Lions & Tigers & Cheetahs … Oh My!
I recently had the trip of a lifetime when I was able to attend the South Africa Infinity Cares Educational.
We stared our journey to Perth, travelling on Qantas and they were fantastic! I have only positive things to say about about the service and the aircraft. We arrived into Johannesburg very early – 4.30am; for anyone who gets this flight it would be beneficial to book accommodation as this is a very early time to arrive.
Let me start by saying South Africa is such an amazing place and you really do get an appreciation of why its people are so passionate and attached to their home country. Johannesburg is a pretty overwhelming place. The city does live up to expectations and each suburb seems to be pretty detached and different from the next.
Our first property was the Protea Balaikia. You can easily get lost meandering though this hotels beautiful landscaped gardens, with two pool areas, a beautiful breakfast terrace and a cigar lounge (as we learnt …South Africa is all about the cigar lounges!!)
The rooms were pretty normal in size, there is a building being demolished next door and they are not due to finish until at least may of this year. This hotel has a lot of charm but it is slightly an older facade. Rooms are quite contemporary and staff are fantastic. The Sandton Shopping Centre is an easy and safe 5 mins walk.
Our first day in Johannesburg was at our own leisure where we decided to do a tour of the Apartheid Museum, which really is a must. It really is an emotive place. We also did a tour of Soweto; very interesting with great shopping and fantastic food!
The second day of touring was probably, hands down, the best day of my life! We were accompanied by a saint, Colin…, who runs a charity called One Horizon. This was where we got to prepare meals for the kids and play with them. It was amazing to see people who have nothing and have had so much hardship, be so happy. A day that really did change my outlook on life.
Wanders hotel was the next stop and what a great hotel this is. It isn’t really in the heart of anything but is easily accessible to all areas. It is located right across the road from Wanderers stadium and for those less sporty that is the home of South African cricket.
Each Protea hotel is famous for something. This one was its apples. And I have to say they serve the best damn apple juice I have ever eaten. It is a beautiful resort attached to the Wanders sport club and really is like an oasis in the middle of the city.
On our last day, we visited the Rhino and Lion Cub Park which is a zoo – like set up and a game reserve. Really good for people who have a very limited time and want to see some animals. They have lion feeding and you can pay to go and pat cubs and cheetahs at the park.
Our last night was at the Premier Hotel OR Tambo Airport. The rooms are modern but small and this hotel really didn’t fit the bill for me. Great pool area with cabanas that many a red wine was drank on but it does over look the runway so as you can imagine the serenity wasn’t that fantastic.
Next stop Cape Town…
I have heard so many good things about Cape Town and it did not disappoint. We got an afternoon of free time of which a few of us did a spot of shopping at the V and A Waterfront. This is an awesome shopping complex with every brand you could want or need and it is cheap! Cape Town is a completely different look and feel. The drive from the city to the beaches is really lovely and it reminded me a little of the esplanade on the Sunshine Coast.
We were fortunate to stay at the Protea Hotel Breakwater Lodge, which is one block back from the V and A Waterfront. Brilliant little hotel. Very modern inside but does have the old jail that is attached. Great location and staff were fantastic. Does have a frosted glass bathroom just as an FYI so shadow puppets was pretty fun!
That next morning we were up and off to do a full day Table Mountain and Wine Lands tour. This is a VERY full on day and would suggest that people do this over two days if possible to really make the most of it.
Unfortunately we did not get to go to table mountain due to bad weather but we did get to Stellenbosch and it was unbelievable. Such a beautiful little town, great shops, great restaurant and great wine! I have to say it is some of the best red wine that I have ever had.
That night we stayed at the Protea President, It is 4 star and is a great hotel, located down near Camps Bay area. We also did a site inspection on the Fire and Ice Capetown. This is a fabulous hotel with a really cool and laid back vibe. Its all about personalized customer service which I love.
Choo Choo; It was all about the Blue Train and what a fantastic experience this was. All inclusive and five star all the way. We had personalized butlers, five star meals and a bar that stayed open for us until 4am. All in all, the train was fantastic, the service was the best I have ever received and the country side was simply breathtaking.
I have tried to condense this as much as possible but there is so much more to say. In a nutshell, South Africa is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever had the pleasure of travelling to and It has truly changed me!
Written by Tiffany Inman, Infinity Holidays Consultant