Johannesburg, Home of Nelson Mandela
My first blog post I shall select the city of Johannesburg, South Africa! I spent one week in this cultural city and was able to see and learn a lot of history, both good and bad. Apartheid was a big piece of this city’s history, so much so that they now have an Apartheid Museum that everyone who visits Joburg should definitely check out. Aside from the museum, I was also able to venture out into Soweto where Nelson Mandela once lived. Both the Apartheid museum and Mandela’s House are very cheap to enter and fairly close to each other in distance. Downtown Johannesburg is as advertised if you have ever heard anything about Johannesburg or South Africa in general lol. For one it’s insane trying to drive downtown, the taxi’s are all in minivans who couldn’t care less about any driving laws, people are randomly walking into traffic while cars are moving, and it is overwhelmingly crowded. I’d say Joburg is not made for amateur drivers for sure (Plus they drive on the other side of the road like in England). I’ll also say that I parked my car for 15 minutes and came back to find out that someone broke into it. Nothing was stolen because I already knew not to leave anything in my car, so that was a good thing at least.
As far as where I stayed and/or suggestions where to stay. I would say to find a hotel or Airbnb in the Sandton City area or Rosebank area. It is the newer, suburban part of Johannesburg and a little bit cleaner and safer. Although I will say everywhere you go in South Africa you will see homes surrounded by gates with barbwire and windows with bars on them. Apparently theft is a serious issue in South Africa. Besides my car break in, I didn’t experience any threats or dangerous situations while I was there so just be vigilant and you should be okay as well. They have some decent food in Joburg and like America, I heard obesity is an issue there also. I tried an ostrich burger and duck nuggets for the first time and the burger wasn’t bad but I wasn’t really feeling the nuggets. By the way if you go to the Mandela Square, there are some nice restaurants in there and a huge statue of Nelson Mandela that you’ll probably want to take a picture with.
Two hours away from Jozi is a game drive that features the Big Five called, Pilanesberg Game Reserve. I highly recommend going there! That ended up being the best part of my trip, I got a chance to see 4 out of the Big 5…no sign of a buffalo. I believe I paid around $200 for a company to pick me up from my hotel, drive me there and then I had a tour guide that was cool who drove me and 3 others around the park in an open jeep. Then of course they drove me back to my hotel later that day. You can book this tour by going to https://www.getyourguide.com/?partner_id=D98ASKD&cmp=menuhomepage
I went to Johannesburg in the middle of October. It’s Spring time there since it’s in the Southern Hemisphere so the weather wasn’t bad. It wasn’t too hot or too cold, maybe in the 60’s-70’s Fahrenheit on average. It rained only once that week with a few partly sunny days. I wore a light jacket, (which I couldn’t find when I got home in my bag! Not sure if it was stolen at a SA airport, Dubai or U.S., but I just bought that jacket smh). I heard December- January is the best time to visit but I enjoyed my stay during October. Majority of everyone I met were really friendly and I even got a flat tire and the security guard at my hotel immediately changed it for me without me even asking. I initially thought Canada had the friendliest people in the world, but I think S.A. is right up there with them. I may go back again in the future.