It seems like this blog is becoming all about travel. While that is not my intention it is one of my favorite things to do and I think it’s something everyone can appreciate. I hope. In February I fulfilled a dream I have had for more than a decade….going to Africa. My first trip to Africa started off in Capetown & and then to Johannesburg. South Africa was gorgeous, especially Capetown, the sea, the city, Table Mountain, and of course the wine and coffee…which were the best I have ever tasted. This trip was relatively quick totaling 10 days, but it gave us a good hint of South Africa and left us wanting more. Africa is huge, massive, so my list of places to visit still has about 13 other African countries. Flying to Africa is not cheap by any means so I’m thinking a visit every two years will satisfy my Motherland urges.
This trip we stayed at the lovely Three Cities Mandela which was perfectly located in the City Center. Its location is ideal for public transportation, and walking distance to restaurants, shops, museums, cafes….anything and everything. The hotel itself is quite awesome, we stayed in a corporate suite with a spectacular balcony view of Table Mountain. There is a popular, adorable walkway at the rear of the hotel that many locals flock to during lunch on weekdays. We were lucky enough to visiting during a week that they were having somewhat of a food festival featuring many food vendors. So that’s my suggestion of where to stay and the rest of the trip is up to you!
After Capetown, we headed north to Johannesburg, which is so different from Capetown. Jo’burg is a city, a true city, it reminded me a lot of home (NYC). In both cities we experienced a warm welcome from friends that lived there…that always makes a trip a bit nicer. Like minded locals always know where the good food is, the cool places to hang out, and the must see spots. Upon arrival we were met at local outdoor happy hour spot around a pool, in an urban area that seems to be experiencing a revitalization, Maboneng. The first thing I noticed was the fabulous fashions, everyone had their own vibe an creative energy, it was like how I imagine Brooklyn would be today, without gentrification. The energy is amazing!
As you know, apartheid recently ended in South Africa, but the effects are very noticeable in both cities. Mandela is highly regarded and his face is depicted everywhere, seeing so much love for him and his vision was empowering. I highly recommend a visit to the Apartheid Museum in Jo’burg, and give yourself plenty of time to emerge yourself in the experience.
On our way to South Africa, we had a scheduled 2 hour layover in Abu Dhabi, a connection we did not make (for no apparent reason, 100% Etihad Airlines doing). The layover was almost a full day, so we used this time to explore Abu Dhabi which was interesting and much like I anticipated. One spot we visited was the Sheikh Zayed Mosque (we didn’t have time to wander far because we had a plane to catch). While it was cool to visit Asia and Africa in one trip, I must say, I’ll probably never visit UAE again. It just isn’t my cup of tea, it seemed to shiny, to new, to rich, and a little “make believe”. Everyone we encountered was nice enough and the Mosque is gorgeous, I just prefer a different type of destination. To each their own.