Welcome to the country of “Mama Africa”
In case you are wondering who is Mama Africa, it’s the beautiful Miriam Makeba. I fell in love with her while listening to her melodies and her compositions. She was a human rights activist and a great human with a great heart who loved her country and countrymen.
If she was one of the resaons for our visit to this country, there are plenty more to love and love again about this country.
I love Africa. Where other than this place would you enjoy untouched nature (most of the places since the four legged dominate the place well)
Johannesburg is one of Africa’s biggest and most vibrant cities. It is the economic capital of Africa and the gateway to Southern Africa. Although not as famous as other South African destinations, there is plenty to do in Johannesburg and nearby Pretoria. The old city is a multi-cultural mixture of traditional medicine shops, Chinese restaurants, taxi ranks and ultra-modern skyscrapers.
SOWETO was one of my favourite places in Johannesburg. I love history and here it has so much to offer to learn and understand better the present-day South Africa. The beginning of this neighbourhood can be traced from 1885, discovery of Gold. Thousands of people thronged from across the world in order to land a job here in SOWETO. More than half the population was black, most living in multi racial shanty towns near the gold mines in the centre of the town. As the gold mining industry developed, so did the need for labour increase.
Migrant labour was started and most of these workers lived in mine compounds. However other workers had to find their own accommodation often in appalling conditions.
Soweto obtained its name from the first two letters of South Western Township which was the original description of the area.
The spirit of Johannesburg is not like any other cities that I have visited so far. Its busy streets get into action in the night with various other activities. People here are lively.
Early morning our driver arrived with much enthusiasm to show us the beauty of his country. He was more than eager to hit the road and talk about the marvel of this land. From the capital, Gomo Gomo game lodge is about 6-7 hours drive. The drive is another attraction in itself giving us the glimpse of the beautiful Mpumalanga & Limpopo provinces.
After bumping along dirt tracks through the African bush we emerged in an oasis of lush, manicured lawns leading to the grand entrance to the lodge, grizzled tree trunks holding the porch aloft. As we entered the main space with its high ceilings and rustic walls, our Ranger welcomed us with a smile, cool towel and fruity drink. Wow! The first word as we entered the lobby of the lodge. The lobby opens to an open terrace that is overlooking the waterhole.
The bonus in this lodge was when the elephants came and paid us a visit every now and then to this very waterhole.
The exciting part of our tour was definitely the game drives. We would have twice every day. Early in the morning and noon 4pm. Our first-afternoon drive set off at around 4 PM and soon as we got into the open-sided 4x4 vehicle. Just as the sun set we heard on the communication radio that a leopard had been spotted. We rushed to the spot, thinking how lucky we were to have this on our first game drive. Indeed, we were super lucky when we saw that stunning looking leopard near another water hole quenching her thirst, all the while having her one eye on his surroundings as well.
The next morning, we had a wake-up knock on the door at 4 AM. A quick coffee and rusk and we headed off for our morning drive. Today We spotted elephants, giraffes. The Shangaan tracker and guide were amazing in at tracking the wildlife and their passion and knowledge of the bush and wildlife is incredible.
Arriving in time for lunch, a hearty vegetarian dish and salad waiting for us. Most dietary requirements are catered for – vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free is no problem for these cooks.
Relaxed for few hours by the pool area under the generous shade of the vastly spread tree waiting for the elephants to show up, just as we wish, there came a herd of the majestic animals in herds in their most jovial mood.
Our next game drive was the best among the 5 glorious days. We had the privilege to spot the King of the Jungle. There were 2 male Lions and 5 female Lions by their kill, a hapless Giraffe lying with its belly ripped open and eaten was a sight to never forget. I was in awe of this incredibly beautiful cats, only a few metres away from us. I must admit, I felt like a child and could not help smiling for the rest of the day with an occasional huffing thinking about the stench of the dead giraffe.
This is ‘Big 5’ territory, which does put you at high alert and all our senses are awake and doing the job pretty well! We spotted all the BIG 5, in our game drives. Rhinos, Elephants, Lions, Leopards along with Giraffes, Buffalos, Deers, Hyenas, Hypos, and some interesting birds.
The memory is still fresh and the beauty of this nation calls me everyday. I am noting but grateful to have visited this part of the world where the Jungle rules!