"Into the Bushveld: My Journey to South Africa" South Africa by HispanicYob
South Africa Travel Guide: 11,765 reviews and 27,791 photos
Wow, after surviving the 15 hour flight, I had arrived in Johannesburg at O.R. Tambo International Airport. Jet lagged just a wee bit, I stepped out and went to retrieve my bags. My friend who I was visiting for her wedding, Marinell, and her husband-to-be Stephan, were waiting for me after I got out of customs and so began my incredible journey. I was there for a wedding, yes, but I ended up doing so much in the short time I was there. I was in South Africa for 4 days. I could've stayed longer....my views of South Africa before I set foot in the country in October of 2010 was what I heard in the press and from past atrocities like apartheid, the rate of HIV and what not. Granted, I've come to appreciate this glorious country and my views have since changed. I guess only in the mind of an adventurous, but careful and nervous, American traveler in what was his first visit to Africa. You have to be there and experience the experiences first-hand in order to form your own judgement. I didn't run into any of the "rampant" crime. Although I was aware it was there and my friend Marinell and the other friends I met there informed me of it as well. Just because things might seem calm, always be aware! I'm so glad I didn't run into any dangers or extreme hazards.
My first ever safari was quite a unique, if tiring, experience. We were going to Pilanesburg National Park and Reserve, in the Northwest Province. We set out quite early (after 2 AM) in order to catch the wildlife at it's best. You wanna be there early for there. We got there around 6 AM and started our journey into the parkland. We spent almost the whole day there and left in the early evening. I got to see THREE of Africa's Famous "Big 5". The most dangerous mammals in the world, which were the lion (leeu), leopard (liuperd), buffalo (bufel), elephant (olifant) and rhino (renoster). I thought to include the Afrikaans variant for fun. :) I hope I spelled them right. Anyways, the three Big 5 I saw were the leopard (from far away who I was told was very lucky to see since they're elusive), the rhino and the elephant. Maybe on my next visit I'll see the lion and buffalo. It was quite the day and definitely another highlight on the trip! It was an experience seeing animals in their natural habitat rather then caged up in a zoo. This was their property and WE were THEIR guests.
I try and absorb all the sights and sounds wherever I go in the world. It all felt like a dream to see what I saw in South Africa and I feel blessed and grateful I got to come experience what this country had to offer and I still find it hard to believe I did all that! I made sure to live in the moment when I was there. From our day at Pilanesburg to the wedding venue at Kuthaba Bush Lodge in Limpopo Province, I lived for the moment most definitely and it might me sad to leave. I would love to come back again one day. Now I can see why South Africa was the first African nation to host the World Cup 2010. The people I met welcomed me warmly and I'll never forget my first visit to South Africa, as well as Africa in general. Baie Geluk Marinell and Stephan, I wish you many happy years together and God Bless! If not for your hospitality and patience I wouldn't have gotten to see all I did while here in South Africa and would'nt have enjoyed my trip as much without you all. (I would've loved being there but wouldn't have experienced as much as I did if I were by myself). DANKIE! And dankie South Africa for the memories!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- Pros:Not uber expensive, the national parks and reserves, the bushveld, the scenery,
- Cons:The bad press and reputation the country gets, rate of HIV
- In a nutshell:A country that changed my views and made me look at it's beauty rather then it's flaws, dankie South Africa!
For a 4 day stay (not counting the total time to get there which was a day), I packed a huge suitcase with about 3 pairs... more travel advice
I was warned about this from my friend Marinell before I arrived into the country. Don't have anybody help you with your... more travel advice
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