THE JOURNEY TO SOUTH AFRICA
Deciding to go to South Africa was a big deal. It was the fulfillment of a dream that I had never thought possible! The trip was 31 days and required a ton of planning. Getting from the United States to South Africa is no small undertaking and definitely not for the faint of heart!
At the time, I was living in the St. Louis metro area. The flights were unbelievably long. Flying out of Lambert International airport, the first layover was in Atlanta at Hartsfield Jackson International airport. There was a 5-hour layover. Fortunately, the Atlanta airport offers plenty of things to do shops, restaurants, and various entertainment venues to occupy you during a long layover.
From Atlanta all the way to Cape Town, South Africa, I was on South African Airways. An amazing experience, with great food, comfortable seating a huge entertainment selection, what more could you ask for on the grueling flights ahead? For the majority of the flights, I spent my time reading the novel "The Covenant" by James Michener. The book chronicles the history of South Africa from tribal times through modern history. It is a long but amazing read and filled me with tons of information about my upcoming adventure.
HOW MANY FLIGHTS TO SOUTH AFRICA?
Once we boarded, the next layover was in Dakar, Senegal a 9 hour and 12 minute flight! Here's the catch we landed in Senegal but were not allowed to de board the aircraft. I still don't understand the reasoning for sitting on the tarmac and not being allowed to de-board. The stop in Senegal was to re fuel and re stock the aircraft. This process took about 2 hours. I watched almost an entire movie Silver Linings Playbook during this time.
Back in the air, we were on our way to Johannesburg, South Africa a flight of almost 9 hours. As we sat on the plane waiting to deboard it was pouring rain! I literally watched my luggage being loaded onto the ATV that was being used to transport the cargo. Then all of a sudden, the workers stopped, abandoned the ATVs and there my luggage sat, getting wetter and wetter! What in the world was happening? Finally, the transport restarted and we were allowed to exit the aircraft.
After a 3 hour layover in Johannesburg, I boarded another flight to Cape Town, South Africa. This flight seemed like child's play after the previous flight, 2 hours and 10 minutes.
My home for the next four days would be Southern Sun The Cullinan Hotel. I was exhausted and jet-lagged but the excitement of my destination kept me awake. It was clear I wasn't the first guest to be plagued by these issues and the staff was gracious enough to prepare some food for me and fill me in on the sites I would see over the next few days! And, as a side note, they took care of cleaning my wet clothes from the mishap in Johannesburg!
MY ITINERARY IN CAPE TOWN
Day One would be an excursion to Robben Island and the prison that Nelson Mandela called "home" for 27 years. The next day would be an extensive city tour where I would visit the top of Table Mountain and the Cape of Good Hope. And the final day, before more travel would be spent touring wineries in the Winelands of South Africa and De Beers diamond company to witness the process of transforming a rough diamond into a beautiful stone ready for setting.
On Day 4, I would be departing for Kruger National Park for a 3-week photo safari. The last leg of the trip would be a five-day adventure to see Victoria Falls from Zimbabwe and the Zambia Side.
Over the next several days, I will be publishing the details of my adventures in South Africa. I guarantee exciting reads on each article, so I hope you will bookmark my site and visit often.
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