So, I just got home from school and my dad goes, “give me your passport”, I mean he didn’t take a moment to explain but I handed it over. Two days later, he gets home and goes “you have to pack a few things, we are going to South Africa for five days… and by the way, pack clothes for winter”. Now my excitement level went through the roof.
My mind raced to Table Mountain and Kruger National Park (you know all the touristy fantasy) but in all honesty I was not prepared for what I was about to experience in the short period.
My trip was occupied by sleep and the few times I found myself awake, my head was permanently stuck out of the window, just to have a clear view of the landscape (all of which were beautiful) and looking down from hundreds of thousands of feet, all I could think of was Adekunle Gold’s, ‘There is a God’. It was the most beautiful sight ever and the closer we got to South Africa, the more different it became and felt. As the sun was rising the view got better and I could see shades of luscious as well as dull greens because of the weather and expanses of what looked like hills and valleys. The cutest bit was that all the houses looked like doll houses which is my personal favorite part of flying its like being above a Barbie dream community.
So, I should point out that in all honesty, I was warned by at least 5 people that it would be cold… (I didn’t not fully research this warning…don’t be like me!). I was taught in senior secondary class 1 during Geography that South Africa is in the Tropic of Capricorn which means they have winter in June but I just assumed that because it was in Africa, it would be a bit like harmarttan, cold in the morning and then hotter as the day went on… (I was so wrong, it was so cold, I can only imagine that its similar to the weather at Castle Black before the snow finally hit).
That’s enough about the weather, we got off the plane in Johannesburg one of the capitals and it was by far my favorite immigration experience so far and here’s why, they have a lot of stereotypes about different cultures because the country is so diverse and as soon as the officer requested for our passports he went, “Oga how fa oh?” in the most South African accent ever! It was sooooo cute, we had a slight conversation while he was checking passports. He gave us a welcoming entry into the country (dear Nigerian Immigration, please learn to be friendly, I know the job is stressful but so is flying, please just smile).
We went to the other end of the airport because we had a connecting flight to Durban one of South Africa’s costal cities. Getting to Durban which is popularly known as Kwazulu-natal, I was engulfed in a very young and diverse culture. We got in during the day, so I saw a lot of green pasture which I was told were sugarcane farms. I basically spent the car ride staring out of the window like a 5-year-old being driven past an ice cream parlor. Being that I had been in airports all day, I hadn’t really gotten a sense of the cold but the second I stepped out of the car as we were going into our apartment I felt a cold chill run though me and instantly needed a hot shower.
Even though we only had 5 days, I had the pleasure of visiting 3 cities through that period. Each city had a bit of a different vibe but each was just as exciting as the next.
Durban was a beautiful coastal city with historic buildings, rich Zulu culture and beautiful beaches, Johannesburg had more of a corporate and general vibe which to me truly showed the ‘Rainbow Nation’ has every ethnicity represented and lastly Pretoria which reminded me a lot of Abuja because, it’s quiet, its high class and very pristine.
Overall, South Africa is an experience I will never forget. From the beautiful landscapes, to the breathtaking sunsets, to the pretty beaches and the most diverse and welcoming people. I legit want to start planning a return trip but maybe in December instead (a girl cannot come and die abeg).
P.S. for your viewing pleasure, here are some of the views that captivated me… with love from South Africa.
Images by ~ Koreey.