On the Wino in Joburg
Truth be told, my first trip to Johannesburg (South Africa) didn’t really go the way I had planned it. I think the main problem was that I got sick from day 2. Actually, I had been feeling it in Bangkok already. It might be because of air-con and the constant temperature changes. I felt fluish and had a very sore throat. In Joburg, I nearly lost my voice.
Because I was so sick there was no exercise to be done which gave me the perfect excuse to drink “some” South African wines. The wines in Thailand are quite expensive because of the import tax so I kind of gave myself permission to indulge in the quality wines and inexpensive prices. Oh dear! Hope you don’t get a completely wrong idea now, hehe.
Anyway, isn’t drinking part of getting to know the local food (and wine) culture. I think it is. So all good!
I Guess You Are in Africa When…
The Internet is not really working or it’s damn slow. Though as my friend from Ghana said, South Africa is not real Africa, hehe. Anyway, I wasn’t prepared for this and the bad connection caused a few problems during my stay.
I really wanted to see downtown Joburg with its Constitution Hill and Apartheid Museum but I couldn’t get my Uber to work before it was too late. And that would’ve been the only possible mode of transport apparently while my friend was at work. So everybody, be patient! The Internet might not be functioning as efficiently as it is back home.
Soweto and the Inspirational Mr. Mandela
I was a bit shocked when I learned there is no public transport for white people in Johannesburg. Only black/colored people use local taxis/minivans. I was being told that it would not be a safe way to travel. Then again, the train from Johannesburg to Cape Town is safe and actually should be a very interesting experience!
I was very sad to learn and witness this duality. I’m a huge Nelson Mandela fan and his book, Long Walk to Freedom is one of my favourite books. He is such an inspirational character even now when he is not with us anymore.
It was cool to see his old neighbourhood though the short strip before Mr Mandela’s house had become quite commercialised. Unfortunately, because of Easter, the Museum was closed but at least I got to see the house from outside. If you are visiting the place, check out Mandela House webpage to know about the opening hours etc.
Apparently, this is the landmark of Soweto if not the whole of Johannesburg. It used to be a coal-powered plant station earlier. Now you can do all kinds of daredevil things there, such as bungy jumping or paintball. We were not feeling particularly brave so just took some photos and settled for that. The towers do look awesome and impressive, given the size and the colorful murals on them so they do make good photos!
The Big Cats
The highlight of my trip was definitely the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve. Wow! Seeing wild animals mere one meter from you. What I perhaps loved the most was encountering the big cats (lions, leopards, and cheetahs) and seeing the resemblance to our Felis Domesticus. Made me miss my furry friends back home. If you are an animal lover, you can read more about wild animal encounters here.
We were also lucky because apparently, they feed the big cats only once a week and we got to witness that. So better check the schedule because you definitely don’t want to miss it.
The Aftermath of My Trip to Johannesburg, South Africa
As I already mentioned, the trip didn’t go exactly as planned. I was a bit stuck in the burbs though it was a very nice area and my host had a lovely home with a pool area and we had delicious braai there (BBQ for non-Saffas). Next time, I will most certainly add Cape Town to my itinerary. It’s been on my list for a long time. Better yet, I could do a road trip in South Africa like this adventurous couple.
I could’ve done Cape Town on this trip as well but I have my dog and I didn’t want to burden my friend too much. She was already looking after him for quite a few days. This is what happens when you have pets. It makes traveling much more complicated. Then again, I love him so much so he is worth it. You can read more about Chase, my Thai mix dog here.
If you would like to know what’s going on in Joburg, have a look at this site, Vibescout. Plenty of ideas there! Next time when I’m in Joburg, I want to go out a little bit more and get to know the nightlife. Just have to be prepared so I have my Uber waiting for me.
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