First Stop, Johannesburg

We landed in Johannesburg at 8:00 am on Sunday, my birthday, after a 14.5 hour direct flight from JFK. We arrived at Country Manor, where we were spending the night before the next leg of our trip, and started our day. We had about fifteen minutes to brush our teeth and splash water on our faces before our guide, Patrick, was scheduled to take a group of us on a tour of the city.

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In front of our room for the night after a 14.5 hour flight

Patrick drove us around the city, giving us an overview of its history, of which I knew little. We stopped at Chancellor House where Nelson Mandela practiced law before touring his home, which is now a museum, in Soweto. We stopped at a township, Orlando East, where the children knew Patrick and came running out to greet him. Houses that looked as if a strong wind could level them stood in rows, forming a neighborhood. We pooled our money and bought sandwiches of french fries and lunch meat on a grinder roll for the children’s lunch. I’ve never seen such poverty but the children were like any others, screaming and laughing, playing and horsing around with each other.

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Touring Johannesburg

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Mandela House. Tribute to Nelson Mandela on the grounds.

After a quick drive by Winnie Mandela’s house our next stop was the Apartheid Museum. There was too much history to cover in the 1.5 hours allotted and I was beginning to feel sick from the long flight (I did manage to sleep on the plane). I got a good overview of the museum which included a special exhibit about Mandela. I’ll admit to having my mind on the safari, the animals we’d be seeing, the extra excursions we’d be taking. I was humbled by and grateful forΒ the tour so I could be educated about Johannesburg, Mandela and Apartheid. I’ve already used the word eye-opening in my last post but it’s the first one that comes to mind when I think about what I saw and learned over the two weeks we visited South Africa.

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Apartheid Museum

Back at Country Manor we had time to relax before dinner. We ate with three other couples who, like us, were leaving the next day for the photo safari. We got to know each other over dinner and then it was off to bed. We got a good night’s sleep; in the morning we wandered around the grounds until it was time to leave for our big adventure.

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Bill exploring at Country Manor

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Zebras! A preview of what we’d be seeing at Zulu Nyala

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Impalas and Nyalas always stopped grazing to stare at us.

22 replies

  1. The flight would do me in for sure but I’m eagerly waiting for you to take me on your tour! The animals would be my big attraction. I don’t understand apartheid. I know what it is but don’t understand how people started thinking that some colors were different or better than others. Looking forward to MORE!

    • I agree with you, Kate, and it wasn’t that long ago either. We talked to a lot of different people and got a lot of perspectives but I wanted to keep this post as light as possible. πŸ™‚ And, our flight home? 2 hours from Cape Town followed by 15 hours from Johannesburg.

  2. So glad you enjoyed your trip, Geralyn. I love that Mandela quote. He was a wise and humble leader. It’s such a great pity that he was so old when he became president, and has since passed away. Those who have taken over from him just aren’t of the same calibre.

  3. The Mandela quote gives you pause, doesn’t it? How many of us even think in those terms let alone aspire to them. It’s a selfish world out there but if you can spread a little joy along the way by sharing with the kids, that’s great. πŸ™‚

  4. Wonderful Geralyn. And hey, happy birthday. Was this trip a birthday gift? Are you going to show pictures and do a post on the safari stuff? I’m sure you will.
    πŸ™‚

  5. Wow. Wow. Wow. On so many levels. What a trip. Thank you for taking us along. That sign by the ladies rest room makes it all real. Sad!!!
    So glad to see you guys there.
    Love the animals shots!

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