Read here about my other South African adventures:
There are 42 degrees Celsius in Doha, as the captain announces us before we leave Johannesburg, South Africa, where it is winter. Winter means about 20 degrees plus by day and around 10 by night. A very pleasant weather. Even if I had dreamt about this trip, I would have not imagined such a beautiful adventure in Africa.
If somebody told me Johannesburg was a definitely on the “to visit” on one’s list because it is simply amazing, you can visit animal parks and hug baby lions, have good wine and go clubbing, visit museums and local markets, I would have said that is the presentation of all holiday destinations.
I am still touched by my Joburg (as locals and connoisseurs call it) amazing experience, mainly due to the wonderful people I met. The reality is that no matter how beautiful a place is, the people that you share the view are the most important.
So, let’s get started!
I flew for more than 8 hours and arrived at the O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. I had been excited, but when I heard “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to South Africa …” I just could not wait to start the adventure. The landscape looks not very spectacular, but there is a lot of green, the view looks pretty rural, maybe American rural. There are a lot of old cars and the first thing you notice is that the car wheel is on the right side. We pass by a neighborhood of small houses looking like wagons, with no roof. They are colorful and they all have small solar panels on top. I think we are heading to a better area of the city by the way the cars and buildings start to look. There are palm trees, evergreen vegetation, ferns, perfectly trimmed decoration trees, trees that lose their leaves, trees with colorful/autumn leaves in shades of gold, burgundy and pale green.
I notice this man of color who is wearing a very colorful tribal motifs T-shirt, like the ones made by Etro and it looks perfect on his skin.
I am listening to some melancholic songs in my room and I realize we are only happy when we take things as they are. And we don’t complain. Even though we wished. When we walk an extra mile for others and they do the same for us. I have not slept for more than 24 hours, but I feel good. And excited. And fulfilled.
After one good nap, one has to eat and in South Africa meat has tradition and the quality of the meat is very good. Most of the restaurants offer huge steaks and ribs which come in a huge portion. My first dinner was at The Bull Run, where you see the butcher prepare the meat and he greets you with a wide smile on his face, like he is not working, but enjoying the evening.
I had a wonderfully succulent steak with mashed potatoes and Bechamel sauce spinach together with South African white wine. Spontaneously, after the dinner we decided to go clubbing and we were arranged a shuttle from the restaurant after taking these pictures.
When I told people I am going to South Africa, I started hearing about precautions, taking care, be safe, don’t carry valuables etc. I guess I was going to find out later why…
Everybody recommended Kong as the best club in the city (I heard Movida is also very good) so the shuttle took us there, but apparently the driver did not know the way, so he dropped us off at Hyatt Johannesburg. Here I notice the first time a disclaimer regarding the persons who step in, their property etc. and later I saw the same in Nelson Mandela Square. I guess it is not the safest place ever. But I am also brave and crazy and lucky, so I visited everything by day and by night.
From the hotel we walked through some stores and a mall and then walked on some streets which were pleasant, but with little light and no people. Besides, we had no clue where we were going, but we were enjoying the feel of the city.
I admired the stores in South Africa, the styles of the clothes and accessories. They have that something that I like, have some animal print, some lace, some velvet, but the stay classy and look sophisticated.
Clubbing in Johannesburg is a lot of fun, the music is mostly R’n’B. I admired the girls wearing very tight clothes, aware and proud of their feminine curvy looks, not having all these worries about any defects.
So, done with partying and even though we arrived at the hotel later than 3 AM, at 9 I was heading to the Rhinoceros and Lion Park, probably the biggest tourist attraction around.
Here you can feed the giraffes from a bucket or from your hand which feels ticklish and a bit gross, but it is a one in a lifetime time experience. There is a safari restaurant and you can have a coffee on the top floor next to the giraffes, who have a long enough neck to reach the second floor. Our necks are so long, that we reach second floor. But we are gracious. I think she is pretty and she liked us.
Friendly giraffe, eating some special food from my hand
Feeding the giraffe. I think she liked my meal offer
From the giraffe stop we went in the safari where we saw zebras, antelopes, ostriches, wild boars, cheetahs, lions, birds, reptiles, crocodiles. I love animals more since this trip.
The most adorable thing I saw in a while. They are absolutely lovable and you can hug them, pet them and play with them. They sleep most of the time and they do not like to be disturbed, so the become a little sweet-angry baby-roaaaaring if you pet them too hard.
At the entrance, there is an announcement saying: Forgive us when we’re sleeping.We are only babies. So, if you want to take a picture, please don’t try to wake us…
The cub in the right woke up, stumbling, did not even opened his eyes and then rested on the bum of the other one.
My favorite picture from the safari experience is the one below. It is exactly how I would describe my personality. Calm, cool and warm, but the lions and wild animals might appear anytime.
Unfortunately, my pictures of the lions feeding are not great, but I can tell you about it. At about noon, there is a truck in the middle of the lions’ playing field. On the back of the truck there is a dead cow which is tied to a rope and the rope is tied to a thick stick planed in the ground. When the time is right, the truck drives away and the cow stays there to feed the hungry lions. They get this treatment every two days and male lions eat first, then the females. Even though you cannot stay very close to their “table”, you can see the blood all over their hair next to the mouth. Bon apetit!
This is all folks, for not, about my amazing Joburg adventure (a real adventure, indeed)!