Explorations on the Sixth Continent - Africa!
After eight years of Nomad Journeys, Africa was still on our list to explore! Except for Egypt, the vast expanses of this great continent were still little known to us and offered plenty of opportunities for adventure!
Because we had so much to learn about this place we knew we needed to do more research to prepare for this journey than ever before. We started with a focus on Southern Africa, our first destination.
Since major elements of the essence of this part of the world include the great outdoors, the wild places, the flora and fauna, and the geology, significant amounts of additional planning were required for us to gain a level of comfort with the exploration that we intend to do. By early May, we felt that we had a much better understanding of what will be required and were ready to venture forth!
On May 7, we flew from Atlanta to Johannesburg, arriving the following afternoon, a bit weary after more than 15 hours of flying. We lingered in a comfortable guest house near the airport to catch up on sleep and to make arrangements for the flight on to Cape Town and a hostel there.
Cape Town is the legislative capital of South Africa, so the Parliament Complex occupies several blocks of the CBD. Then there are several important museums including two, the Slave Lodge and District Six, that offered us the beginnings of an understanding of the complex cultural, racial, ethnic and geopolitical forces that have shaped this country.
Click on the following links to view the story of our Capetown visit, and our Flickr photo albums of Capetown and our Cape Point travels
From Cape Town, we flew to Port Elizabeth, a major port and industrial center, but with a historic downtown. For us this was the starting point for our first safari - to Addo Elephant Park, not far away. In Addo Elephant Park, we took a sunset drive the first afternoon and an all day gamedrive the next day, where we had our first encounters with some of the large animals we've only seen in zoos - warthogs, cape buffalo, kudu, lions and lots of elephants. Some of our encounters were quite close, but not dangerous.
Click here to read the story about our Durban experience - it was quite extraordinary
A highlight of our stay was a 2-day trip to visit Hluhluwe National Park, followed by a boat trip on the St Lucia Estuary. At the park we were fortunate to view more large animals (more warthogs and kudus, many impala, giraffes, rhinos and a pride of lions), while the Estuary introduced us to many hippos, who make this place their home (picture below).
Click here to read our Safari to Hluhluwe National Park & St Lucia Estuary story
Safari to Kruger National Park and on to Brussels
But, first we felt we wanted to go on one more safari, to Kruger National Park, South Africa's oldest, largest and most well known park. During this safari, in addition to meeting up with a range of animals, we also sighted an amazing array of birds with the assistance of our guide, Hoppy.
As we reflect on our South African journey, we already know that we'll return and continue to explore Southern Africa. We have learned that the experiences of being with Africa's splendid critters touch our souls, and that social, political, and economic changes occurring in Africa today are a fascinating study.
After a brief return to Johannesburg, we embarked on the 18 hour trip on Etihad Airlines from Johannesburg to Brussels with a stop in Abu Dhabi. We have settled in Brussels, one of the world's most People Friendly Cities! We will live here at least a month and seek a balance between work and just living the urban life we love.
Click here to read South Africa - Our Take - impressions and analysis.
Click here to return to our 'Searching the World for People Friendly Cities' page
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