Ep02 South Africa Land of Magnificent Beauty
Welcome to episode 2.
50 bright and exciting pair of senior eyes awoke to the sound of the morning wake-up call at 6 am South African Standard Time (SAST). Peter and I were early, so we stepped outside of our hotel to get some fresh air. We were greeted with two very loud birds. We wondered what sort of species they were to make such loud noise. We soon discovered they were South Africa’s Hadeda Ibis. These birds inspire both a love and hate affair with locals considering these birds to be a pest, charming oddity, or just background noise. They are somehow a loud bird that has settled into a lush niche of the Johannesburg landscape.
A video of our arrival to Johannesburg to Pretoria to Ohrigstad.
We created this video for our readers. This video shows when we flew into O.R. Tambo International Airport to Pretoria to Ohrigstad. It is the start of our epic trip and we are excited to share this video of our two days into our trip. We hope you will enjoy the video.
After being intrigued with our first south African bird encounter, we returned to join our fellow travelers to enjoy a sumptuous hotel breakfast. We then boarded the coach, all ready to explore Pretoria. Our first stop was to visit the 9-meter-tall Nelson Mandela bronze sculpture on the Union Buildings ground, Pretoria, Gauteng.
During this visit, we had a quick political immersion into South Africa. For much of the 20th century, black South Africans lived under apartheid, a government-imposed system of rigid racial segregation, with roots going back to Dutch and British colonization in the 17th century. Black South Africans could not socialize with whites, have a voice in government, or even travel outside designated areas without government permission. In 1964, Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s Founding Father, a leader of the African National Congress (A.N.C.), a group fighting apartheid, was accused of trying to overthrow the government; his activism earned him a life sentence in prison. Apartheid officially ended in 1991.
Before heading out of Pretoria, we had to witness more of the Jacaranda mimosifolia, a sub-tropical tree native to south-central Africa. We who are from Vancouver British Columbia can relate the beautiful lined streets with Jacaranda trees in full blue, purple bloom to our cherry blossom trees. Truly a beautiful sight to behold.
Our coach drove us out of Pretoria towards the beautiful landscape to our next destination near Ohrigstad. We set our eyes on our first experience of the dry, yet beautiful African landscape. We traveled approximately 400 km.
We stopped at the funkiest Udderlicious Milkshake store at Dullstroom. Here we were introduced to the South African Biltong, a form of dried, cured meat, similar to our beef jerky. Various types of meat are used to produce Biltong, ranging from beef to game meats such as ostrich and kudu. Peter had a small piece to taste but it had a strong discerning taste that took his taste palate to another level. I am not sure that he liked it, definitely not like the Beef Jerky from Costco.
Our coach driver then took a slight detour from the main road to show us the sights along the Long Tom pass. Long Tom Pass is a mountain pass situated in the Mpumalanga province, on the Regional RoadR37 between Lydenburg and Sabie (South Africa). It is named after the famous Long Tom cannon.
As we were approaching sunset, we headed to our day 2 hotel, Hannah Game Lodge off R555 towards Ohrigstad. The Hannah Game Lodge is pitched as a Gift from God. It captivates the tapestry of African sounds, smells and colors.
At the Lodge, we enjoyed a beautiful sunset and dinner, before retiring to an early night.
Summary of Day
The landscape in South Africa is both harsh and yet beautiful. The land is huge and wide. The beauty in the land is indeed God’s gift to the world. The people and cultures are uniquely kind, yet different and beautiful. The cuisine does take a bit of getting used to, especially the game meat.
It is a beautiful country to visit and we are glad we came.