On my first visit to South Africa many years ago, I spent two weeks in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Kruger National Park. Over two weeks, I got to strike at least two things off my travel bucket list: a safari to see the Big Five at Kruger National Park, and sunset from the top of Table Mountain in Cape Town.
I didn’t even know then that I had a lot of other bucket list items, but happily I got to strike them off as well. These included visiting the Cape of Good Hope, driving along the coast of Cape Town, and doing a trip around the wine lands.
It’s funny how I thought that a trip to South Africa for two weeks would finally fill my curiosity for this part of the world — an area, by the way, I’d always passed up for one reason or another.
I’d long been wanting to go, but, most of the time, it just seemed so far to travel all that way. At least until I recently and finally looked at airline timetables and did the maths.
DOING THE DISTANCES
I always thought South Africa was far, in the same way that I find New York too far from Manila or Hong Kong (which would be the usual jump-off point for a direct flight).
This is why I’ve been so reluctant to go in the last few years; even if I happily fly off to Europe when I can find the time and a good excuse, and that’s at least a 12 hour plane ride or more.
So what a shock it was to realize that South Africa is way nearer than Europe in terms of distance. Had I bothered to do the maths before, I would have set foot in this country earlier.
TWO WEEKS AND NO TIME
Interestingly, we had two whole weeks to do as we pleased in South Africa; and although we decided the destinations to visit in South Africa together in a very roundabout way, I basically had the fun of deciding where to stay and how many days we would be in each place.
So I made the basic route for where to go in Africa and chose all the hotels I’ve always wanted to stay in. Or, at least, I chose many of them. We didn’t have enough time to stay everywhere I wanted, unfortunately.
And except for one dinner with some industry contacts in Johannesburg, we said no to every invitation or suggestion of meeting up because there didn’t seem to be any time to do so.
As for getting two things off my bucket list with this South Africa trip, well, having been to Africa has instead resulted in about two dozen more things for my never-ending bucket list.
WHERE TO GO IN AFRICA
Africa as an entire continent looks absolutely amazing, and I now want to do two dozen things I’d never even considered doing before.
Here are some of them, for Africa and the Middle East in general:
Visit the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania
Go on the Orient-Express safari in Botswana
Follow the Karen Blixen route
Sign up for a period safari in Kenya
Take a road trip around Lebanon
Holiday in Mozambique
Book a proper beach holiday in the Seychelles
Take Rovos Rail from Pretoria to Victoria Falls
Spend a week in Bushman’s Kloof in the Cederberg Mountains
See the Great Migration in the Serengeti of Tanzania
And so on. The list for where to go in Africa is truly endless in our never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.