South Africa 2001

My first trip to this amazing country was in 2001. I can still remember my first thoughts, after just a few hours in Johannesburg – “This must be the Europe of Africa.” I was amazed at the well-developed infrastructure, as the city streets gave way to the vast landscape known as the Bushveld. There were huge airports, glossy home decorating magazines, traffic lights, highways, chain restaurants and then…the Big Five. What? This, ALL of this is Africa?

Just weeks before I was building houses in Zambia as part of a Habitat for Humanity Global Village team. After the build, the team took an R&R trip to South Africa. This was no Zambia.

We spent a couple days touring Johannesburg and then went to (perhaps the lesser known, yet equally spectacular) Pilanesberg National Park, for a classic African safari – albeit about a 7 out of 10 on the luxury scale. This was no Zambia.

I say that because you can spend next to nothing by camping and driving your way through some of these parks or you can spend thousands of dollars a night lazing the days and nights away in the lap of utter-goose-down-caviar-Champaign-want-for-nothing luxury. Just a two-hour drive from Johannesburg, we arrived at the Bakubung Bush Lodge, which did not disappoint. At the time of this writing (September 2014) I checked and Bakubung is alive and well and I’m sure you will love it too!

What an intro to South Africa.

On my second trip in February 2104, however, South Africa took center stage…

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