A taster of Southern Africa – Johannesburg & Livingstone

Daralyn Danns is a journalist, and can be found on Twitter under the handle @daralynstravels. Enjoy this post about her recent trip to Johannesburg and Victoria Falls.

Victoria Falls from the air, courtesy of Daralyn Danns

It’s Tuesday and we are having lunch at Sakhumzi, a bustling restaurant in Soweto’s Vilakazi Street – once home to Nelson Mandela. Afterwards we piled into Lebo’s tuk-tuk for a guided tour. We passed through the township’s poor parts as well as wealthier areas. The children stole my heart. All they wanted was to say hello. One little boy jumped into my arms for a hug. So cute!

Mpulo Street, courtesy of Daralyn Danns

Travelling with my friend Ntsiki Mpulo was great as she not only works for South African Tourism but she also has connections with Soweto. Mpulo Street, she casually mentioned as we drove down it, was named after her grandfather, who was the principal of the school where the Soweto 1976 uprising began. Suddenly, all we had seen earlier at the Apartheid Museum became real.

Afterwards, we went back to our hotel, The Westcliff ‒ an oasis of tranquillity in Joburg ‒ for a sundowner before setting off for an enjoyable dinner at Auberge Michel, one of South Africa’s top restaurants.

The next day we headed for Zambia to see the Victoria Falls, one of the seven wonders of the natural world. Mosi-oa-Tunya, the local name for the falls, translates as The Smoke that Thunders. It’s spot on. Our first sighting was from a boat going along the Zambezi to the Royal Livingstone where we were staying.

The hotel had a colonial feel. It was like stepping back in time to a bygone era. On the banks of this renowned river, with the falls in the background and surrounded by the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Wildlife Park, made it one of the most stunning hotel settings I have seen. We saw many wild animals including monkeys and zebras as well encountering a giraffe outside our rooms. We also went for an elephant ride. That was an experience!

As Vic Falls were at their lowest flow, we could get close up and see the gorges. We spent time walking alongside this roaring sheet of water before going to Livingstone Island on the edge of the falls. A must is a swim in Devil’s Pool, literally right on the brink of the falls. The natural rock wall stops you falling. Flying over the area in a helicopter enabled us to see Mosi-oa-Tunya from the Zimbabwean side as well. This waterfall I will remember forever!

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