Greetings from South Africa - a short trip reportAuthor: gardkarlsen (More Trip Reviews by gardkarlsen)
Date of Trip: March 2008
Here is a short travel "teaser" from South Africa. My wife and I are here in Johannesburg to visit family but we have also had some time for some tourist activities as well.
We had a few days in Cape Town and I can really recommend that. It is a beautiful city and it reminds me a bit of Norway with the mountains, ocean and beaches. In the Cape Town area we rented a car for a day to drive around on the Cape peninsula, we took a tour of the wine lands (Stellenbosch, Paarl etc) and we got to taste some wine along the route, we took a trip up to Table mountain, we took a walking tour in the downtown area where we followed in the foot steps of VOC.
In Johannesburg we have also had some time to play tourists. Yesterday we took a trip down in the Cullinan diamond mine. This mine is still in full production and this is where the worlds largest diamond of 3106 ct was found It was very cool to be in a mine that is still in production and we met people working there and we got to check out the lowest level of 763 meters below the ground.
South Africans are big on beer and we went downtown to get a tour at SAB (South African Breweries). Their tour is called World of beer and you get info about tradition, making of beer...and you get a couple of beers at the end of the tour of course. SAB also owns and makes Miller beer if I'm not mistaken.
Outside Joburg you can find the Sterkfontein caves. Here they have found fossils and remains that shows that humans have been around for a long time in South Africa. They have also created a new center called Maropeng where they try to give you an overview about the origin of life and it was pretty well laid out.
When on vacation you should also relax. So the other day we took a trip to a spa in the middle of town. The place is called Mangwanani (see www.mangwanani.co.za) and we got a full day spa from 9 am to 5 pm and we were rubbed, scrubbed, massaged etc...with some breaks to get some drinks and snacks of course. The price was 950 Rand per person...120 USD. For a Norwegian this is extremely cheap.
The price level here in South Africa is great for a Norwegian. The South African Rand has gotten weaker to the Norwegian Krone which is good for us as visitors. The other day we went to a restaurant called Linger Longer and it is on the top 10 list of restaurants in South Africa. The meal cost of 120 USD and that was including a bottle of good wine. Even at very nice restaurants you can find a bottle of wine starting at 15 USD
Well, I hope that this have give a little impression of our stay in South Africa. If you are going to Johannesburg I would like to recommend that you rent a car as it makes it so much easier to get around. I brought a GPS this time and it made it a lot easier to find stuff. Yes, they do drive on the "wrong" side of the road and their driving culture is different but it is not a problem to adapt.
Johannesburg is often referred to as the most dangerous city in the world. We have not had any problems but we keep hearing about break ins, smash and grab from cars etc. So if you come here...use common sense and follow the recommendations and hopefully you will not experience anything bad.
I will post more info with pictures and links on my homepage.
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