According to TripIt, I logged over 382,000 miles to 8 countries and 21 cities in 2014. Traveling has become a way for me to unwind from a hectic work schedule and to meet and interact with people, since my social life in Johannesburg (even after a year) is non-existent. Traveling has allowed me to better understand and connect with the history, cultures, and cuisines of South Africa.
People coming to South Africa often ask me for advice about what to do while they are here. Of course, the answer largely depends on whether you have been here before or if you have a specific interest in something like fly fishing. But, if this is your first visit and you want an introduction to the country, here is the trip I would plan for you.
After an extremely turbulent flight on my way home from Phinda that ended with an aborted landing in Johannesburg, I wasn’t looking forward to getting on another small plane to reach Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp in Botswana, but the only way to reach the Delta is via plane.
South Africans often ask me why I left the United States to move to South Africa. It’s not a purely inquisitive question, but one laced with a hefty dose of, “are you crazy.” And while it’s easy to formulate an answer explaining why I came here, it can be harder to articulate why I want to stay.
There are places I keep returning to, despite having a long list of travel destinations I want to explore. In South Africa, with three visits in nearly seven months, the place I keep returning to is Phinda, a private game reserve in KwaZulu Natal. This trip like all the others was truly amazing. I don’t know when I will be back, but I know I will return.
Every visitor who comes to South Africa and is going on safari asks me what to pack . . . and then they obsess, visit an outdoor store ten times, and obsess some more. I have seen guests climbing onto safari vehicles in skinny jeans clutching designer handbags as well as guests in vests covered in pockets, floppy hats, and those hideous pants that zip-off into shorts.