South Africa and Gondwana Nature Reserve
There is something special about Africa that you never really feel until you are in it. You can almost feel that you are close to the birthplace of mankind, and there's something completely enchanting about that. I flew into Cape Town in December of 2021, which proved very difficult due to the emerging Omicron variant of the Coronavirus. Our initial flights were canceled, but we were able to make it on a United flight out of New Jersey.
We spent the first few days in Cape Town near the V&A Waterfront. It was a lively area in the harbor with wonderful restaurants, street performers, and a Ferris wheel. We had a wonderful view of Table Mountain from the hotel. We went to an aquarium near the area and walked a little way into the city as well.
After a few days in Cape Town, we went to the airport to take a regional jet to George. When we got to George, we rented a car to drive almost an hour to Gondwana Game Reserve, an amazing safari and nature park where we were spending the week. The drive was definitely frightening, as they drive on the left side of the road in South Africa. The car we had rented was a stick shift, so I was sitting on the right side of the car with the gearshift on the left side and all the gears were backward from how they are in the states. It is a lot of moving parts to keep track of. Although the drive was intimidating, it was definitely worth it for what was at the end of the road.
Gondwana Game Reserve was completely luxurious. We stayed in a Kwena Lodge, a traditional African-style home, from which we had two daily safaris to see wildlife. Our guide, Felix, was absolutely incredible and very knowledgeable about the plant and animal life within the park.
When we were on safari, we were privileged to see many baby animals, as it was baby season. We saw baby impalas, wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, and lions. I also saw a lot of cool bugs such as dung beetles and totally metal-looking crickets and spiders. The wildlife was amazing, and if you know me you know I am extremely passionate about seeing animals in their natural habitat, so every day felt like a dream I never wanted to wake up from. It was a truly moving experience. If you ever get the opportunity to go on safari, please take it. It may change how you look at life forever.