November 23, 2017

My trip to Johannesburg & Cape Town

This November I got to travel to South Africa for work and managed to carve out time to discover the city and meet some incredible people.

I stayed in Sandton, a wealthy suburb of JoBurg where many corporations are headquartered. I found out very quickly just how early the city goes to sleep when I entered Checkers Hyper at 8pm and they were prepping to close up for the day.

The markets in JoBurg had a fantastic energy to them, it's a shame they only really open once a week.

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One of my favorite moments in JoBurg was in Braamfontein. I'm a big fan of acoustic music and met this guy singing Bob Marley's "Don't worry about a thing" outside a coffee shop. Coincidently, that coffee shop served the meanest in-house bean to coffee cup I've had.

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You can't see all of South Africa until you learn about its darker past. The atrocities committed during Apartheid has left the country with deep scars that are only beginning to very slowly heal. Depending on who you talk to, that might be accurate or overly generous.

To see for myself how black prisoners were treated around the time I was born, I went to Constitution Hill.

Here I learned how Passbook offenders were imprisoned for months. Their crimes were as simple as being in a white area after permitted hours.

The prisons were not what you'd think of when you think of a normal prison. Thousands of humans were forced to use around 4 showers, bathrooms were undersupplied and overflowed often, men were made to dance nude to inspect for hidden items on their body, solitary was used often and harshly.

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Johannesburg is the largest manmade forest in the world. With millions of trees planted hundreds of years ago, the city looks incredible around spring.

 

Cape Town

Oh Cape Town, how pretty you are!

I took the City hop-on/hop-off tours which are great value and cover a great deal of the city in just a couple days.

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Here on Long Street I had the most delicious Hot Chocolate at Honest cafe.

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The best way to see table mountain is to hike up the Platteklip Gorge. It takes 2.5 hours; I'd recommend carrying water and snacks. Go up on a Sunday when many locals are climbing up too, that way you can ask for help if you need it.

And when you finally make it up, you'll be rewarded with this view. Ofcourse, in classic Cape Town fashion, the sky changes every minute.
It's even more spectacular IRL.

And back to the desert.