Arrival in Johannesburg
Our road trip in South Africa began in Johannesburg. We secured a place to stay through Couchsurfing with some absolutely amazing hosts! Unfortunately, our flight(s) to get to Johannesburg were absolute torture. I have since learned my lesson and have been booking our preferred seat assignments so that I am not sandwiched between two large men!
Johannesburg airport is very nice (what little we saw of it.) It was suggested that we splurge and get a sim card before leaving the airport which we did. It made it easier to navigate and keep in touch with our hosts. We arrived in the afternoon, grabbed our bags, and headed to the car rental building. We chose to book with Europcar since it is a large company, and their pricing was pretty decent for what we needed. Once we got our white VW Polo we were off on the roads of South Africa. Luckily for me, Andrew is English, and he is used to driving on the “wrong” side of the road.
While we did see a few McDonald’s and a lot of KFC’s we decided to try a place called Steers for food. It looked like a nice burger place, and it didn’t disappoint. At this point though, I was so hungry, it didn’t matter how good the food tasted. The girl taking our order was incredibly nice. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten better or nicer service at any other fast food place before. I connected to wifi and contacted our hosts to let them know we had arrived, and to find out what time we should show up. We planned to meet at their house at 5:30 pm.
Did I mention we were exhausted? At this point we had been awake for 30 hours since we had woken up early the day before to tour the pyramids and we had two red-eye flights to get to Jo’burg. We slowly stuffed our faces with french fries and red meat. After all the chicken shawarmas in Egypt, burgers and fries were a nice change.
Johan and Jan
We got to our hosts’ house around 6:00 pm. We were expecting an average home in an average area. What we got was luxury! Most homes in South Africa are surrounded by fences. We use fences in the US for privacy or to keep our pets or kids in the back yards. South Africans use fences for protection and safety. There is a lot of crime in South Africa, and Johannesburg especially. Most of the fences are also electrified on top so that anyone trying to climb over them has a lot of work cut out for them.
We entered the gate and Johan and his two cute dogs greeted us. I was very happy to meet Johan, but I could only think of sleep after unloading our luggage and seeing the gorgeous,comfy bed they had prepared for us. However, common courtesy won out (my mom didn’t raise a heathen) and we sat and chatted with Johan until his partner, Jan arrived home from work.
I think I hit my 100th wind of energy and I stayed awake throughout our conversations and dinner. I am very proud of myself for not falling asleep with my head in my food. Jan is an excellent chef and made us a great meal. To finish it off he sent us to bed with a shot of clear liquor that his grandfather used to make. It was not dissimilar to moonshine in that aspect.
Our Hosts Home
Our hosts’ home was absolutely gorgeous! I don’t think I’ve seen a better example of two people’s style and taste coming together via art, furniture, and design choices. Their house was light and airy, but with touches of heavy and masculine furniture. Unique pieces of art decorated the walls and tables. There was a lovely pool in the back garden set up for entertaining and hosting braais. Pronounced BRY and the equivalent of a BBQ.
Andrew and I suspect that the reason we were told we’d be woken up at 6:30 am for breakfast just as we were walking down the hall to finally sleep is because they seem to have such valuable items in their home. I resigned myself to not having a full night’s rest again, but happy to be sleeping at all.