South Africa Trips

South Africa is one of my favorite places I have traveled to! That is probably why I have been there six times. Although, that also has to do with the fact that I had family living there. With each visit I saw something new or even went to a new country! Here is what I did each time I was there:

First trip

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February 2010, my first trip to South Africa.  It was amazing and beautiful! We saw so many things in that one short week. We stayed in Johannesburg which became a headquarters of sorts, but we also went to the Kruger National Park  and Cape Town. 6 years later and I still can’t believe we managed it all.

Second trip

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My second trip to South Africa was in the summer of 2010. This trip was very similar to the first, because I went to all the same places, Kruger Park and Cape Town. I did get to experience a couple of new things though.

Here is a more detailed account of our trip to Cape Town!

Third Trip

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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. Back in South Africa we went to some museums and Soweto!

Fourth Trip

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This trip was very different from the ones before. In 2012 I went to South Africa with my friends and we tried to make a difference. For the first time, we got to see the real Africa, the small villages, the citizens of which have nothing. The schools in tents and the students that walk four hours to get to those schools, but they are so dedicated, they don’t mind. It was a very different Africa. It was the poor side. The empty side. The type of place where you could drive for hours without meeting anyone at all.

Fifth trip

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On my fifth trip to South Africa, I spent barely any time in Johannesburg and in South Africa in general. Mostly we were in Mozambique, again the details of which will come later! We spent a large portion of the week in the car, but the three days in Mozambique were so worth it! We were in the middle of nowhere and that was perfect. For three days we were separated from the world, completely off the grid. It was the best way to de-stress from school and work. It reminded me how great it is to get away from everything sometimes.

Sixth and last trip

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The last time I went to South Africa was, yet again, a more relaxing trip. We didn’t feel like we needed to go to new countries or cities, we just needed to relax and warm up, especially in the midst of the worst, record-breaking winter in Boston.

South Africa is an amazing place to visit! I recommend it to anyone. Some people are afraid to go there, because it is not safe. You have to be careful in South Africa, there are definitely times when you feel uncomfortable and you do get worried. You have to use common sense, don’t go to places where you don’t feel safe. South Africa is beautiful and it is definitely worth visiting! I have been there six times and I would still go back and there would still be hundreds of things for me to see!

For more photos visit our photo gallery here!


South Africa Part 3

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.

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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.

_DSC1153We also drove around downtown Johannesburg and found some tucked away markets. Eventually we made our way to chinatown and got some Chinese food!

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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!

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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!


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South Africa Part 2

South Africa Part 1

 

South Africa Part 1

South Africa is one of my favorite places I have traveled to! That is probably why I have been there six times. Although, that also has to do with the fact that I had family living there. With each visit I saw something new or even went to a new country! I will break down what I did on each trip, so here is what I did the first time I visited:

February 2010, my first trip to South Africa.  It was amazing and beautiful! We saw so many things in that one short week. We stayed in Johannesburg which became a headquarters of sorts, but we also went to the Kruger National Park  and Cape Town. 6 years later and I still can’t believe we managed it all.

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Landing in South Africa was like entering small paradise. Absolutely Beautiful. We enjoyed the traveling and the wonderful weather, before we had to go back to the cold February weather in Prague.

24209_370421519249_4916125_nWe didn’t get much of a chance to explore Johannesburg, because left for Kruger Park at 3am the morning after we landed. We did get a chance to go the Lion Park. This was a great way to set the mood for the entire trip. Not only did we get to see grown lions, whose caretakers were casually drinking coffee by the open gates into the lion enclosure, but we also got to pet and hold lion cubs!

Kruger National Park was another great trip. Although we got lost on our way there from Johannesburg. So good luck, don’t get lost, because it doesn’t feel all that safe when you are driving at night past signs that say “hijacking hotspot”. So, one important tip make sure you know where you are going and get a GPS!

We only had a couple of days, but we managed to go in the Park in a Jeep with a guide as well as on our own, in our car. There were a couple of scarier moments when we were in our own car, one of which included an angry looking elephant that did not look like it particularly cared for us. In fact, it looked quite mad that we were on that road at all.24209_370436149249_3604956_n

We also had time to go to a evening/night safari, which was a whole new experience. This was in a private park with a guide, which meant we could go anywhere in the park and follow the animals into the bush. For the first time in my life I even saw giraffes sleep, which looks absolutely amazing, because there were like 10 giraffes lying on the ground, with their necks still sticking up. Not something you see all the time. This private park was a great place to go, because it was just us, possibly one other tour happening at the same time. Even though there were roads for the jeep, the nature had an untouched feel to it. I definitely recommend looking into these private parks.

SA5One short flight took us from Johannesburg to Cape Town. A guide took us to so many beautiful places around Cape Town. Since we had a local guide, he managed to take us to several little places, that would have been so easily overlooked if you didn’t know they were there. Not only did we get to see the Cape of Good Hope, but we also saw the penguins that come to the cape of South Africa, when it’s too cold in Antarctica. He took us to some small towns around Cape Town, some of which looked like they belong in the Wild West. The guide also took us to a Cheetah Outreach center, where they take care of and breed cheetahs.

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After we got back, we got one more taste of Africa when we went to a local market. The market was in a garage parking lot and the locals were selling all sorts of products. Anything from little souvenirs to practical clothing and kitchenware.

More about South Africa and Africa in general coming soon! Check back to learn more about where to go and what to do!


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