- 1 year ago
- 311 notes
My trip to South Africa was amazing. Like Community full season pick up amazing. It was truly an unforgettable experience.
First day we arrived at the hotel and ventured out to a local pub to watch United play Sunderland. Then we had a group dinner at the Grand. After that we crashed because we had a lot on the itinerary for the next day.
We took a bus tour of Cape Town where our guide, Yusary, gave us a short but informative history of South Africa. We headed to Table Mountain National Park where we warned and pleaded with NOT TO FEED THE BABOONS. The baboon problem is serious over there. They are aggressive nasty animals. Some even learned to open car doors. Later we went to see the African penguins.
On our third day in Cape Town we went to Robben Island. Robben Island prison was were political prisoners of apartheid were taken. Political prisoners were deemed to be more of a threat than the criminal prisoners. There was a lot of torture and censorship that went on there. Our guide, Tulani, was a former prisoner himself. He was jailed for bombing a government building that resulted in no deaths but 57 minor injuries. Tulani’s ribs were broken and the torture was so severe it left him partially deaf. Nelson Mandela was kept at this prison due to his opposition of apartheid. He, along with a number of intelligent political prisoners, pushed hard for the allowance of education within the prison. Because of this, many of the prisoners achieved degrees. Many of the guards were given blanket amnesty after apartheid ended and some are presently running very successful businesses. When asked how Tulani could go on with his life knowing his torturers were not brought to justice, he simply said “If you cannot forgive, they are still holding you prisoner.”
The next and final day in Cape Town was a tour of wineries in a region called Stellonbosch.
Winery #1- Meerlust
They had SIX dogs! The wine was cool too but I met this little guy, TJommie, which means friend. He was amazing.
Winery #2- Ernie Els, a professional golfer and native South African. We tried seven different wines. The wine was good but it was so cold in there I could barely retain the information given.
Winery #3 Waterford- ‘twas nice. They gave us chocolate to pair with the wine which was equal parts classy and delicious.
Winery #4 NOT A WINERY AT ALL! We were all in for a surprise when we went to the location that was actually a Cheetah Outreach program. We learned about the dwindling cheetah population due to farmers who blame the animal for killing their livestock. Oh and then we pet a cheetah. No big deal.
We spent the night at Spier Island, ate at their restaurant Moyo and watched an impromptu JB performance. Then we headed to the airport.
We landed in Port Elizabeth and drove about two hours to Lalibela Game Reserve. Upon arrival we were told the golden rule, do not go anywhere on your own. The animals were not fenced in, and neither were our sleeping quarters. We were visited frequently by impala, birds oh and this dude.
His name is Duma, meaning “the loud one.” He came through camp one night at 2 AM. Luckily, everyone was asleep.
But the worst ambassador for Lalibela was an elephant named T-shirt. He is named as such because he walked around with a t-shirt for the first few weeks upon his arrival at the game reserve. We had the unfortunate luck of viewing T-shirt while he was in musk, which is a cycle that animals go through that presents an enormous amount of testosterone. T-shirt was in rare form one morning while we were trying to find the baby elephants. He didnt want us to get past him and made that very clear by flapping his ears and making himself appear big. Needless to say, I was terrified that T-shirt was going to flip us over, Jurassic Park style. One of my fellow safari goers got a great video of T-shirt trying to murder everyone and once I find it, I’ll post it here.
We say 3 of the Big 5 (Elephants, rhinos and lions) at Lalibela. The Cape Buffalos alluded us until we went to Zimbabwe and we never saw the leopards. Being on safari was crazy cool but also crazy scary. There were no roofs or seatbelts or weapons on our jeep. Our guide Trevor told us that there was a movement to do away with weapons and instead put more of an emphasis on knowing animal behavior. Which is nice but it wouldnt hurt to at least have a machete in the glovebox.
Our guide Trevor was so thorough and knowledgeable, I truly felt like I walked away with so much information and so many great memories. I really hope to make a return to Lalibela someday.
After we left Lalibela we flew to Johannesburg and stayed there for a night. We went to Nelson Mandela Bay Square and then flew to Victoria Falls airport. Our hotel was right by the Zambezi river and we rode elephants and meet a domestic cheetah named Sebastian. The next day we went to Victoria Falls and walked to the country of Zambia, stayed for probably three minutes, then headed back to Zimbabwe. There were tooooo many baboons and all the locals were too casual about those titans of terror.
I know I’m probably forgetting to mention a million things but this was as comprehensive as my brain could allow. Despite the 16 hour plane ride, this trip was so extraordinary I can only hope that I’ll find myself in South Africa again. There was so much we saw but also so much we didnt see. Learning the history of apartheid and hearing stories from those that lived it was a great privilege. South Africa is such a beautiful country with such an ugly past, but it’s still developing and learning. I hope this has inspired some of you to make visiting this country a line on your bucket list.
- 1 year ago
- 3 notes
- 1 year ago
- 841 notes
- 1 year ago
- 12,712 notes
When I usually return the favor, they often look surprised and simply answer ” I’m from here” or “I’m from New York.” I have yet encountered someone who would explain “My mother’s family came from Poland, and my father’s side fled England for a better life in the State, and that is why I am white with green eyes!” So if they don’t feel obligated to give me their geological tree story when I ask them, why should I?- Jessy Schuster
This article is so much truth. Doesn’t matter what race does the asking, it’s still RUDE.
- 1 year ago
- 10 notes