From the moment I stepped off the plane, I was instantly mesmerized by the beauty and the unique spirit of this wonderful country. It was my deepest pleasure and honour to travel for 14 days through South Africa with Integrity Tours. We visited Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.
In Soweto, our group went to Vilakazi street, the only street in the world, where two Nobel Peace prize winners once lived, Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.
We had an outstanding guide who was born and raised in Soweto, he was extremely knowledgeable and insightful in his commentary. We visited many museums including the Apartheid Museum, Constitutional Hill, Freedom Park and Robben Island – each one of these places gave us more insights into the struggle against the apartheid regime. Some days we laughed, some days we cried, other days there was just silent reflection.
We realized in a very profound way that South Africa has emerged with such resilience and strength from its turbulent past.
Each day the experience became sweeter with more discoveries of the hidden treasures of South Africa. On our safari drive we saw elephants, giraffes, zebras and impalas – the cats were illusive but we managed to see them at the Lion Park. The natural beauty of Cape Town was unbelievable from Table Mountain to Cape Point. We were struck by the hospitality of the people, the extraordinary food and wine and the first rate infrastructure (roads, banks, hotels). Our accommodations were fantastic and each morning we were treated to a delicious and large buffet breakfast.
Off the beaten track, we visited a township where we were treated to a delicious “braii” (BBQ) of lamb chops, sausages and chicken served with the African staple of “pup” (cornmeal) and “chakalaka” (sauce). We danced to “kwaito” music under the afternoon sun. Our visit would not have been complete without a stop at a church in Cape Town where we were again welcomed by the Pastor and congregation.
I will never forget what I learned in South Africa. It is the African concept of “Ubuntu”, humanity towards others – “I am what I am because of who we all are”.
South Africa has inspired me to be a better person. I’m truly grateful for the experience.
Thanks to Ramie from Integrity Tours for taking care of us and offering insights that could only come from a proud South African!
By Belinda B.