Destination - SOUTH AFRICA
Updated: May 22, 2020
From Cape Point to Johannesburg to Soweto to Cape Town, South Africa is a country of great diversity. Come with us as we discover some of the things that make South Africa unique and a must for your #BookIt list!
I have personally been to South Africa, experiencing both the cosmopolitan cities of Johannesburg and Cape Town as well as the extremely warm welcomes from the wonderful people in the townships of Langa and Soweto, even having the privilege of paying a visit to and touring Oprah Winfrey's Leadership Academy for Girls in Gauteng. I picked up beautiful remembrances (who wants souvenirs?) from the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront at Green Point and local artisans along the way. I returned with memories and stories that still serve me well and a longing to return. Here are some highlights:
CAPE OF GOOD HOPE
Here I am at the Cape of Good Hope - the most south-western point on the African continent. The Cape was originally named the Cape of Storms in the 1480s by the Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias. It was later renamed to Good Hope to attract more people to the Cape Sea Route that passed the southern coast of Africa. The Cape eventually became a significant port and waypoint point for sailors traveling from Europe to Asia. The experience here is phenomenal - see the rocky area behind me? There is a trail you can hike to the top and get a stunning view of the Atlantic and Indian oceans.
Another shot from the Cape of Good Hope. It is just so vast and beautiful. When you look at this location on a map, it's astounding. If you sail south from this point, the next land mass you get to is Antarctica.
WELCOME TO KAGISO!
When arriving at Basadi Pele in Kagiso, South Africa - in conjunction with the Basadi Pele Foundation - we were greeted with song and dance. It was absolutely beautiful - I could have listened to and watched them all day. The Basadi Pele Foundation assists South African women in gaining marketable skills and training to benefit themselves and their families.
ROBBEN ISLAND MUSEUM, TABLE BAY, CAPE TOWN
This former prison takes its name from the Dutch word for seals, hence the Dutch/Afrikaans name Robbeneiland, translating to Seal Island. The Robben Island Museum is a World Heritage Site, and the tours are conducted by former inmates who speak freely about their experiences. The prison's most famous former inmate is Nelson Mandela, incarcerated here for 18 of his 27 years in prison (1964 until 1982). It's a 30 minute to 1 hour ride to the island, depending on which ferry you take - the entire tour on the island is about three (3) hours. Once the tour starts, time disappears. I was enthralled, angered, saddened and captivated all in the space of the tour - the former prisoner who was my guide was compelling, especially in telling his personal story. This is a must-do when visiting Cape Town. Click HERE for a virtual tour (HERE is the Google Arts & Culture virtual tour).
APARTHEID MUSEUM, JOHANNESBURG
Another important landmark in South Africa is the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, just inside the Gold Reef City grounds. A stark history of apartheid and its effect on South Africa, the entrance to the museum demonstrates the racial separation that prevailed in the country from 1948 until 1990, with the flow of the museum following that timeline. The grounds are quiet and reflective, constructed with concrete, steel and water features. Getting through the museum can be difficult at times, but I was impressed by South Africa documenting and acknowledging that the apartheid system existed and her struggle to dismantle it. At some of the exhibits, I found myself in tears. By the time I reached the end of the exhibits, however, I had a feeling of hopefulness that South Africa continues its healing from a repressive system. There's lots of openness and light as you exit, I believe symbolizing emergence and a new era in the country's history. At the time I went, photos were not permitted inside.
THE VICTORIA AND ALFRED WATERFRONT
Near the foot of the Table Mountain range is one of my favorite spots, the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront - a center of shopping (5 separate shopping districts), activities, restaurants and just plain fun! For the week I was in Cape Town, I went here 3 days - there's so much to see and do! Although the mall was wonderful (and I got in some great shopping!), I personally enjoyed interacting with the local artisans and being able to barter for unique pieces to take home as well as tasting and shopping for many of South Africa's renowned wines. I was introduced to a local traditional dessert - Malva Pudding - that I could not get enough of and walked away with the recipe I cajoled from a wonderful chef. There were musicians, concerts and myriad activities for children and adults. Spend a day here and take your time, ending with a meal in one of the many fabulous restaurants on Table Bay Harbor.
TRAVELING TO AFRICA FOR A SAFARI
Many people travel to the African continent to experience a wildlife safari. Please be sure to use a travel advisor who specializes in travel to Africa (Where2Next? Travel, LLC is included in this list). We are living in a time when self-booking travel arrangements occurs conveniently online. African safaris, however, require some care and attention to detail. Don't leave anything to chance - here are ten reasons why you should use a travel advisor who specializes in African travel when planning your experience.
WE ARE SAFARI EXPERTS
Many of us have either been on a live safari or have attended training on and received certification in these fantastic travel experiences. We understand the significance of planning the details of specialty destination trips so that all our clients have to do is be there and enjoy.
WE SAVE YOU TIME
Planning an African safari involves a great deal of attention to plan and meet the clients' needs and requirements. There are 54 fifty-four countries in Africa, many offering their own version of a safari experience. Let us take care of finding the perfect camp or lodge that is right for you.
WE KNOW THE LOGISTICS
The logistics for a safari trip include airports, dates, drop-offs, flights, pickups, times, lodging and transfers. A travel advisor with expertise in African travel will manage these for you and provide you with a detailed itinerary.
WE SAVE YOU MONEY
Think of an experienced travel advisor as your financial planner for your vacation dollars. An African safari is a trip of a lifetime that has a significant cost. We will get you the best value for your trip, including preferred rates, special amenities and unique offers only available to the trade. Trust us with your plans.