In my first blog about South Africa, I took you on my journey in Western Cape, in this post I will be telling you all about our incredible week in Johannesburg, 2 days of which we were at the once in a lifetime experience of Safari!
From Cape Town, we took a two hour flight to Joburg, to what felt like a completely different country as we were going from about 17 degrees to 30 degrees! We had heard mixed reviews about Johannesburg, as it is known as the business district and has a more corporate and serious feel compared to Cape Town. We were told that there isn’t much to do in Joburg and we took that as a chance for us to relax in between the safari. However, we were pleasantly surprised that there was endless things to do, again we struggled to fit it all in!
We were staying in Sandton in the Michelangelo Towers Hotel, which was connected to the Nelson Mandela Square. There were amazing restaurants and all the shops you could think of in the shopping mall which we could access straight from our hotel.
The main reason we went to Joburg, was for a conference at the Sandton Convention Centre where my dad was the closing speaker, and we were lucky to watch! My father is a financial adviser and runs his own business, Anand Associates, but on the side he travels the world giving motivational speeches and master classes all about running successful businesses in his field. It was such a great opportunity for us to travel with him this time and be able to watch give his inspiring speech.
Our safari drives were in Pilanesberg National Park, where we stayed in two different lodges and had four drives – 2 morning, and 2 evening drives as we wanted to make sure that we had enough opportunities to see as much as possible. The two lodges couldn’t have been more opposite to each other, the first lodge was Ivory Tree Game Lodge and the second was African Elegance Tented Lodge. The tented was so unique, it was essentially glamping and we had such a personal experience with the owners, there were even animals that would come and visit us now and again. We even had a South African Braai, which is a BBQ and it was delicious.
Before going on safari, it is difficult to know what to expect, obviously you want to see all the animals possible but it literally is like a gamble because you cannot predict what is going to be around the corner. The first drive was unbelievable, we saw 4 of the big 5 – leopard, lions, elephants, and rhinos!
You can’t see much in this photo, but this is a leopard in the tree with its kill ahah! This was literally the first thing we saw on the very first drive so we all got super excited! We also realised that it isn’t so obvious to see the animals even if they are right in front of you, the rangers are so experienced that it almost is an art to be able to spot animals!
We also saw some lions with its kill by the water, was so crazy to witness something that we normally watch on a David Attenborough show happen right in front of us!
We saw many giraffes and zebras, but one of the most surreal experience was seeing about a dozen giraffes all around us walking alongside some Zebras towards the water – it was like lion king during the circle of life scene but in real life!! This was on our second drive which was at 5am in the morning!
Rhinos are the rarest animal to see in the safari. But we were extremely lucky to not only see quite a few white rhinos, but also on our drive home to the lodge we saw a black rhino with its baby! Black rhinos are critically endangered animals so for us to see one was incredible, but also to see its baby was very special.
I think everyone feels happy when they see elephants, because even though they are such large animals, they seem so gentle. We saw a lot of elephants and even a few babies – they were super cute! But on the drive back to lodge, we witnessed about ten elephants including little babies walking right passed our van. When I watch back the videos I realised how this was such a once in a lifetime experience and we literally couldn’t predict any of this happening!
Going on safari was an experience I will never forget and everyone must do it, it is something that photos and videos will never give justice to. Before the trip I was worried about having to wake up for the 5am drives as I definitely am not a morning person, but the adrenaline overtakes everything and the suspense fills you with excitement. Writing this all up has made me realise that we were so lucky to see so many different animals in so many different situations, there is nothing like doing safari!
I wanted to show you my outfits from the safari too! I wanted to have various looks and I used pinterest which really helped with my inspiration. I love the tones of the safari style, mix of linen, creams and khakis, structured cuts…
My first look was this co-ord from H&M. I love the print of this outfit, and what was funny is that we used to have sofas in our old house of this exact print and colours – my family thought I made an outfit out of the sofa fabric, I didn’t even realise when I bought it!!
Mango have some of the best co-ords on the high street, and I fell in love with this one and the colour! I wanted a look inspired by the Ralph Lauren 1980s ‘Out Of Africa’ collection, but tailor it to my style. This co-ord was perfect to achieve that as it one of my favourite colours, and the structured fit of it is exactly what I wanted!
I picked up these trousers at a sample sale and they were such an amazing find! These are from Ganni and I love the print and relaxed fit especially in the safari heat. I paired this with a linen t-shirt from Zara and my h&m trainers which matched the flowers on the trousers.
My final outfit was very simple, this black linen top is from Zara and because I loved the button details I wore it back to front! I wore this with my brown linen trousers again from Zara.
The owner of the tented lodge where we were staying, kindly let me take some photos around the lodge. It had such a vintage, African, military style and feel to it that I had to take the opportunity to shoot this amazing dress that I also picked up at a French Connection sample sale! Was actually really cool to see the animals come out whilst I was taking my photos – see if you can spot them!
As mentioned in my previous South Africa blog post, I had bought a stunning African skirt and necklace which I also was super excited to take photos of in the lodge! I wish I could wear this every day, I am obsessed with the colours and print! I also bought this shirt which I have worn as a jacket, the colours are amazing!
After my photo shoot we headed back to Joburg! That evening we went to dinner in a modern South African restaurant called Marble. The food was excellent and the restaurant had a great atmosphere, would definitely recommend.
I have been loving the animal print trend, especially mixing the prints. I had so much fun putting together this outfit.
Cami – H&M
Trousers – Zara
Necklace - & Other Stories
I was so grateful to be able to travel across the world and see one of my old school friends who I hadn’t seen in ten years! Ten years ago she moved back to South Africa after living in England for a couple of years, and it was so exciting to learn about her life in SA and be able to catch up – it felt as if we had never been apart!!
We had two days left to see as much of Joburg as possible!
Luckily our last days fell on the weekend, so we could take advantage of the weekend vintage markets! The first market we visited was The Neighbourgoods Market in really trendy area of Gauteng. I loved this market, it was really busy but had such a chilled vibe with amazing street food, drinks and loads of vintage clothes and jewellery stalls.
Dress – H&M
Sunglasses – Mango
The second market we explored was the urban area of Maboneng, in downtown Johannesburg. There was so much to see in this area and I wanted to buy so many clothes – you know I love discovering unique pieces especially on holiday! As we were walking down the street looking at all the different stalls, we heard this group of boys singing, they must have been about 8-9 years old, but they were amazing! We stopped for a good 5 minutes just listening to them sing, they had so much passion, it was really special to just stand and listen to them.
Dress – Bought from Neighbourgoods Market
Sunglasses – Jeepers Peepers
Of course, we couldn’t go to Johannesburg and not see the Apartheid Museum. This was a very emotional experience, but the museum was very impressive and displayed a great representation of what happened during such a difficult time for the country and Nelson Mandela’s involvement. What was quite impactful was, initially you are given tickets which are split between Whites and Non Whites, and depending on what ticket you had meant you would go through a different entrance. This made us all realise how divided it was and the struggle people would have gone through.
I will admit that I didn’t know much about the Apartheid, but this museum was extremely insightful and I learnt a lot. It actually made me love the people of the country even more, because despite going through such a tough time, they still have such a positive outlook on everything and all have smiles on their faces wherever you go!
As I mentioned in my last blog post, everything had exceeded my expectations, and this is still true of Joburg and of course, the safari! I hope you enjoyed my blogs and photos from the trip of a lifetime!
Cannot wait to go back to South Africa, I still miss it loads!