Over the last 5 weeks I have been so busy with work that I barely had time to explore this beautiful country. However, this week I was fortunate enough to have some of my family come to visit! The last ten days have been incredible. Angel (my brother), Denise (my brother’s fiancé), and Jillian (my girlfriend) all flew over 8,000 miles to visit me here in South Africa. I was sure to make the trip worth it.
As soon as they landed, we grabbed a bite to eat and headed straight into the city. I figured the first day would be the perfect time for us to take a tour around Johannesburg. The red tour bus was pretty awesome. We learned so much history about Johannesburg and the surrounding areas in only 2 hours. They were all so shocked at how industrialized South Africa really is. The images of Africa that we usually see, while in the United States, almost always portray Africa as having all dirt roads and straw huts. That is not the case!
During their time here, we also found time to go zip lining! This was something none of us had ever done before, so it was a great new experience. Johannesburg is actually home to the longest zip line in all of Africa, which is about 200 meters long. It was incredibly cheap too! Back home, zip lining could cost up to $150. Here, I paid $20 for 2 hours worth of acrobatic obstacles, which included multiple zip lines.
Visiting the Apartheid Museum, however, was one of the most interesting things we could have done. We spent almost 5 hours working our way through the museum. The museum painted a clear picture of how Europeans colonized South Africa and oppressed its native people for generations. It was as though we were going through a time machine. When we bought our tickets, we were assigned a race, either black/colored or white. There were also two entrances, one for each race. That set the tone for what was to come. It really was a great experience.
My favorite part of their visit, I would say, was our trip to Lion Park. I had never experienced anything like that before in my life. Saying you want to pet a lion, and actually being able to do it is a blessing. They were baby lions, of course, but the experience was awesome! I also got to interact with a nearly fully-grown cheetah! Now that was a little nerve racking, but we survived!
I also was able to feed a giraffe. I didn’t realize that the giraffes were free to roam anywhere they pleased. It actually followed me to my car!
But one of the most interesting parts of this day trip was driving through the lion reserves. As instructed, we kept all windows closed, but what we saw was amazing.
My family visiting has been the best part of my time in South Africa, but now its back to work!