26 hours of flights and connections and over 8,000 miles. Well worth it for a place that I had no idea I would fall in love with every part of. Having been to Ghana and Togo before, my framework of Africa was tainted in a way that I never realized.
When I thought of Africa, I thought of flat, vast, and wide open spaces with sparsely scattered trees and shrubs; much like my previous experience. On the approach into Cape Town, my whole perspective changed.
We stayed in the city center of Cape Town, surrounded by sky scrapers. Table Mountain was on one side of us and the Atlantic Ocean was on the other.
Touring the capes around the southern tip of the continent supplied us with the most stunning mountain and ocean views. The mountains were shear. Rising to over 4,000 feet right along the coast. It seemed that at almost every turn I was left awestruck and amazed.
From Cape Town, we traveled to some of the most well-respected appellations in the world; Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, and Paarl. Sprawling vineyards with mountainous backdrops surrounded us while we visited top wineries and enjoyed some of the best wines and cheeses in the world.
For the end of our trip, we traveled to Kruger National Park where we spent 3 days on different safaris. A zoo does no justice for the animals we encountered. The experience of being 10 feet from an animal that can kill you without even trying - with no cage to stop them - is exhilarating, yet somehow tranquil. The Big 5 (lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards, buffaloes) along with giraffes, wild dogs, and hippos did not disappoint. Seeing the animals in their natural was a moment that I'll carry with me for the rest of my life.
South Africa is a destination that should be on everyone's bucket list. You will see all levels of social class and vastly different ecosystems all within the same country. For now, I believe South Africa to be the most beautiful place in the world and my Prime Adventure.
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