Sunday, April 23, 2017

Johannesburg and Mandela Square

Back in South Africa:

This statue is huge!
Early the morning after our Boma dinner experience, we were headed to the Victoria Falls airport for our flight to Johannesburg. We had a one night stop there on our way to our third safari camp. So, that put us back in South Africa for the rest of the year.

Once again, our travel agent planned a special stay as she put us in the Michelangelo Hotel right on Mandela Square. Since it is not safe to go places at night (like most big cities), it was convenient to exit the hotel directly into the square.

Johannesburg was originally founded as a mining camp when the unbelievable rich gold deposits of Witwatersrand were first discovered in 1886. Now it is a modern city of two million people. It is the largest city in South Africa and the third largest on the continent of Africa. Standing 5000 feet above sea level it is also the country’s financial and commercial center.

To make the most of our few hours in Jo-burg, as it is called here, we headed out to Mandela Square for dinner. There is a huge statue of Mandela, a fountain area where the kids were having some cool fun and lots of restaurants and shops. After scoping out our options, we spotted one call “Trumps” so we decided it was appropriate to visit in honor of our new president!

He has nothing to do with this place! It has been there for many years. Like most places in South Africa, the focus was on meat. We all had a wonderful dinner with huge portions of meat even though we ordered the smaller cuts! This is a meat-eating country from what we have seen. Obviously, we haven’t been exposed to the poorer areas of Africa.

After breakfast, we flew to Hoedspruit near the world famous Greater Kruger National Park. We were back on the east side of Africa, not that far from Richards Bay where we had cleared into Africa a few weeks earlier. We were heading to our final safari camp. This is where Barb and Joe left us as we were in two different camps.

Little did I know that we were about to have one of the most amazing experiences of all…

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