WAYLAND — A local woman has a lot of adventures, and she loves to share them with her community.
Kay Thomas of Wayland went to South Africa this summer, and shared the experience with the Wayland Lowell Club on Nov. 13.
Thomas visited Nelson Mandela’s childhood home and museum, which was one of the main reasons she went there. She visited several national parks, and was able to get up close and personal with the safari creatures.
“I went there for a month, and it took a lot of planning to make it happen,” she said. “I always use Overseas Adventure Travel, and they are always very good. I went alone on this trip, and they told me I could only bring one small duffle bag and a backpack.”
Overseas Adventure Travel is an affordable way to travel with natives of the country to show you around.
There are certain things you need to consider when you travel to another country, and that is medication and personal hygiene. In the case of South Africa, you can’t drink the water, so you need to think about drinking bottled water the whole time.
Thomas really looked up to the ideals of Mandela, and the legacy he left behind for his people. She loved that part of the trip the most.
Thomas talked about the accommodations of the cabins and tents she stayed in while there.
“Thornybush is a private reserve that is owned by the British. It is so beautiful there, and it is not touristy at all,” she said. “It was the nicest camp I stayed in. They have people who wash your clothes everyday, and it is nicely folded for you when you get back. Everything they do is at a slower pace there. They are in no rush.”
The groups were divided to go on animal adventures with a great guide who told them how to behave in the environment.
“At Thornybush I saw a giraffe right away, and I loved seeing this animal in its natural habitat,” Thomas said. “All of the animals are so beautiful and healthy there. It is amazing to be able to take photos of them in nature.”
Thomas not only loved the wildlife, but she took many photos of the African sunsets.
“We would always go out tracking animals in the morning, because there would be tons of them at the water hole,” she said. “There are over 500 species of birds there too. It really is amazing to see.”
Thomas added that the parks keep everything clean and natural there. The animals are allowed to roam free, and when they die their bodies are left to decay in nature.
There were a couple of scary moments in the wilds of South Africa. One being the first night there when Thomas was walking to her tent, and she heard a hippo thrashing around close by. The other being a whole group of elephants surrounding her adventure truck while the baby elephants hid in the bushes.
One really nice thing the group did for the natives of the area was buy $300 worth of food at the local market. This fed 500 people in the village for a month.
Thomas said that the people there are very grateful for American tourists, and they love having us over there. We actually bring money into their villages, and that helps their economy grow.
Thomas is always looking forward to her next adventure, and willing to talk about them with the community.