A week ago, holy that was quick! I wrote something in Durban hoping to sum up my 1 week in South Africa but ended up just writing about my one day in Durban. So I will just quickly now, give a wrap up of what went before that. A prequel actually to the previous post.
My trip began in Johannesburg. Joburg (or Jozi), as it is often called, is not the capital of South Africa and never was. Some South Africans didn’t know that as well so no worries. It’s a HUGE city and very difficult to get around without a car. HUGE like if they say the shop is 3-1/2 blocks away, it means you’ll be walking the 3-1/2 GIANT blocks for 20 minutes instead of 2.
So I found myself at Bob’s Backpacker’s Hostel because it’s the highest rated hostel in hostelworld.com but turns out it’s in the suburb, and so it is not easy to go anywhere except for Pick-and-Pay supermarket. I had to use shuttle taxi on both days which can be expensive but I met some travelers there and we share the taxi. I went to the Apartheid Museum on the day that I arrive and did Soweto tour on the 2nd day.
On the 2nd day though, I was getting frustrated and feel like I would leave the town without knowing the city on a more personal level. And by that I mean no seeing or experiencing how the normal people live. Everyone warned me how dangerous Joburg is so I didn’t want to test my luck so early on my trip.
So it was quite fortunate that Meruschka (@mzansigirl) invited me on twitter to join a sundown party in the city. Needless to say, I jumped at the chance! And she organized me with some of her fabulous friends, S & F who so nicely agreed to get me from (and returned me to) my hostel.
And with that I had the most amazing time with what a typical young people of Joburg spend their after work. They drove me around the city, showing me all the malls. I believe they have as many as we have in Manila, but one more posh than the next. They also showed to their homes (S & F) and even had a Braai dinner in one of them before heading for the Sundown party where I met more of their friends. As F works in the film and entertainment industry, I got introduced to one of Jozi’s well known DJ, DJ Fresh of 5FM. It’s a gathering not very different to what we have in Manila on a Thursday night. But I was really happy to know them and get their view on what South Africa is to them. It’s really quite interesting because they were born before the apartheid was abolished.
Kruger National Park
The following day was the day I go to Kruger Park, the biggest game park in South Africa where you get to see the Big 5 (Lion, African Elephant, Buffalo, Rhino, and Leopard. The tour company came for me at 6am, so it means that I hardly got a shut eye for the party the night. But it’s all good!
My Kruger Park experience was not 100% happy. For one, it rained that weekend. The 4 day tour is actually just 1-1/2 days in Kruger Park, and I was not very happy with my ranger/guide. I will write a separate review on my Kruger Park experience when I go home.
But considering the bad weather and all, it was overall a good one because I had seen 3 of the Big 5 (Elephant, Buffalo, Rhinos) in full view, a hint of a leopard buried deep in a bush. And we saw loads of different animals including zebras and giraffes. I was also super happy with my new Nikkor 80-400mm lens which I used for the first time in this trip with amazing results. I must have taken 1000 photos, I need to sort them and include the photos in my Kruger Park post. It was good, but I will complain later anyway.
Now this is one of the 3 capital cities in South Africa. This is also just stone throw from Joburg. I chose to be dropped off here only so that I can be in another city, but I was only here for one day and didn’t really see much. But what’s nice in the backpacker’s is that I chat up with some young black South African lads who were in Pretoria for sort of internship with a company. They’re studying to be a tool maker. And it’s very interesting as well what they have to say about their life today and opportunities post apartheid. They’re very positive bunch and quite nice to know. And so this was my last night before I went for my 12 hour journey to Durban. This sums up my week 1 in South Africa.
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