Johannesburg, South Africa
I arrived in Joburg (as the locals call it because I think they get tired of trying to remember how to spell). I have decided to do a tour through the Southern part of Africa, starting in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, working my way through Botswana and Namibia and eventually down to Cape Town. The trip was to leave a week after I arrived in Joburg so I had to figure out what to do for the week. My first order of business was to obtain my visa for India which is my next stop on the journey. From my research it can take a week and since that is all I had before I left South Africa I was hoping it was enough. I arrived too late on Friday to get to the India Embassy in town so I had to hang out at the hostel for a couple of days. On the advise of the hostel owner I decided to stay Saturday and take a Soweto (South Western Township tour) and then take a bus down to the coastal city of Durban on Sunday because I found that I could also get the visa in Durban (large Indian population there) and see another part of the country. As Joburg is not really safe and it would have cost as much taking taxis in and out of the city as it was to get to Durban I welcomed the change of itinerary.
The Soweto tour was a 1/2 day guided tour of the downtown Joburg area and Soweto. The tour was done by a knowledgeable guide that had grown up in Soweto and understood all the ins and out of Apartheid. It is still amazing that people are still living in these townships, some without running water or electricity as they did during the Apartheid rule.
On the tour we also visited Nelson Mandela's house, drove by Winnie Mandela's and Bishop Tutu's house, all located within Soweto. We also visited the Hector Peterson Museum which commemorates many that were killed during the uprisings in South Africa is the 1960's.
I took an all day bus down to the coastal town of Durban. The landscape on the way was beautiful and it was a nice long ride. I arrived at a wonderful "backpackers" (hostel) and was happy to call it home for the next 5 days. I started the week attempting to get my visa for India and was told it might be ready for my departure on Friday, but then it might not. I was hoping for the first. Then I wandered around the downtown Durban area. A big town, with some seedy spots I was told to stay away from and I heeded that advise. The next few days turned out to be overcast and raining so I did not have the opportunity to visit the beaches as I had hoped, but instead spent my time inside a couple of large shopping malls drinking coffee and seeing a couple of movies. All is all it was a relaxing few days. Then I went to the visa office and although it was not ready whey I first got there, I smiled a lot and she took care of it pretty much on the spot which cleared for me to leave and go on my trip.
Select another page || Go to Home Page