Thursday, June 6, 2013

Got a Tee Shirt: Johannesburg, South Africa

I'm home and I am dragging ass.  We arrived home yesterday, had a good nights sleep, and am trying not to take a nap.  Hopefully, this won't be too incoherent...
First stop Johannesburg:
Because of wanting to use airline points (wouldn't have happened without them) and the actual start of our Rwanda/Uganda tour, we arrived on a Friday evening after a 15 hour flight straight from Atlanta.  Uneventful thankfully but still a real energy zapper.  Now of all places I do not want my hotel to forget to pick me up it's got to be anywhere in Africa.  Guess what?  Everyone was most helpful but come to find out my concierge at the Westcliff dropped the ball on every plan I made with him.  Fortunately, I was so tired I really didn't give a shit.  When we arrived at the hotel my new concierge took care of everything and comped the transfers....we also got upgraded to junior suites (both rooms).  Hubs and my suite had two full baths.  Which is a good thing because I always forget how much Hunter poops :)
View of Downtown Joburg
Now a sidebar:  I have mixed emotions on zoos.  I do understand the need for conservation and education.  Not everyone can actually afford to see animals in their natural environment.  I do believe both my family developed a love for animals from our local zoos as children.  However,  I also realize how stressful and unnatural zoos are for the animals.
The following day (Saturday) we rested.  The Johannesburg Zoo was a five minute walk from the hotel so we decided to go.  It was a huge and quite lovely zoo.  Some of the animals looked quite stressed (polar bears - haven't seen one in years).  They actually did a nice job overall.  I was quite surprised to find horses and cows displayed but then, why not.  We also discovered chip on a stick.  We ate dinner in the Mellrose Arch district at Pigalle.
Remember what I said above about my husband?  Early Sunday morning, say 1:30 AM, he decided to lose his lower intestine.  For several hours.  Sigh?  We had made plans to visit Lion Park at 11:00AM and we kept them.
New sidebar:  Lion Park does breed lions but they do not "knowingly" sell to the canned hunting businesses.  The cubs in the Cub World are kept for one year.  They would not tell me what happens to them afterwards.  I do believe they are sold.  The other lions, when too old or problems start to arise, are sent to a game reserve to live out the rest of their lives.
Feeding Time

Big Daddy.  There were also two sub-males.  Big Daddy surveyed who had what then went over and took one from one sub-male, I'll call him Bob.

He decided he liked what the other sub-male, I'll call him Lou, had also.

Now he had two.

Beautiful female with cubs in background.

Ok.  Lou is looking for a replacement leg and liked what the mothers and cubs were feeding on.

One chick grabbed some meat and the cubs.  The other, I'll call her Sue, was pissed.

She is really mad now.

Lou got some meet but also a new scar.  Big Daddy never even looked up from his meal.

Stink eye!

Baby calms her down

Cub World was awful!  They had two pens, three cubs each.  Maximum eight people were allowed in each pen for two minutes max.  Not sure how many people a day but it was crowded.  Made me feel ashamed that I was supporting this.  They were cute though.

A true fashionista!
Originally, we were to leave Joburg Monday at 3:30PM.  Life is never easy.  They cancelled our flight and rescheduled us for Monday at 1:15 AM.  Yes, I said AM.  Another friggin night of no sleep!  But we were headed to Rwanda and the start of our adventure...


  1. Blue Booby you're so funny, I am loving this travelogue! Those lions are something.

    1. They were very exciting to watch. I am always amazed how big they are.

  2. welcome back! love the pics of the lions! Amazing shots! I hear you about zoos and have the same mixed emotions! Yay for suite upgrade!

    1. We were told the Westcliff was just bought by Four Seasons and will shut down and go through a major overhaul.

  3. You went to South Africa? Although my citizenship is Australain I was born there. Much like your zoo emotional conflict I have an RSA conflict. My Mother is half Mauritian but we had to hide that because of apartheid. There was bribe paid to the people who wrote my birth certificate recorded me as white. However never trust a bribe taker they messed up the spelling of my mothers name which caused all kinds trouble when I returned to Australia. It's a beautiful country which I have life of pi like memories of ie. not sure if they are real, exaggerated or dreamed up. I would love to take my kids there as a latte coloured person. Sorry to hijack your post with a long story but the mention of South Africa takes me down memory lane not mention calling Johannesburg Joburg.

    1. We have only been to Joburg and Kruger National Park (4 years ago). I hear Cape Town is beautiful but more like a European city than Africa. Johannesburg is growing...I think the Chinese are moving in is the impression I got. Last time we went, we stayed in the Rosebank area and were told NOT to leave the hotel by the doorman. This year we ventured out around our hotel and felt very safe. There is just a huge difference between the haves and have nots...not much middle class. Have never seen so many Ferraris, Mazeratis, etc. I find your story very enlightening and am so glad you shared.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Commentors regret: Thanks for being gracious, I tend to waffle on but never fear I have attached a post note to my brain saying 'just because a thought pops into your head doesn't mean you have to type it out in comments.'

    4. regrets. Your comments, insight, stories, bitches, whatever are always welcome :). Always love a woman who speaks their mind and shares their stories.

  4. Fabulous looking trip. I whole heartily agree about the joys of double bathrooms. It keeps things so much friendlier. Sorry to here about a hubs "problem" there. The lions are wonderful. The babies must be so stressed in these pens. Gotta love those flight delays. It contributes to the glamour of traveling, don't you think?

    1. I do believe I am finally over jet lag. Now I just need to get through the malaria pills.