On this trip, we took advantage of being in Africa, and we decided to go to some new places. We always wanted to see the Victoria Falls, so we headed up to Zimbabwe and Zambia, details of that trip to come :)! It was a great adventure, including lots of dead insects in our open hotel room, elephant rides, helicopter rides and sunsets over the river.
In Johannesburg we went to some new places too! For one, we went to Soweto, a very important place for the history of apartheid and how it got overthrown. Nelson Mandela lived in Soweto, his house is open to the public and should definitely be on your “to see” list if you go to South Africa. You will get some background information on the area in the museum, but most importantly about Mandela’s life. There are several museums in the area, each dedicated to something else, I suggest you visit some of these because the history is so rich and important for everyone to know.
We also drove around downtown Johannesburg and found some tucked away markets. Eventually we made our way to chinatown and got some Chinese food!
Another new place we went to this time was a crocodile farm in Johannesburg. There they have several large rather evil looking crocodiles. Over their enclosure is a rickety wooden bridge that you can cross and imagine all the great ways the crocodiles would chew you up if the bridge collapsed. Ok, I might be exaggerating a little bit, it wasn’t that rickety. They also have large snakes and lizards that you can hold. This time they even had a baby crocodile that they let us hold and pet. On top of all of these reptiles, they also have tarantulas and yes, you can hold them, if you want to. I personally refused to do that, but my little, then 6 year old, brother wanted to hold one. Apparently they are very fragile and can’t be dropped, because that would instantly kill them, so the caretakers make sure the people that want to hold them don’t drop them. So if you decide to hold them you have to be certain you won’t freak out too much. On top of having some lectures about the animals they take care of, the farm also offers dance shows where dancers perform traditional African dances. Also a great show to go to, if that is something you are interested!
Lastly, we went for safari to Pilanesberg. The drive there is beautiful, through some small rich towns and by some shantytowns. It’s quite a long drive from Johannesburg, so I suggest you leave really early in the morning, so you have the full day there to drive around the park, but so that you aren’t too tired to drive back. If you time the trip back well, you can see the sunset over the Hartbeesport Dam. That view is priceless! With that I concluded my third trip to South Africa.
After my third trip, I knew there was still much more to see, so I was already planning my next visit. An article about my fourth visit, during which my friends and I helped out at a school in Ubhevu, is coming soon! Check back to read about it!