states that the park is nearly 55,000 hectare (136,000 acres or 212 square miles) and is home to over 7,000 animals, including almost every mammal that resides anywhere in Africa. The site has pictures of the landscape and a complete list of species that can be seen along the more than 200 kilometers (124 miles) of road that runs throughout the reserve.
On Wednesday, the team faces a South African club team at noon in South Africa (5 a.m. in Dallas). Then the journey home begins. They start on a 6:40 p.m. flight from Johannesburg with stops in Dakar and Atlanta before arriving back in Dallas late Thursday morning.
Blog Entry - June 3
"Safari and our last practice"
Today is my wife's birthday! We had a good day as we traveled about 2 ½ hours to Sun City and the Pilanesburg National Park for a Safari ride. We all (23 people) loaded up on an open air truck and cruised through the land seeing zebras, a giraffe, a lion, hippos, impalas, wart hogs and a few other species. It was a park that was left to the wild. Animals are on their own with no help from the staff. They wanted to keep it as natural as possible.
After a late lunch we drove 2 hours back towards "Joburg" to the American International School for practice. Brian Kelly and his wife, Beth, greeted us. Brian is from California and Beth is from Colorado, but they have been in Africa for about 20 years. They have a child at UCLA and one at UC-Santa Barbara. They were kind to let us use their fine gym for practice.
I asked the guys to really focus their energy on having a good practice as we have had a long day. This would be the last team practice until mid-October, so I wanted it to be a good one. Overall, I was very pleased. We needed to work on our half court defense and I think we got better in that area. After almost two hours, we loaded up for our hotel and dinner. This would be our last night in Africa.
Tomorrow we have a game at noon vs. a South African club team then we are off to the airport for our long journey home. We leave Joburg at 6:40pm on Wednesday and arrive Dallas on Thursday at 11:30am with stops in Dakar and Atlanta. I am on my third book this trip and hope to finish it before we land. Here are my books:
They are all very good, in case you are looking for a good read.
The trip has been great. We achieved more than I had hoped - education, competition, bonding, exposure and fun! Yet, I know that once tomorrow hits, we will all be looking forward to getting home. Our family already picked out Thursday's meal - Extreme Pizza! Tucker and I are looking forward to seeing the Celtics and the Lakers go head to head in the NBA Finals.
Special thanks go out to Malcolm Farmer for organizing this whole trip! It was an amazing undertaking and he did it all. Great job Coach Farmer! Secondly, I would like to thank Steve Orsini for allowing us to take this trip, a trip that we will remember for the rest of our lives. It was terrific.
My next blog will be posted Thursday evening or Friday morning.