I have been ignoring my blog of late. Life Happens. It certainly wasn’t intentional, but a confluence of personal and professional reasons made it difficult to find and dedicate time to my hobby blog. I plan on returning to the social media sphere and I have a number of stories rattling around in my head documenting my spring travels across South Africa.
Nearly three years ago was the culmination of one of the biggest decisions I have made in my life. Having never been to Johannesburg, I boarded a plane and flew 16 hours, halfway around the world, into the unknown. I was moving to a city where the only person I knew was the woman who had hired me. Mid-flight I awoke from an exhausted sleep in a panic about the decision I had made. It was the only moment in the past three years, that I doubted my decision to leave home.
Neither words nor photos can capture the chaos of the great migration. It is a wildlife spectacle that needs to been seen to understand the scale on which it unfolds. Every year an estimated one and a half million white-bearded wildebeest travel over 300 miles in a giant loop across Kenya and Tanzania in search of fresh grass. Along this trek they birth their young; attempt perilous river crossings where many wildebeest drown or are eaten by crocodiles; and they fall prey to awaiting lions. The entire display is filled with drama and suspense and was something I had wanted to see since I moved to South Africa.
South Luangwa is famed for walking safaris with two notable companies (Norman Carr and Robin Pope) offering multi-day walks or shorter walks between permanent camps. I wasn’t spending enough time in the park to take advantage of either of these options, but Tena Tena, the camp I was staying at, offered walks in place of the standard game drive. Unlike walks I have done in other countries, a walking safari in South Luangwa National Park feels more wild and remote.
Johannesburg can feel inaccessible and unlike Cape Town, which people fall in love with handily because of its natural beauty and laid back lifestyle, Jozi is a hardscrabble city that is always churning. If Cape Town is a watercolor, than Johannesburg is a high contrast photograph that requires an interpretive guide. Past Experiences founder, Jo Buitendach, is just such a guide and her Braamfontein Art Tour provides an interesting perspective of the city.
The Test Kitchen is the most difficult reservation to secure in South Africa and deservedly so since this restaurant is consistently named the best restaurant in South Africa and recently named amongst the 50 best restaurants in the world. If you want to eat here on a weekend, advance planning is required. I selected a weekend five months in advance, bought a plane ticket, and made plans to travel to Cape Town for a solo lunch date at the best restaurant in South Africa.