Touch down SA! Gavin and I arrived in Johannesburg and spent an amazing 10 days in this beautiful country. We stayed at the African Pride Hotel in Melrose Arch while in Johannesburg before heading on safari. It was enclosed in a gated community with lots of shops and amazing restaurants. Let me not forget that the hotel itself was beyond incredible. On our first day of exploring we visited Nelson Mandela's home in Soweto! COOL.
"It always seems impossible until it's done."
Celebrating Dayne & Danielle
One of the main reasons for heading to SA was to celebrate the marriage of Gavin's best friend. It was a very intimate wedding set in this beautiful garden. Basically what wedding dreams are made of.
The Lion Park
edit. May 30th, 2015
Since I've shared this post, many people have come to me with information about The Lion Park contributing to the canned hunting industry. Had I known about this when I took my trip back in March, I perhaps would've thought twice about visiting the park. I hope my readers realise that my intention is not to promote canned hunting in any way. There are probably MANY tourists like myself that are unaware of this which is unfortunate. I certainly do not advocate the aforementioned industries.
If you read through the rest of this post you will see that I spent multiple days in a reserve, where they go to considerable lengths to proactively conserve and protect these incredible animals. If you are traveling to South Africa and want to view their beautiful wildlife I highly recommend visiting that type of sanctuary!
African Pride Hotel at Melrose Arch
When I said this hotel was incredible, I really meant it. You can actually sit in the pool and eat lunch / drink as many daiquiris as you want all at the same time. Then you can sit your bum right on one of these cabana lounges for hours! #bliss
Into Town - Johannesburg
Heading into town to see the art and food markets in Maboneng Precinct. There were lots of street vendors with handmade goodies as well as art galleries and food stands. I was lucky enough to snag a one of a kind pair of gladiator sandals made by the lovely man in the photos above!
Cheetah Plains Game Reserve, Sabi Sands
Words can't even describe the last bits of our trip.
Firstly, we were pulled over and bribed by the cops, then found out google maps doesn't work well in rural Africa and got lost for about 2 hours. This is when I experienced my first panic attack ever! Woo!
We drove about 8.5 hours out of Joburg to Sabi Sands where we were finally greeted by such an amazing crew at the Cheetah Plains private game reserve. All of my life I have dreamt of going to Africa and seeing big cats in the wild on safari and the actual experience was far better than I could've ever imagined. If this is something you're interested in doing I highly recommend Cheetah Plains. Our guide was unbelievably talented and truly one with the land. He tracked every animal we wanted to see and then even got us up close and personal with a leopard that had just made a kill.
After our morning and evening drives we were served an enormous meal. At night, they cooked around a fire pit and we casually ate as elephants walked passed.
There's something about being in the bush that in indescribable. It's like your vision has become slightly tinted red, and your sense of smell picks up on this incredible burnt bush smell. The animals roam in the wild and watching them go about their life is just so peaceful.