Our First Trip to Africa!
In May 2016 we booked our flights and Airbnbs for South Africa. What an AMAZING time we had. We booked a flight with a long layover in Madrid, Spain and had an opportunity to explore there too.
While in Madrid we walked and walked around in a chilly ass circle before settling in to this really cool place called Mercado De Miguel, an indoor market place with tapas and spirits. It was so trying to get to the Sol stop because we don’t speak Spanish and the train was a little difficult to navigate. But I’m happy I was able to experience Madrid. Not sure I’d return (maybe in the summer…)
5 Plus 10 hours Later…
FINALLY! We landed in the amazing country of South Africa! First stop…Jo’burg!
The Airbnb loft was located in the Maboneng District. This was THE best area for our first trip. We lived like locals the time we spent there. Restaurants, lounges, art galleries, music and cool looking people helped us fit right in. A friend asked if we were able to be touchy feely in South Africa. According to her we’re the “PDA couple of the century.” I told her YES! In Johannesburg we saw SO many couples like us. And quite a few gay guys too.
In addition to all this greatness, the value of the Rand is much lower than the dollar so we ate and drank well for cheap. Our biggest expense were the ubers we took everywhere. The internet had me spooked about public transportation. Driving a rental was also out of the question because they drive on the other side of the car and the street. Even one of our uber drivers drove on the wrong side once and there was a van headed straight towards us.
Soweto was just was just as dope. I kind of felt like I was back in Chicago in Washington Park at one of the festivals. The LoCrate Market happens there every first Sunday. There was music, vendors and delicious food. We walked the street where Mandela lived and saw his house. The people there were chill and I’m glad we were there in time to check it out.
One night we kept hearing some music (Hip Hop) being blasted from a little ways off from the loft. We asked the security guard if he knew where it was coming from. He lead us down a dark street to a restaurant with a rooftop lounge. There was only a handful of people there but they were having a great time and the music was on point. We got a drink and danced until last call. Then we headed downstairs to this really nice wine bar. Surprisingly, we were the only people in there. The bartender was really nice and suggested some places for us to see before we left.
The Apartheid Museum visit was a must. When I taught 4th grade I always taught about Apartheid and its parallels to the Black Power/Civil Rights movement here in America. I learned so much and felt emotional at times. I’m glad we went.
I was sad to leave yet excited for the next part of our journey. Cape Town! We stayed right by the beach in Milnerton on Woodbridge Island with a beautiful view of palm trees and Table Mountain. We were literally steps away from the beach. Our first day there we were so eager to make it to the beach that we rushed out and then got pelted by the sand. It was their windy season but we didn’t care (for a while).
We took the bus which was kind of like a hybrid of a bus and a train and went to Long St for burgers. Long St reminded me a little of Bourbon St in New Orleans with its balconied buildings and people of all ages and shades kicking it in the various restaurants, bars and night clubs. It was a Wednesday evening but it was as live as a Saturday night.
The next day Wine Flies came and picked us up for a winery tour. This was one of my best experiences ever! The van arrived right before 9am and shuttled us to the first estate in Stellenbosch. The first stop was a tasting with chocolate pairings (heaven!) the last stop was with cheese pairings (almost as heavenly!). In between we met a few dogs, saw some cows, zebras and had a very intimate encounter with a weird carnivorous chicken. We were dropped off loaded and stocked with several bottles of tasty wine.
Our last night there I had to have the seafood I’d been craving the whole trip. The restaurant was near V&A Waterfront and the service topped the food. But I was satisfied and afterwards we walked to a small shop and sat outside and ate gelato before heading back to our Airbnb.
On our last day we had a while before our flight so we walked to their local hole in the wall for a meal. Then we shared one of our bottles of wine and hung out on the beach. Luckily we were near done before the teenaged lifeguard told us we’d be fined R750 if we were caught drinking by the police. My last moments in South Africa were spent watching children who were also enjoying this lovely place.
This trip had everything I live for: different and incredible scenery, great food and drinks and beautiful people.
P.S. I got a ring!