South Africa

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    • Day 25

      Une dernière soirée à Jo Burg

      July 23, 2023 in South Africa ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

      Changement de plans pour notre dernière nuit en Afrique du Sud.

      Nous avons décidé de laisser tomber notre réservation sur Airbnb. Après quelques nuits froides, nous avons décidé de louer une chambre dans un hôtel luxueux doté de l'un des meilleurs restaurants de la ville. C'est une meilleure façon de souligner nos anniversaires.

      On apprécie doublement le luxe après plusieurs nuits au confort plus rustique.

      12 ans de mariage - Lara a 7 ans 😍
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    • Day 1

      Transfer to our hotel

      May 7, 2023 in South Africa ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

      We had organised a taxi transfer to our hotel. Our driver, Norman, started messaging me while we were still on the plane! We liaised while we were going through security and baggage reclaim (all very painless), and, as we emerged from the terminal, he pulled up, ready to drive us to our hotel in Rosebank. Perfect timing!

      Norman was very friendly, and the journey passed quickly. Everywhere looked very familiar - drive on the left, all the signs in English, etc.

      We were a little early for check-in when we arrived at Park Central Hotel and Residence, but the staff were all very friendly and helpful while we were waiting.

      Once our room was ready, we made our way to the 15th floor! Our accommodation is a studio apartment with a Smeg kitchen and plenty of space. The views over the city are incredible!!

      Norman had warned us not to be out after dark, so we just dumped our bags and made our way to the nearest supermarket, which he had helpfully pointed out to us 😀. It's in the Rosebank shopping mall, about a 10-minute walk from here. It was really well stocked, and the prices were very reasonable (especially when compared to Seychelles!). We bought breakfast basics and a roast chicken for dinner.

      It was a sunny afternoon 😎. Everyone we spoke to was very friendly. We felt very safe. Our first impressions of Johannesburg are all positive!
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    • Day 2

      Hop-on, hop-off bus

      May 8, 2023 in South Africa ⋅ 🌧 13 °C

      The forecast today was for 90 - 95% chance of heavy rain 🌧 all day! It was unfortunate, but we had pre-booked two-day tickets for the hop-on, hop-off bus 🚌, so we had to go for it!

      We headed out after breakfast and followed Google Maps to the starting point for the bus. It was only an 11-minute walk from our hotel. It wasn't raining, and the sun was trying to poke through 😀. Several people wished us a good morning as we walked. Once Google Maps told us we had arrived, it wasn't clear where the bus stop was, so I asked someone. He could have just told us, but instead, he took us there! While we were standing there checking our phones📱for bus times, a lady came out of the nearby Holiday Inn to warn us about keeping our phones hidden in public so as not to attract opportunistic thieves. She advised us that the bus office was just around the corner and directed us there. Despite the warnings about our safety, everyone we have met so far has been so helpful. No wonder they call Johannesburg the friendly city!!

      At the bus office, we collected our tickets and arranged to do the included Soweto tour tomorrow when the weather forecast is better. When the bus was due, a member of staff actually escorted us to the stop and made sure we were safely on board!

      Because of the expected rain 🌧, we decided that today we would just stay on the bus 🚌 and do both the green and red routes. That way, we could get our bearings and plan the rest of our week in the city.

      So, that's what we did. The rain held off for the first part of the route, so we took some photos 📸. The audio commentary was excellent. We learned a lot about the city.

      Johannesburg is a relatively new city. It was founded in 1886 when gold ✨️ was discovered here. The settlement was named after two officials of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (ZAR), Christian Johannes Joubert and Johannes Rissik, who both worked in land surveying and mapping. The two men combined the name they shared, adding 'burg', the archaic Afrikaans word for 'fortified city'. The city is also known by its Zulu name, eGoli, meaning 'city of gold'. Colloquially, the city is also known as Joburg or Jozi.

      When gold was first discovered, Johannesburg began as a tented ⛺️ shanty town. It has come a long way since then. The city is now the richest in South Africa with higher salaries than anywhere else in the country. As it has throughout its history, it still attracts entrepreneurs and those seeking a better life. Today, Johannesburg is the financial powerhouse of Africa.

      The city's success is surprising. On paper, its location is not ideal for a town, never mind a huge metropolis. There is no reliable water supply nearby. Water has to be pumped 360 kilometres from Lesotho 🇱🇸! Johannesburg is also located at an altitude of 1700 metres, making it uncomfortable for some people to be here. Despite the difficulties, it is now the largest city in the world 🌎 not built on a lake, river, or coast and boasts one of the best climates on earth.

      Johannesburg is an extremely green city. 10 million trees 🌳 were planted, making it the largest man-made forest in the world 🌎. One of the trees the city is famous for is the jacaranda. When it flowers in October and November, there is a carpet of purple flowers over swathes of the city. This phenomenon won't exist in 50 years' time. The jacaranda is a non-native species that was introduced from South America. It uses far too much water to be sustainable in Johannesburg. As the trees die off naturally, they won't be replaced.

      Halfway through our tour, the heavens opened. We were sitting upstairs on the bus 🚌 under the cover at the front, so we stayed dry, but the rain put paid to our photography 📸!

      We arrived back at Rosebank at around 12.30pm and went for lunch at Yalla, a Middle-Eastern café. The food was excellent, but the portions were huge - we couldn't finish it!

      By the time we'd had lunch, the rain had stopped, so we were able to get back to the apartment without getting wet.

      We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening writing posts (I've finally been released from Facebook jail!), catching up with the Coronation concert from yesterday, and watching Netflix. We've never had Netflix before, but it's included in the apartment 😀).

      The photos 📸 attached to this footprint are of the bus, some sculptures in Rosebank Mall, and the view of the approaching storm from our apartment window when we got back this afternoon!
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    • Day 4

      A day at the apartment

      May 10, 2023 in South Africa ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

      After a couple of busy days, we decided to spend today at the apartment catching up with posts, listening to the radio, and preparing for the truck 🚚 😂.

      The photos attached to this footprint 👣 were taken from the roof.Read more

    • Day 6

      A trip to the cinema

      May 12, 2023 in South Africa ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

      Having seen everything we wanted to see in the city, we decided to have an easier day today.

      We spent the morning doing posts, getting caught up on our laundry, and sorting our bags 🎒 out ahead of our trip.

      Later, we walked up to the mall to go to the cinema 🎥. We had tickets to see The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry starring Jim Broadbent and Penelope Wilton. I read the book 📖 a few years ago while we were working on Yole. I knew the film was coming out, but I thought we'd miss it because we were travelling. I was very happy to find out it was on here in Jo'burg. We both enjoyed the film. I thought it was true to the book.

      I found myself taking photos 📸 of the toilets 🚻 in the mall! Every public toilet I've been in this week has had fresh orchids on display and these very clever toilet seat/flush systems. Another reason to love Jo'burg!! 😂

      While we were at the mall, we went shopping for a suitable hat for Mark to wear on safari. He definitely looks the part now 😀.

      On the way back to the apartment, we spotted a hadeda ibis. This bird is found all over the city. It has no natural predators, so numbers are out of control. It is named for its loud three to four note calls made in flight, especially early in the morning when it leaves its roost, and when it returns in the evening. Locals have nicknamed it 'the flying vuvuzela'!
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    • Day 26

      Dernière journée en Afrique du Sud

      July 24, 2023 in South Africa ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

      Ce matin, très bon déjeuner à l'hôtel. Nous sommes ensuite allés dépenser nos derniers Rand au marché d'artisanat. Puis nous sommes allés visiter le Wits Origin center museum puis nous sommes revenus dans le quartier chic de l'hôtel pour aller faire un tour à la librairie. On est prêt pour le retour 📚!

      Ensuite nous avons pris un Uber pour aller à l'aéroport et comme toujours, le voyant d'essence était allumé dès le début de la course! Cette fois, nous avions 40 minutes de voiture à faire, il y avait du trafic et un accident! Ça nous a pris 1h15. On était d'avance, pas de stress pour le temps mais... l'essence, on a eu peur! On est arrivé à temps à l'aéroport sans panne d'essence. Aurevoir SA 🇿🇦💛🖤💚💙❤️🤍
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