Starting Off Our Nature Reserve Tour

Johannesburg Travel Blog

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What a wonderful day! Wow… I truly am so fortunate. I was walking today into a souvenir shop after having just been about a foot away from a group of elephants and thought to myself, “Wow! That was awesome.” I looked at Connie and said, “Connie we’re in South Africa!”

This morning, Connie and I got up super early and went to breakfast at the hotel. We then waited for our tour guide to come pick us up to take us to the Sun City and Pilanesberg Nature Reserve tour. We were sitting there by the front of the hotel when the bell man waved us over to tell us our guide had arrived. Connie and I walked over and there was a super tall, thin man standing there in a unique looking outfit.

At Pilanesberg National Park
He looked like a total character. He was incredibly friendly and welcoming. His name was Edgar. He had two “students” with him that had just passed their Tour Guide Certification sessions and were now interning with his company to obtain some practice experience. The two young men were in their mid 20s. Their names were Sabelo and Bantu.

“Sabelo” means a privilege that was given to a mother. “Bantu” means crop that needs to be grown (I think I got that right… sometimes the accent makes it hard for me to understand). We hopped in the van and the first question they asked us was about President Obama. They spoke highly of President Obama and told us that a lot of South African people could relate to him and were happy he won the election.

Our tour guides, Bantu, Edgar, Sabelo and me
Then Sabelo pulled out his MP3 player to play a house music mix with Obama’s Inauguration speech mixed in. It was so neat. The 2.5 hour ride up to the Pilanesberg Nature Reserve was great. We learned a lot. Connie and I asked a ton of questions about South Africa, the people, the culture, the language, etc. They were so responsive to our curiosity. They liked the fact we were asking so many questions. They asked us questions too. They were extremely curious about the politics in the USA and about Americans’ feelings regarding 9/11. Connie and I told them what we were doing when the 9/11 events occurred and shared our feelings with them.

The tour guides told us about historical events in South Africa. Edgar told us that one of the biggest problems Johannesburg is faced with is the influx of immigrants for neighboring countries, such as Somalia and Mozambique.

Wilderbeast
The immigrants come here and build informal communities and that causes the crime rate to increase and other problems. Connie and I asked them about the Informal Houses around the Orlando Stadium. They clarified the Orlando Stadium will be used for training and practices, and Soccer City will actually be used for the Finals of the World Cup. They also stated that people living in the informal houses surrounding the Orlando Stadium had previously been moved to better establishments, because the government was trying to clear up that area, but new people were moving in there, hoping the government would move them into better housing, as well (smart thinking). The three of them explained to us the difference between Quarter Camps and Informal Settlements. Quarter Camps are houses with no water, no sanitation, no electricity, but the people in Quarter Camps are put on a government list to obtain better housing. The Informal Settlements are similar but the people in Informal Settlements cannot be put on a waiting list for government housing (some because of immigration status).

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At Pilanesberg National Park
At Pilanesberg National Park
Our tour guides, Bantu, Edgar, Sab…
Our tour guides, Bantu, Edgar, Sa…
Wilderbeast
Wilderbeast
Zebra
Zebra
Giraffes
Giraffes
Giraffes
Giraffes
An elephant
An elephant
Elephants coming towards our car
Elephants coming towards our car
Crossing the road
Crossing the road
Watch out for the elephants
Watch out for the elephants
Sun City statues
Sun City statues
At Sun City
At Sun City
At Sun City
At Sun City
Connie and Veronica at Sun City
Connie and Veronica at Sun City
At Sun City
At Sun City
At Sun City
At Sun City
A view of Johannesburg from a dist…
A view of Johannesburg from a dis…