I love Africa. There is something about Africa that is magical and I can’t even tell you what it is. So this trip to South Africa held many magical moments for me and here are just a few.
First, there were 4 days in Cape Town. If you closed your eyes while in many parts of Cape Town you’d think that you were in Miami. Many parts look just that western. Palm trees, upscale houses, beaches and let’s not forget lots of shops!
While in Cape Town, I braved it and took the cable car up to Table Mountain, and experienced an awesome spectacular view of the city and its coast line! Then going to Robben Island which housed the maximum security prison where Nelson Mandela had been incarcerated was a sobering experience but then going off to Stellenbosch to a beautiful wine estate totally made my day look much brighter!
Next, it was flying to The King Shaka International Airport on the Kwazulu Natal North Coast just outside of Durban which took us to Zululand and to the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve. So that visiting a Zulu village as it used to be and going on a game drive was awesome… So now this was a return trip to Africa (had been in Kenya three years before) and I was in my glory back in the jeep looking for The Big Five! Well, lucky me, The Big Five didn’t disappoint and it was worth every 4:30 a.m. wake up call at The Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve! Yes, it was!
Then I was off to Paul Kruger Park and that it meant driving through Swaziland. Swaziland was very interesting! It’s an independent state (who knew!) and it definitely has its own unique set of challenges!!!
Having said that, Paul Kruger Park was awesome and staying at the upscale Protea Kruger Gate Lodge was a wonderfully memorable experience as well. Then another three game drives and again So LOL I was in all my glory! Then boo hoo, time to leave the park and it was off to Johannesburg where I visited The Nelson Mandela Museum and the township of Soweto. Both of these experiences really putting the history of South Africa and its present day challenges into a very understandable perspective giving me a lot to think about!
But the last day of my trip was the absolute highlight of my trip. And that was because I signed up for a tour called Walking with the Lions. So we arrived at www.horsebackafrica.com and we were greeted by Colin and his lovely wife Theony who immediately took our orders for lunch (before the lions walk!LOL). Then not knowing what to expectLOL, Colin gave us a quick lecture on how to let the lions know that you Ha! were in charge and not themSoLOL.
And then, we got to walk with 6 month old lions! OK. I admit, not the big ones! Are you serious? They were in big cages with a secondary fence which if they touch would set off an electrical charge. So they did know their boundaries!
Then after that walk which was awesome, we got to feed the baby lions who were three months old. So cute… You would never know if you didn’t know what they would grow up to be. Colin said, “that they don’t grow into looking like a lion until they are about a year old.” Then after this really wonderful experience we had lunch and then it was off to the hotel and to the Johannesburg airport to go back to JFK.
So I love Africa. There is something about Africa that is magical and I can’t even tell what it is. But I bought a book while there named The Trouble with Africa (Stories from a Safari Camp) by Vic Guhrs who at the beginning of the book quotes C G Jung in a letter to his wife (written on March 15th, 1920) which says, “This is all nothing but miserable stammering. I do not know what Africa is saying to me, but it speaks.”
Well, I guess, that it’s just the same for me as well!
It just speaks!
Capetown Hotel-Protea President Hotel-
Hotel near The Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve -Hluhluwe Hotel and Safaris
Swaziland -Lugogo Sun Hotel
Kruger National Park- Protea Kruger Gate
Sandton, Johannesburg- Balalaika Sandton Hotel