I had the good fortune to share this marvelous destination with a group of NUBA colleagues. It turned out we were all women but little did we know that on this fabulous odyssey, Homer would welcome our song.
The direct flight to Johannesburg on Spain’s Iberia airlines was extraordinary, one-hundred percent recommendable. You leave Madrid at night; you sleep and then you wake up in South Africa.
JJohannesburg greeted us with pleasant autumn weather and then we went to the Nelson Mandela house, in Soweto. It was small and chock full of living history.
The next day our safari adventure began. There are so many and they’re as different in Africa as a zebra’s stripes. You’ve gotTanzania, Kenia, Botswana or Sudáfrica,, plus the vehicles, the animals and landscapes; each is so different and all have something that makes them unique. The South African safari may be the most comfortable since you don’t have to move from one park to the other. Accommodations are within Kruger National Park and when you get there you do a morning safari as well as another one in the afternoon. For three days your sole responsibility is to see the “five big ones”, specifically, buffaloes, lions, leopards, rhinoceroses and elephants.
What a marvelous sensation it is to see them all, face to face! Every one of them was a magic experience..
The sunset buffalo herds at Sabi reserve; the pride of twelve nocturnal lions that strut back and forth deciding what they’d hunt; they simultaneously showed us just who the kings of Africa are. You cannot imagine how clearly they transmit that superiority! The rhinoceroses struck me as entirely magical, precious and imposing…
runway at Kruger Fashion Week. And then there are the elephant herds. We had the immense fortune to see a couple of herds in one of Sabi Sand’s most beautiful and legendary accommodations, Bush Lodge, that has a terrace overlooking a small lagoon where the animals come to drink. Like an opera chorus, a more than 50-animal elephant herd, of all ages, showed up. It was just majestic.
The accommodations are spectacular. National Geographic, named Earth Lodge a “Unique Lodge,” and it is a real-life delight for architecture buffs.
Every reserve is different. Mala offers an exuberant landscape, all in intense shades of green, behind a river that became our window-candy.
After enjoying the most marvelous and wildest sunrises and sunsets you could imagine, we reached Cape Town..
South Africa is the continent’s most varied country and you can see it in the architecture, the population and the landscapes. Suddenly you’re in Cape Town and environs and within an hour you find landscapes that could be from Switzerland, Germany or Holland. Both the local mountains and architecture make this wine-growing region a real enjoyment, at least on one of your days.
A winetasting, a ride in vintage cars, lunch at the Mont Rochelle farm led us all to once again experience the amazing food we’d been enjoying, as well as South Africa’s spectacular wines. Total bliss for lovers of the grape.
By the time the trip ended, we were leaving a place where you think there could be nothing else. But we found ourselves in the city that’s just north of the Antarctic, on the cape pirates used to cross to show off with the earrings they wore that they had left the Indian Ocean for the Atlantic at Cape Town.
The visit to the Cape peninsula was a total experience. Getting to the Cape of Good Hope and feeling like you were at the end of the world was unforgettable. Wind went with us on this league of the trip, not surprising for this point on the African geography.
After that blustery visit, we made an obligatory stop to meet our friends the African penguins at Simon Town. They greeted us amicably and with the expected clowning.
The Waterfront zone is one of the most frequented places in all Cape Town. Walkable, with shops and restaurants full of leisure- and color-seekers, the district is well worth your time.
I’ll take unforgettable memories from South Africa, with major dividends. The only other thing I’ll say is that on the other side of the world you confuse the south with the north.