Accidental African Adventure - Johannesburg

Finally getting up some Accidental African Adventure Part 2 posts!!!

After leaving Reunion, I had a few days in Johannesburg. I was sort of looking forward to it (English speaking country and shopping), but sort of scared (guns and death), but it ended up being a really fun time!!!

Welcome to Joberg. from up here...

It only took ...oh...about forty minutes or so to find the "free shuttle" to the hotel...during which I was still convinced that I would get shot if I just got in any random cab. I asked for directions several times...and was always pointed into different directions... Finally someone saw the pained, lost look on my face and led the way to the free shuttle. He was given a $100 ZAR tip for his services. Later I found out that was about $14CDN. Well, good day for him I guess...

Welcome to the (well gated, secure) Emperor's Palace. They have five hotels - ranging from 5* to 3*. This time I stayed in the 5* and it was AWESOME!!!

So...when in South Africa....drink lots of South African wine... and of course, surf the web... (I keep thinking this picture makes me look like an alcoholic dork...but it was a great kick off to the vacation on another continent!!)
Next stop: Hotel Casino.
Now that's swanky hotel for you - they'll even check your guns for free!!! I set off the metal detector quite a few times with my camera...but they never wanted to search me!
Umm....Caesar’s Palace replica?? It felt pretty close to Vegas!
The next day was a trip to the doctor. I was so excited to see a doctor in a first world country. With my expat struggles lately leaving me feeling a bit loco...I thought this picture was appropriate...

And then the next day, it was off to the airport. No more shuttle mess this time, it was all out luxury in the hotel car service. A ride in a Mercedes, with complimentary bottled water, cool cloths, and a newspaper cost 150ZAR (about $20 CDN), I thought it was well worth it.
Back to the airport. Everyone is SO excited for the World Cup in June!!
But don't forget to check your guns before you fly!!
I saw this outside the duty free shop...and wanted to practice my safari skills!!
Good to go!!
And don't I look the part? (Either that or a celebrity in cognito on her way to rehab....)

Overall, I had a great time in Johannesburg, and I learned A LOT.
First - that if you take the right precautions (and it doesn't have to be as extreme as riding in an armoured car wearing a bullet proof vest or anything as I originally I thought), Joberg is fine.

Second - some world history. I am now mildly obsessed with Nelson Mandela. When he was elected president, I was 14 or so...and really more concerned about lip gloss and boys (as opposed to now...where now I'm only partially concerned about lip gloss and men...) and I feel like I missed out on an amazing chunk of world history. While in South Africa, I always ended up talking to the drivers about the apartheid and they were more than happy to talk about their lives - pre and post Independence. It was amazing (and sad) to see and hear how the classes are so divided in a first world country.
There is a highway just outside of the Capetown airport - one side has nice (gated) houses - and the JUST on the other side there are metal shacks as far as the eye can see. I (ignorantly) had no idea it was still like that.

And Third - I had a (mildly embarrassing) geography lesson.
[Geography IS NOT one of my strong points. It just never stuck with me in school and was always my worst subject (second worse was English!). (Example: I didn't know there were two Washingtons in USA until I was 26 (yes, I'm serious)).]
So, when I had a stop over in Johannesburg on my way to Capetown Winelands, I was expecting the regular 4 - 5 questions that customs normally asks... Where are you staying? How long are you here for? What is your occupation? Etc.
As I approached the customs officer, he said, Hey Momma (I'm serious), how long are you in South Africa for?
My response, Oh, I'm not staying, I'm just in transit on my way to Capetown.
The customs officer.... just stamped my passport and let me through...
I re-checked my luggage, bought some candy, boarded the plane, and a couple of hours later, we landed in Capetown Airport, South Africa...(Uh....duh...) and I realized I just learned another geography lesson...and looked like a mega-dumb blonde (and am still laughing about it...).


  1. Nice blog. Did you check your weapon? Lve G&Gxxoo

  2. long have you been in Madagascar??
    Good Luck and have a nice day....