Travel & Culture: Dede's trip to Africa!
I know Africa is a bucket list destination for so many, it honestly wasn’t for me. But then it seemed everyone I knew was going and returned saying it was the best trip they had ever taken. When I found out Julie Cliff (retired Biology teacher from Wando turned global travel guide) was taking a group I signed up to go. It was indeed the trip of a lifetime!
We spent 2 days in Johannesburg learning the very interesting history of South Africa and Apartheid. Next was a fabulous 3-day safari at Kapama Animal Reserve. Seeing the animals up close and personal was such an exciting privilege! We had 4 days in Capetown: sunset at Table Mountain, petting cheetahs, visiting penguins at the Cape of Good Hope, a visit to Langa township and District 6 Museum, wineries & shopping along the Victoria and Albert Waterfront. The most powerful experience for me was a visit to Robben Island, akin to Alcatraz, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years. It is a miracle that he emerged from that experience with a heart to heal his country.
From Capetown we flew in a 12 seater plane to the Okevango Delta in Botswana where we “glamped” in a more remote safari for 3 more days. Here we shared the space with the wild animals. An elephant slept outside our tent, snoring loudly all night! I experienced my first hot air balloon ride over the savannah, watching the animals from above. The perfect ending to the trip was Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. The iconic Victoria Falls Hotel is 125 year old and steeped with the history and elegance of past eras.
I expected the history to be interesting and it was. I knew seeing the animals up close would be exciting, and it exceeded my expectations. What I did not expect was to feel such a heart full of compassion and love for the land and people of Africa. It has changed me in a wonderful way.