Once in Johannesburg, after I settled into our little cottage at 2B Happy Lodge, I checked in at the main office with Patience, one of the property managers. Patience asked me what I hoped to do while in "Jozi"? I rambled off a few random things that I wasn't so sure about and told her how I'd just missed out on a day safari opportunity for the following morning. Patience gently smiled at me and informed me that she knew of a few more safari tour companies. She picked up the phone and started to make calls. What she came up with was a safari guided by JoziTours, this safari was identical to the first option but only $125 per adult half off for Zane ($68) and Dude for free. My new total was $193 and they would call back to verify if there was an opening for Thursday's tour, the day after Christmas. They called back hours later with the bad news that they will NOT offer a tour onThursday. Patience broke the bad news to me and when she saw my sad face she said "don't worry my dear, be patient we will find something"
The next morning (yesterday) she came to me with a game plan. "OK Erica, you can rent a car for $60 drive to the park yourself and just look around from the car window." In my head the response was "Say what, say huh?!?! There is no way I can rent a car that is right hand drive, drive 2.5 hours to the park (while still jetlagged) with two children, in South Africa!! I don't even know how to pump or buy gas here! I'm adventurous but not suicidal. I wouldn't make it to the highway driving in the left side of the street. I would then have to drive through a nature game reserve that houses 450+ elephants 75+ lions, rhinos, giraffes, and other animal that I've never seen or heard of!!" She once again saw my face ask me for another hour for her to think. For the record none of this is in Patience's job description. Her job is to make sure we check in and out without trashing the place in between. She was doing this all of her own kindness and was very adamant that she wanted us to leave with a positive impression of South Africa.
After an hour I returned. By this time she'd spoken to a tour company based out of Sun City minutes from Pilanesburg Game Park. They would do the tour on Christmas Day for $40 for me and $20 for Zane, with Dude going for free. After tax and gratuity it would be $68 total. Wtf!!! This whole thing went from $495/ $330 to $68!!! Hell yes Patience! The only catch is that they don't pick up from Johannesburg I would have to find a ride to sun city which is 2.5 hours away. She suggested the rental again. Again that was an absolute N-O! She then called two tour places who were closed on Christmas. She then reluctantly suggested her husband drive me with her joining along for the ride. Her kids were older and Christmas is not a big commercial productions like in the US so she said she wouldn't mind spending her day off getting out of the city. We negotiated a price $50 for gas and $50 for ther time. Taking us there and waiting for us to finish our tour. The new total was $168. Not bad at all. In one day I would have spent that in gas and groceries at home!! We agreed. She called to reserve my spot for Christmas morning and she told me to be ready by 5am to head out early to sun city for my safari pick up.
During each journey I am gifted an angel (or two) Patience and her husband, Sibusiso are mine for my journey in South Africa. It was even nicer to find out that Sibusiso (which means blessed in Zulu) was the same smiling driver who picked us up from the airport.