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Johannesburg, South Africa

Established in the 1886 following the discovery of gold on a farm in the area, Johannesburg is still known as "The City of Gold".  Arriving in the city, we lucked into a local woman driver, Queen, near the exit of the airport.  She whisked us off to our hotel on the opposite side of the city.  Offering to act as our tour guide for the following day, we took her up on the offer.  With only one full day in such a large city (around 4.4 million, plus millions more in the surrounding area), utilizing public transportation or an assortment of taxis or uber might be a challenge.  Her personal insights were an important part of our experience, and superior to the Red Bus Tours we had considered prior to our arrival.

With heavy jet lag after two days of long travel, our priority for the evening was dinner and sleep.  Our Holiday Inn provided a shuttle to the nearby Nelson Mandela Square, which offers a huge selection of shops and, more important for our evening, a nice variety of restaurants.  Queen had recommended The Butcher Shop, and we opted for grilled steak and pork chops from their menu.  Sleep being the second priority was soon to follow.

Picking us up the following morning, Queen shuttled us to the Apartheid Museum.  The extensive complex explains, through thousands of photos, newsreels, newspaper articles, interviews with key parties, etc., the complex history of South Africa through the 20th Century.  They masterfully illustrate how apartheid came to be, and all the horrors of it.  The visit was in a word overwhelming.  Just too difficult to grasp what had happened in this country--and not so long ago.  Nelson Mandela's contributions are covered in a separate exhibit.

After 4 hours at the Museum, we moved on to Soweto to visit the home where Nelson Mandela lived for many years.  Soweto was a township developed for blacks under the apartheid system as they were kicked out of other areas in Jo'burg.  The streets near Mandela's old home were crowded with vendors and lined with restaurants.  As a popular tourist attraction, the home provides a nice boost to the local economy.  The reverence paid to this man (with just cause) was evident on the face of almost every visitor.


Following our visit to the home, Queen suggested the Sukhumzi Restaurant for authentic South Africa fare.  We were not disappointed.  Offering the food buffet-style (for lunch), we worked our way around the room filling our plates.  The menu was lamb stew, roasted chicken, Boerewors (a type of sausage) and tripe, a selection of seasonal vegetables prepared in unique ways, polenta prepared
with pumpkin, millet-prepared two ways, multiple salad offerings and a traditional Mulva pudding.  

Roughly, 36 hours in Jo'burg, was not nearly enough to explore the city, but our priority is Kruger and we are moving on.






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