I had spoken to people who had gone. I had even looked into it myself, and found that it was prohibitively expensive. So I had resigned myself to other options. Until one day, a random offer came across my email…. a relatively affordable journey that hit all the highlights (Jo-burg, Cape Town, safari’s, Victoria Falls). Too good to be true, I thought. So, I researched the hotels (looked suspiciously good ✅), checked with my South African friends (itinerary hits the highlights ✅), checked the reviews of the tour company (looked legitimate ✅)… there had to be a catch. I couldn’t find one. So, I clicked… (Gate 1 was the tour company.)
Three months later I found myself in the doctor’s office being informed of the 1000’s of ways I could die from this vacation, getting shot up with all kinds of preparatory vaccines, and getting my malarone subscription. A decidedly scary consultation which concluded with the doctor happily saying “Have a great trip!” What had I gotten myself into, I wondered? 😳
Unlike other trips we’ve taken, this would not have any element of glamour. We were warned to wear neutral clothes. I went directly to Amazon and purchased my “Ugly Safari Shirts.” Then there was the packing… we would be limited to 40lbs each and had to use a soft sided bag as we would be flying on “light aircraft.” Again, Amazon to the rescue. A bright purple rolling duffle which weighed in just under 5lbs would be my companion for the trip (no one said my bag had to be ugly). Given the extraordinarily small size of my purple bag, I was limited to just two pairs of shoes 😱. Some light sneakers and a pair of sandals. Like I said… this would be a different kind of trip…. but a gal’s gotta have her heels… so in one pair went. Surprisingly, the bag and it’s contents weighed in at just 20lbs, but sadly, there was no more room for any more shoes.
August 11, Alex and I boarded our plane… Africa or Bust! A 24 hour commute through Amsterdam and then on to Johannesburg. The days that followed would be awe inspiring. Click through to read all about it, and get some of the recipes inspired by this journey.
- Getting there
- The Zambezi River & Victoria Falls
- Chobe National Park, Botswana
- Okavango Delta, Botswana
- South Africa- Jo-burg & Cape Town
Every preconceived notion I had of Africa was wrong. It was not dry, it was full of water. It was not hot, it was perfect weather. It was not scary, it was friendly. And that tour company… definitely no catch. I’d highly recommend Gate 1.
I hope you enjoy these reflections and recipes. But more importantly, I hope you put this on your travel list.