As many of you know Dayne and I try to plan a trip around each New Years Eve with our friend Forest who lives in Paris. In years past we have gone to Paris; St. Petersburg, Russia; New York. Sometimes other friends our ours from the states, Canada and Europe join but this year it was just us three and we decided to go to South Africa. I don't know how the idea originally came up but it was a good one!
We met Forest in Johannesburg where we just stayed for one night before heading out to Kruger National Park for safari. Our guest house was in a very nice area of Jo'burg called Melville but even though this is quite an affluent neighborhood we were completely fenced in by a cement wall, barbed wire and electricity. And there was a guard on duty 24 hours.
We left the guest house the night we arrive to have dinner in Santon City at The Butcher Shop, a very large restaurant specializing in both steak and games meats. The restaurant was in an indoor mall type of space that was like a giant food court. We read later that this is very common for safety purposes. We had Eland, Ostrich, Lamb and Springbok. Some great, some good, some completely overcooked as we would find to be the norm around the country.
As we took a cab back to our guest house we noticed the cab driver roll up our back windows as we passed through certain areas, "California Stop" through certain intersections and wait right at our curb until our security guard opened the gate to our place.
The next day before heading out to pick up our rental car we walked to the cash machine and bottle shop for provisions. Again we noticed lots of security around the local mini mall and houses in the neighborhood completely surrounded by walls and barbed wire.
We didn't see much of Jo'burg but all discussed living locked in, what a bizarre feeling! I'm sure like anything you get use to it but to have to constantly think about safety and crime would be exhausting to me. We were happy to leave and pick up our rental car and get on the road to Kruger! We would each take our turns driving- on the wrong side of the road!!
Pictures of our very nice guest house are here
Coming up soon............