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My Amazing South African Experience

by Amanda Musumeci |  Published: Dec 30, '13

Sawubona from South Africa!!!

I've missed you guys :/

But on the bright side, I did get to enjoy an insane experience that I can now share with you!! Yay!

As some of you probably know, I was supposed to go on this trip last fall, but it fell through last minute. Before I start ranting about how incredible this experience has been, I'd like to take a second to thank Mr. Gary Lentin for showing me how generous and hospitable South African's truly are. He has helped to make this one of the most memorable poker trips that I've had to date. I look forward to coming back to this magical place for years to come!

My trip began with a sweet 17 hours of travel. I know this sounds treacherous.. but dudes, check out this sneak peak of how worth it it was...

This trip kind of happened in a backwards fashion. Typically, I'd play cards, work my butt off, and if I did well, I'd treat myself to a great excursion afterwards. Can I start to tell you how happy I am that this was not the case this time around?!

To begin, we were whisked right off to safari. This particular safari had a resort property backed up against a massive wildlife park. For two nights, we stayed at the breathtakingly beautiful Ivory Tree Game Lodge. The staff here were all incredible... they accommodated in every way. This is not something that was limited just to this property, but this level of hospitality seemed to stretch to each location I ventured to in my time in South Africa.

We totally struck gold with our safari guide, Wesley. He was so knowledgeable and enthusiastic about his work. He even made Ana (Marquez) a birthday cake!!

Wesley took us on a total of 3 safaris in our two days there...two morning trips and one at night. It was unrealll(!!!) to see all these creatures running around. My favorite was when we saw a white rhino with her baby trotting around. Despite being so large, their trot seemed so light-footed and happy... like a little rhino dance :)

 I'm so thankful that we had such a great group for safari. When we had initially arrived in Joberg, our group for safari had already been predetermined by the casino coordinators. But I must say that I'm so happy it all worked out the way that it did. We all learned a lot about each other, and a lot about friendship on this journey. It's experiences like these that give me the most joy in life. New experiences in new places with new and wonderful people! Such blessings...

After our two nights at Ivory Tree, we took a short drive over to an elephant sanctuary. This place was equally as amazing and welcoming as the last! Here, our group had our own private compound in a back-set area of the grounds. Check it out...

We got to pet the elephants, walk with them hand-in-trunk, ride them, feed them, and we even got a kiss from them at the end of the night ;) 

The fun wasn't over yet. Even after we arrived back in Johannesburg for the WPT events, we still were able to make time for another excursion to the lion park. They had animals there that we'd missed on safari like hyenas. We also go to have a hands-on lion cub interaction!!

The events there turned out to be super soft, and therefore a ton of fun to play! I made a run in the 1k 6max event there, eventually busting out I think in 8th place to bubble the final table.

I can't say enough about how amazing this trip was. Not only did the scenery impress, but the new friends that I made along the way were such a gift!

Towards the end of the trip, my new pals Bryn and Ana went to work trying to convince me that I should do a Euro trip. Well it worked. And that's where we'll pick up next time.... (!!!!)

Love all your faces. 
Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of
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