Far and away in South Africa
Destination: Johannesburg, Capetown and a Safari in Shamwari
It has been a lifelong dream of mine to visit the mother of all continents, Africa. Up until now, I have only known Africa from watching Planet Earth (my favorite) and of course shark week. Thanks NatGeo! My husband is half South African so it made complete sense to go and pay our respects to the homeland. It just so happened that our wonderful cousin was getting hitched there so we decided to make the most of it.
Location: Johannesburg or JoBurg
A city like no other, Johannesburg is rich in culture and history. The largest city in South Africa (many people moved there originally to find gold) it offers plenty to see and do pertaining to Nelson Mandela and the anti-apartheid movement. I visited the Apartheid Museum along with Constitution Hill and learned much about what happened during those years. I knew a little about it from the movie Invictus but nothing compares to seeing the city firsthand. Nelson Mandela was one of the most amazing people to walk this earth and he prevented the country from becoming a bloodbath. These two places are a must see when visiting JoBurg.
WonderTip: It is not the safest city to travel around by foot. Most of the houses and apartments are surrounded by high walls with electric fences. It is best to take an Uber everywhere you want to visit and staying off the streets after dark is recommended. Better to be safe than sorry.
Wonder at: Protea Fire and Ice Hotel-Melrose Arch- (3,160 Zar per night or $268)
This hotel is very nice and is located in a nice area of JoBurg known as Melrose Arch. There are plenty of restaurants and bars in this area and it’s one of the safer places to walk around at night.
Wondering where to stay on a budget? You’ll wanna stay here: Radisson Blu Hotel- Sandton (2,565 Zar or $217 per night)
Sandton is an affluent place and one of the safer areas of JoBurg to stay in. This hotel is right in Sandton with walking distances to Sandton City (the large shopping center) as well as Nelson Mandela Square.
When you think of South Africa, the one city that comes to mind is Capetown. Capetown is the poster child of beauty. It is uniquely gorgeous and has one of the prettiest mountains in the world, Table Mountain. Despite the onset of the crucial water crisis, there are still many places to go and visit in and around the Capetown area. I can’t remember a time where I compiled numerous activities in the span of only a few days but alas, that sweet adrenaline keeps you going.
The most well known landmark in South Africa, Table Mountain is a must see on your list! Take the cable car to the top and have a birds eye view of Robbin Island and all of Cape Town. On a clear day, you can see forever...
Wonder at: Hotel Silo - (20,300 zar or $1,676 usd per night)
The swankiest hotel in Capetown, this piece of property is also connected to their modern museum of art, the Zeitz Mocaa. In fact, in my opinion, even if you can’t afford to stay there, it is cool to grab drinks at their hip and trendy bar, The Willaston Bar (try the drink “The Silo Signature"-Ketel one vodka, fennel, grape juice, and apple!).The hotel contains pillow glass windows with breathtaking views of the marina and mountains. The rooms each have a mixture of modern and vintage furnishings. Check it out :)
Wondertip: The rooftop is only open to guests staying at the hotel however the views of the city are indescribable and majestic.
Wondering on a Budget? You’ll want to stay here:
The Table Bay Hotel - (3,827 zar or $320 per night)
Located in the Marina district of Capetown,( also near the Hotel Silo), this hotel offers a waterfront view and close to all the shops, restaurants, and entertainment in the marina.
Who doesn’t love the Lion King? I’m a major animal lover so when that movie came out, it seemed all I wanted to do was go on a safari. That and along with the beauty of the show Planet Earth, this was a MUST on the list for me. There was a Malaria outbreak in the main National Kruger Park so we opted to go a bit further south into Shamwari Game Park, which is a private reserve. Somewhere between the rhinos and lions, I found myself falling more and more in love with the animal kingdom. There are plenty of hotels to choose from in the park
Wonder at :Founders Lodge -R 16,500.00 or $1395.00 per night
A bit on the pricier side, this lodge is more private and has limited rooms (suites). It offers amazing local South African cuisine nightly. Included in this price, you go on two safaris per day. One in the early morning, when animals are most active and one in the late afternoon.
Wondering where to stay on a budget? You’ll wanna stay here:
Wonder at:Explorer Camp- Shamwari Game Reserve _R9,460 or $886.29 per night
A bit more on the budget side although these hotels are going to be a bit more expensive than most parks because private game reserves are more expensive.
Wondertip: I will say the nice difference of going to a private game reserve, you don’t say a ton of vehicles around you and you go off roading into the bush to really search and get up close and personal with the animals.