We had a bunch of points saved up for a trip, and my wife wanted to do a great internship somewhere that would look good on her résumé. We found the right combo: South Africa.
Through some weird situation, business class seats were actually less points than economy seats, so this was a steal, and we fly business class direct from Brazil to Johannesburg.
We had a really long layover in São Paulo first, so we went into the city and ate at Prime Dog before going back to the airport for our overnight flight.
We watched some World Cup action at the lounge then settled in for a great flight on South African Airways.
Notice the seats had a massage function! The food was great, and with the lay-flat seats we were able to get some decent sleep.
On arrival, one of the passport control agents had clearly woken up on the wrong side of the bed and was intentionally trying to pick a fight with my wife by mumbling over and over, hoping one of us would say something snappy. We were finally in, got our rental car for the next few days, and headed down to our hotel, which we’d also picked up for free on points.
The rooftop pool was absolutely frigid, so we didn’t even consider getting in. After running to a nearby mall to pick up wall adapters (strangely, our ‘universal’ adapters didn’t work for South Africa), we were ready to explore.
Who would need this much of these things in the house? And what a great pun!
Over the next few days, we saw some awesome things and had some great food.
The first day, we took it easy, and the 2nd day started with breakfast with a friend who was actually in town for work for a day. He’d been my roommate on the North Korea tour, and we were meeting up on yet another continent neither of us live in. From there, we saw him give a talk and then walked around town for a bit.
We walked by the university, saw some people playing rugby, and ended up at Constitution Hill. There had formerly been a prison here for equality/black rights advocates, and we’d been thinking about catching the hop on-hop off bus from here, but we realized it didn’t go to everything we wanted to see, so we walked back to the hotel and got our car.
We drove out to Nelson Mandela’s former house.
Then, the Apartheid Museum.
It was interesting, but it should definitely be called “Nelson Mandela against apartheid” or something like this. It wasn’t so much about apartheid as just basically telling the story of Nelson Mandela. It was 99% about him and left out many other people who fought, suffered, and died alongside him.
This was also cool.
And we passed this 2010 World Cup stadium on the way back.
We went to this awesome restaurant called Conscious 108 a bunch of times while there.
We also saw some cool statues and art.
We tried a placed called Greenside Cafe, which was good but not Conscious 108-level. The nachos were…OK.
A really great experience that I have somewhat mixed feelings about was at the Lion Park. They do a ton of conservation work, but they also have bills to pay and have started allowing direct encounters with animals. I’m not sure exactly how they keep the animals relaxed for the encounters. I also wish some of the enclosures (you can’t let the lions get near the herbivores, obviously) were bigger. Several reviews we read said they were the best of numerous places in the area for seeing wildlife on a day trip, so we signed up for their 3hr safari and really enjoyed it.
We took a TON of pictures there, and they’re not organized. Just enjoy them!
On our last morning, before heading to the airport, we wanted a great breakfast, and the only place open that morning was Free Food (free of all allergens and animal products). It was disappointing, to say the least. This place would be great for people OBSESSED with healthy food or people with tons of allergies. If you’re just looking for good vegan food, this isn’t it. If you want comfort food, go elsewhere. We kept talking about how taking someone non-vegan here would make that person never become vegan.
On the left: I ordered blueberry pancakes. I got these, which were not fluffy or soft, and the blueberries were frozen! It should be renamed “something that is 6 steps removed from pancakes but has some of the same ingredients.” On the right: tofu scramble, which should be renamed “a bowl of spinach leaves with a tiny bit of non-scrambled tofu”. We were 100% let down and actually went to Starbucks for coffee & bagels before going to the airport, since we were still hungry.
This entry was posted in Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa