Sunday, September 20, 2015

South Africa 2015 - Take Aways

South Africa 2015 - Take Aways

This is a bulleted list of some revelations we had during our trip to the country on the right.

In no particular order but divided by locale… a recap. Enjoy!

Johannesburg, South Africa

  • Due to my err in carefully looking at the itinerary, we did not stay as planned in this town
  • The OR Tambo International Airport, and process of taking care of guests definitely needed some attention.  
  • Plenty of options for eating and shopping.
  • Seriously, bused to and from the planes?
  • Seriously, we walked 5k steps from one terminal to the other (I counted via my Fitbit).
  • Airport Craft Brewers (ACB) beer was pretty dang tasty, each of the three four times we landed there.
  • Airport security was just that, people making money to make you take stuff out your pockets.
  • I didn't feel safe, but I didn't feel in danger either.
  • I didn't have to take my shoes or belt off, and still felt safe.
  • We had to go through security each time we went from terminal to terminal.
  • People watching at this airport was pretty excellent.

Zulu Nyala, South Africa (aka Hluhluwe, KwaZulu Natal)
  • Renting a car is easy, even if you reserve it in a different town, like Durban (a mere hour plus away).
  • Hertz took good care of us by changing the reservation, which made me thank them very much.
  • GPS devices are very nice, since our US phones couldn't do data over there without charging us a mortgage payment in fees.
  • They drive on the wrong (left) side of the road.
  • Cows and goats are free range (no fences).
  • The Big 5 and Magnificent 7 are fenced in with electric fences.
  • NO such thing as free range wildlife, as we know it.
  • They are called ‘preserves’ - as in preserving the wild from poachers (aka reserves).
  • Or so they say…
  • Impalas and Nyalas still roam free (nobody wants them as target practice).
  • The game drives were fun, no matter the size of the pre/reserve. 
  • Its all about the guide and his/her radio on what game you got to see.
  • Tips were only supposed to be 10%, but we tipped 20%.
  • We were LOVED at Zulu due to tipping practice!
  • Zulu felt like home, mostly due to all the Americans that were there.
  • This made for a nice break in period in a different country.
  • Nyala is pronounced “In-Yeah-La” not “Nie-Al-Ah” as previously thought.
  • We never, ever, never had a bad meal at this lodge.
  • We never, ever, saw a male lion or a leopard in these parts, which saddened us.

Richards Bay, South Africa
  • Beer in the bay at Jacks was R11.50, which at the time equated to $0.80US each for a 500ml.
  • 500ml = 16.907oz.
  • I liked Richards Bay.
  • Massages were R400 for 60 minutes, which at the time, equated to $30US.
  • I loved Richards Bay.
  • WiFi was plentiful by just asking the bar lady what the password was.
  • The Protea Waterfront hotel was quite nice.
  • I want a bathroom in my house just like we had in this hotel.
  • The Protea Waterfront hotel only passed out 500mb chits for WiFi use per day.
  • I got three or four said chits each day because the front desk liked us.
  • They loved what we call classic rock.

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
  • The leaders changed the currency in 2009 from the Zimbabwean dollar to the US dollar.
  • They charged for things like beer, food, and attractions like we were in New York City.
  • Sorry NYC, but you gouge too, at least in Midwest terms.
  • One of the seven wonders of the world, Victoria Falls, was ominous, fantastic, mysterious, and just plain freakin awesome.
  • Zambia River splits Zimbabwe and Zambia and while on a cruise, you can see the difference (not really, but you could feel it).
  • I never got tired of seeing hippos in the water, birds on the trees, or crocs sunbathing on the shore.
  • After eating in the bush, I gained a new respect for animals - the ones that eat you as well as feed you.
  • We still never, ever, saw a male lion or a leopard in these parts, which saddened us, again.
  • Even after canceling our Boma dinner for another game drive just to see one of each.
  • We still saw some elephants where one got pissed and acted like it wanted to charge our jeep.
  • The locals are high pressure sales people once outside of the confines of the hotel.
  • They are like clickers in Las Vegas (yes, that bad).

Cape Town, South Africa
  • This was the most pleasant surprise of the trip.
  • We had no expectations of this town, but absolutely loved it.
  • So much, we could see ourselves living here (at least Rob could).
  • I felt like I was in San Francisco on steroids and visa versa (I heard it both ways).
  • We weren't big on the wine thing, but we still did the tours due to the beauty of the country.
  • Whilst in Rome… (do as the Romans do).
  • Sonoma and Napa took second place, in our opinions.
  • People are extremely nice here.
  • The Cape of Good Hope was a great experience.
  • Shark diving rocked better than expected.
  • We felt very safe, but cold in the ocean.
  • I know why they call them wetsuits now.
  • Apartheid ended over 30 years ago in South Africa, but it was still felt there.
  • Townships aren't slums, as I was corrected many times.
  • I felt sick to my stomach while touring the townships.
  • I felt welcome while touring the townships.

  • NYC to Jberg flight better-than Jberg to DC flight (note to self).
  • We checked out of work pretty much right after we boarded the first plane.
  • We watched very little TV while overseas.
  • We listened to very little radio while overseas.
  • We didn't miss either very much.
  • We didn't track the Royals or Chiefs like normal while overseas.
  • We still loved the Royals and Chiefs, but didn't care if they won or lost nearly as much.
  • We quickly cared once we returned home.
  • We learned - A LOT about African countries, not just South Africa or Zimbabwe. A LOT!
  • South Africa is freakin huge, not to mention the other 53 countries that make up Africa in total.
  • We missed our family, friends, neighbors, and home while gone - very much.
  • We still haven't checked in to work on the day prior to be going back.
  • I saw some things that I could only imagine, both good and bad.
  • I still love the USA, more than any country.
  • South Africa comes in a nice second, so far.
  • I have a new found respect for my country and the freedom it has provided me.
  • I have a new found hatred to the capitalistic bastards that make this country one of the most selfish in the world (not the worst, but how can I buy a beer for $0.80 in SA but not in US?).
  • Ok, bastards was a little tough, but jesus, it doesn't really cost that much for beer, right?
  • Poverty in US has nothing on poverty in SA.
  • This was a trip of a lifetime.
  • We will go back to South Africa, because nobody does something so nice just one time.
  • Because we didn't see, do, or experience quite enough of this wonderful part of the world.

No comments:

Post a Comment