A trip to Johannesburg in South Africa
Arrival at Jo'berg-Sandton City
My trip to Johannesburg in South Africa was a memorable one. Johannesburg is also called Joburg by the locals is South Africa's biggest city and capital of its inland Gauteng province, is also famous as the City of Gold, or ‘eGoli’ because of its history of gold-mining. It is the center of South Africa's commercial, financial, industrial, and mining undertakings. What amazed me was the tall buildings in the city. I heard that the Hillbrow Tower is the tallest structure in Johannesburg. Joberg has some of Africa’s tallest buildings which house international organizations like IBM, Absa, Willis group Ned Bank, Standard Bank. What I liked most was the greenery in the city. Trees can be seen everywhere, on sidewalks, pavements, and parks. I came to understand why it is called the greenest cities in the world. The clean well-maintained streets, the methodical traffic, and the friendly people impressed me a lot. Lane discipline is perfectly maintained as traffic rules are very strict. Moreover, due to the speed with which the vehicles move, it is dangerous to change lanes as there is a risk of an accident happening, everything is automated, from traffic signals to kiosks at the airport terminal.
The climate was sunny when we reached Joberg as it was October but there would be sudden bursts of thundershowers and evenings were very cool. Temperatures were fairly mild due to its high elevation. Our residence was at Sandhurst at Sandton. We loved this city of tall buildings and clean roads. We visited the Sandton City, the largest shopping malls in Africa, It has a variety of shops to cater to the needs of all people and many restaurants too. It was great shopping here.
Places of interest in and around Johannesburg
We were fascinated by the diverse culture in South Africa. Here there are Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi, Tswana, Ndebele, Khoisan, Hindu, Muslim, and Afrikaner people to name but a few and so it has been called the rainbow nation. South Africa has eleven official languages including Zulu, Afrikaans, Xhosa, and English. We were warned that the crime rate is high here and were advised against using public transport or walking about alone on the streets. Driving around is relatively safe in Johannesburg though the incidents of carjacking are high. The Nelson Mandela square and various art galleries are located here as also various gardens like the Beechwood gardens, the mushroom park, the wilds. The Soweto township was once home to the great leaders Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. The Mandela House Museum, Apartheid Museum, other Soweto museums and constitution hill are important places of interest to visit here.
The apartheid museum is a must-visit in Johannesburg. It gives one an insight into the struggles of the African people against apartheid and fight for freedom. Particularly unsettling is the small room with 131 nooses hanging signifying the government opponents who were executed during the struggle for freedom. But I could not visit many places of interest in Joburg such as the Mandela House, Constitution Hill and the Gold reef city which I hope to cover in my next visit. The Nelson Mandela National Museum or Mandela House as it is called is where Nelson Mandela lived. He is the great South African revolutionary who fought relentlessly for the freedom of his country and against apartheid. He also served as the first democratically elected president of South Africa after it attained its freedom from the oppressive rule. He won the Nobel Prize for peace in 1993. Constitutional Hill is the seat of the Constitutional Court of South Africa. It was formerly a prison and military fort. People like Nelson Mandela. Mahatma Gandhi. Joe Slovo, Albertina Sisulu. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. Fatima Meer served time here. It is a living museum that tells the story of South Africa’s journey to democracy. Gold reef city is an amusement park which is said to be located on an old gold mine which was closed and themed to mimic the gold rush that started in the Witwatersrand. It is famous for its water rides, roller coasters, and the Gold reef city casino.
Lion & Safari Park
Our visit to the Lion & safari park was memorable. We got to see Lions, Cheetahs, Hyenas, Leopards, wild dogs, Sable antelope, Kudu, Nylah, Giraffe to mention a few. We went on a safari and it was quite thrilling. We also had an interaction with the cubs and it was an exhilarating experience. We had an opportunity to hand feed to animals like the giraffe, ostriches, and antelopes. The park also has a photographic center with a good range of photo books, mugs, keyrings, puzzles and unique hand-crafted curios, jewelry, and clothing, which make great gifts to take home.
Next was the visit to Monte casino at Sandton which has a wide range of entertainment options. It is believed to be designed to replicate an ancient Tuscan village. It has a fake sky with a daylight and night theme which was very unique. I heard that it attracts millions of visitors every year. It has a lot of delicious dining places and restaurants to cater to a wide palette. It is said to be a one-stop entertainment complex with casinos, restaurants, cafes, bowling centers, movies and shops.
Kruger National Park, Cape town, Durban
Other popular destinations in South Africa are Cape town which is one of the most beautiful places on earth with its beautiful beaches, breathtaking mountains, penguins, wine estates, good food, great views,Durban a coastal city in Eastern South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province and is famous for its botanical gardens, the Golden mile beachfront, uShake Marine world, ice skating at the and various dining places, lot of surfing, and other loads of entertainment activities.
Kruger National park is one of the world’s biggest wildlife sanctuaries. People usually go on a safari to the park preferably in the early morning late afternoon or at night when more animals can be seen. It is a habitat for a wide range of game species like Elephants, Lions, Buffaloes, Leopards, Rhino, Cheetah, and African wild dogs in addition to countless reptiles, fish and amphibians. The park is also home to a wide variety of birds. There are private lodges and tented camps for an overnight stay within the park. In winter night can be quite cold so one has to go prepared. As the park lies within the malarial area it is best for one to take precautions like being equipped with mosquito repellents, nets or anti-malaria prophylactic medicines. The beautiful flora if the park is best experienced on foot and it is better to take a guided tour of the camps or driving in an open game vehicle in the wilderness trails One can get rejuvenated and recharged in the natural surroundings.
I would like to conclude by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Joberg in South Africa which is rich in its cultural heritage and diversity and its breathtaking tourist attractions and a wealth of natural beauty. The best thing about South African people is the love they have for their country. It is a county of beautiful landscapes, friendly people of diverse cultures and religions who get along so well together. Also, South Africa is the birth country of one of the greatest heroes of our times Nelson Mandela who fought relentlessly for the freedom of his country, who spent twenty-seven years in prison and directed his country to freedom. The country is full of parks and sanctuaries and is home to a wide variety of animals and birds. Loads of entertainment centers and a great place to plan a holiday
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 VIDYA D SAGAR