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  • Writer's pictureCheryl Nelson

Illness Redemption World Trip: Stop #8 - JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA

Updated: Mar 23, 2023

Welcome to Africa - my 6th visited continent! We took a direct flight on Singapore Airlines from Singapore to Johannesburg, South Africa and arrived at 6am local time.

I did my research prior to the trip and decided to rent a car so we could drive to see as much as possible. Johannesburg is infamous for crime... especially 'smash & grab' at stoplights. I read to not have any valuables (purse, phone, cash, etc) visible and within reach. We stayed at the lovely Johannesburg Marriott Hotel Melrose Arch. It was in a safe area inside a gated neighborhood with hotels, shops and restaurants.

I took a brief nap and then we met out next tour guide Phillip, who drove us about an hour northwest to the Monkey & Elephant Sanctuary in Hartbeespoort, South Africa. This tour was the best of our entire trip! The elephants were rescued and have so much land to roam around. The monkeys and lemurs are in their natural habitat. We had a lot of time to interact with the animals! We got to touch the well-behaved elephants and interact with the monkeys. Ahhh, here come the photos…

It was a spectacular experience to touch the elephants! The monkeys loved playing with my hair, trying to steal my cell phone and one even showed affection by curling his tail around my arm. :). And the lemurs are adorable too!

I highly recommend a visit here! It's a well-kept sanctuary and I could tell that the keepers genuinely care about the animals.

After an afternoon with the animals, we stopped at a few local shops (bartering is a must here because one of the shop owners started at a price that I later found out was 3x more than the cost of that item at JNB airport). Glad I knew to barter! We also stopped for photos on the bridge overlooking the beautiful Hartbeespoort Dam.

Anyone who has known me long enough knows that my favorite cuisine is Ethiopian…so when in Africa, go to an Ethiopian Restaurant. We drove to a section of Johannesburg that made us feel slightly uneasy, although the hotel front desk said that neighborhood wasn’t technically considered a bad part of the city. We were the only foreigners in the restaurant (it seemed more like a locals spot), but the wait staff was nice, the food was delicious and the restaurant was playing Phil Collins (yes, I’m a sap for Phil Collins music). Oh and there was a cat hanging out in the restaurant. Doesn’t get much better than that. ;)

Stay tuned to learn where our last stop is...

*** NOTE: You won't see any photos of my immediate family because I am respecting their privacy. ***


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