The last time I blogged, we’d been to 2 matches and just met some of the England players. How fast the World Cup moves – those England players are now back in blighty, we’ve seen 6 matches now and have done all sorts around Africa.
After Sun City and Pretoria, we headed to Nelspruit for the New Zealand v Italy match. As most people will know by now the All Whites pulled off a shock result drawing with the Italians 1-1. The atmosphere in and around the All Whites fans was electric, and even they couldn’t have foreseen Smeltz scoring to put New Zealand 1-0 up. After a very dodgy penalty, the Italians got it back to 1-1 and the All Whites defended resolutely to pull off a result that kiwis will talk about for a long time.
We left Nelspruit and went to Blyde River Canyon and then to Kruger Park.
Blyde was pretty amazing but we saw some amazing stuff in Kruger Park. The big 5 were all about – Lions, Leopards, Rhino, Elephants and Buffalo, plus Giraffes, Antelope, Hippo, Zebra and this Hyena with it’s meal of Impala.
We went to watch the Australia v Serbia match in Nelspruit, then the New Zealand v Paraguay match the following day (after an 8 hour drive). The Australia match was a great game with both teams attacking, with Australia notching their first win with a 2-1 victory. The New Zealand game on the opposite hand was a damp squib. Paraguay had to draw to guarantee qualification whereas the All Whites had to win to qualify. New Zealand didn’t have enough up front and Paraguay setup to defend and easily held strong to for a dull 0-0 draw. As it happened, a goal for NZ would have seen them top the group, something which anyone in their right mind couldn’t have foreseen. A good performance from the All Whites and one in which the players and staff can take a lot of pride in and look to build on.
The day after, we drove down to Jo’burg to get a flight to Port Elizabeth. After getting up to speed down the runway, the brakes suddenly slammed on and the stewardesses were shouting “Brace! Brace!”. To say that I was in need of a new pair of pants afterwards is an understatement. As it happened, we came to a complete stop, and we were told that the instruments was malfunctioning. The brakes had binded to the wheels so we had to get towed back into the airport and after a 3 hour wait boarded a flight that had no problems and landed in PE to a round of applause.
We went to the Uruguay v South Korea match in Port Elizabeth and got royally soaked. The game was a good game and Luis Suarez scored a great goal to see the Uruguayans through, although South Korea could have scored twice from one-on-one chances so can only have themselves to blame.
We drove the Garden Route towards Cape Town. We stayed in Plettenberg Bay on the way so that we could watch Germany beat some bunch of old timers 4-1. I hear David Blaine is now upset as his record of doing bugger all in a box for 42 days was beaten by Wayne Rooney. Anyway, can’t say that many of us were surprised with the result. The only positive to come out of it was that we had seriously considered travelling to Bloemfontein to watch the England game, which would have cost around £600 (NZ$1400) including 12 hours driving. So glad we decided against it.
Whilst we saved the hassle there, Plettenberg Bay gave me the opportunity of throwing myself off a 216m high bridge attached to an elastic band. The Bloukrans Bridge Bungy is the highest in the world, and now I have an excuse never to do one ever again. At least it meant that I missed the first 20 minutes of the England game – not sure which was worse punishment.
After Plett, we went to Cango Wildlife Ranch and saw a couple of cats. We got to stroke and see Cheetah Cubs, a White Tiger and Cheetahs. It was amazing to get so close to the these cats and spend time with them. There was loads of other animals in the sanctuary, but that was definitely the highlight and something I’ll remember for a long time.
We then went to Cape Town which is where we are now. I’ll blog about my Cape Town experience later, as this has been a long one. We go to Kimberley, Jo’burg and Victoria Falls next.