South Africa - A new continent on my checked list, thanks to my company I had this opportunity to travel to South Africa for work. Being the first time in South Africa, of course I will make full use of this opportunity to sightsee on top of work :-) thanks to my boss he allowed me to take extra days off after the work trip.
Johannesburg is the biggest city in South Africa and famously dangerous! That's what I've gathered, I started to be concerned when everyone said the same thing and telling me stories. To add on to that, I've watched too many American movies where the bad guys are so often the black people, that really didn't help much. I was excited to visit this new country yet feeling nervous.
For the first Sunday when I arrived, I went straight to my hotel that is out of town. A luxury Casino Hotel. Puffff...the room is as big as my flat in Singapore, with a living room, kitchen, bedroom, balcony and a toilet that share the same space as the bedroom, no no I'm not complaining. :-) On the way to the hotel, I noticed a lot of fenced up area housing community, I was told that all houses are secured with high wall and electric cables for safety reason. Even the Hotel is in a secured area with guards at the entrance. OK, looks like I'm going to spend a lot of time in the jail opps I meant Hotel :-(
|Arts On Main|
|Arts On Main|
|Tango at The Grill House|
Taxi in Joburg doesn't go on meter and it doesn't come cheap, we were always quoted with a very high price and depend on our bargaining skill to get it lower. One way trip to town from the hotel will cost around $30 and there is no other public transport to take. We can ask the Hotel to book for us a cab to send us and pick us up, but there is so much corruption in this country, even the hotel staff asked for commission from the taxi driver, so the taxi driver has to markup the price.
Monday night, I joined Patrick for Kizomba in Sandton. Patrick whom I met at The Studio in Singapore insisted that I should go because it is the best kizomba night in town. I was thankful that he offered to send me back to the hotel so I could cover only one way taxi charge to town. I had a fabulous time with all the good kizomba dancers! Could not have ask for more.
|Rohde & Schwarz South Africa|
The next 2 days were buried with work and dinner with colleagues. I was looking forward to my holiday! I have booked a 4D3N Camping Safari to Kruger National Park with an agency online. This agency put me with Outlook Lodge & Safaris. They picked me up from the hotel. I left on Thursday morning 6:30am. As we had to pick up other customer in town, we have to head into the traffic, there is no escape. It took us 3 hours to finally pick up the other 2 gals and arrived at the agency Lodge but this is not the final destination yet, we gathered everyone in one van, all 5 of us took off to Kruger National Park. It was another 5 hours drive but without the heavy traffic. As soon as we leave the city, the scenery changed to become greener and open up to endless farms and plantations. Every now and then we saw a few huge funnels at far with smoke blowing up from the top. Those are the coal-fired power plant. Around 77% of South Africa's energy needs are directly derived from coal. There are still shortage of power and every now and then there is a scheduled power shut down in each area.
|Kruger National Park|
|Interior of the Tent|
|Outlook Lodge & Safari Vehicle|
|Morning Game Drive|
|What was spotted|
We all came here to spot the Big 5, they are the Elephant, Rhino, Leopard, Lion and Buffalo. 3 checked and 2 more to go, the cats are the most difficult to spot especially with the current season, the trees are green and bushes are high. Fortunately we have pretty good luck and good ranger who knows where to find them. On the 2nd day afternoon, after our ranger received info of Lion spotted at an area, we went looking for it. While looking for the Lion and Leopard high and low. A Cheetah suddenly run out from the bush moved on the road as our vehicle follow him, turned and paused before disappearing into the bush. I held my breath for that entire moment, too excited to breath. That was the best moment! Cheetah is rare to see as only around 120 left in the entire park. We were damn lucky! And not long after, we spotted a group of 5 lioness resting on the dried river bed. That completes the day.
|When Lion is spotted|
|Hideout for birders|
That ends my trip to South Africa, I flew back the next morning. I have enjoyed so much the Kruger National Park, lucky to have a group of cool people for the 4 days. The food in South Africa was good and the people are nice. I didn't enjoy being "imprisoned" in Johannesburg due to the safety. The city is not welcoming, not on my list to revisit if you asked my advice.
Southern Sun Silverstar – luxury hotel paid by company
Atholl Guest House (www.athollguesthouse.co.za) - R725 per night incl breakfast (WIFI broken)
SG-JO-SG - SQ paid by company
Taxi to/from town to/from hotel Southern Sun - R400 per way
4D3N Kruger camping safari (https://krugerparksafari.com/) - R6600
• Professional drivers/guides (FGASA registered – Field Guides Association of Southern Africa)
• Meals as specified per itinerary
• All day Game Drives in the Kruger National Park in an open game drive vehicle
• SAN PARKS sunset drive (All Kruger Park Safari guests over 6 years of age)
• All entry fees and daily conservation levies
• Accommodation as per chosen option
• Bottled mineral water during the day in the Kruger National Park
• Wine with dinner in the Kruger National Park