Visiting Soweto and the home of Nelson Mandela
Trip Start Aug 29, 2009
200Trip End Jul 26, 2010
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By 10am everything was sorted and we headed out to Jo’burgs CBD and turned left towards Soweto, to find the Mandela House. As we got closer we realized that finding anything in Soweto would be a difficult task simply because it covers such a vast area. There were no signs to direct us to our destination, so we simply drove on, deeper and deeper into the slums. I also forgot about the detailed map I had in the back of the card, so we simply zoomed down the windows and asked for directions
Unfortunately signposting isn’t a big virtue of South Africans, so we had to drive many extra miles to find our way. Monte Casino itself was as stunning as I remembered it
After looking in all the shops we finally when to have a Curry in one of the many food places. Even though we were starving, we couldn’t manage the large portions they served so we took the remains along and hit the road. Now we headed toward Pretoria. The N1 was very empty so we made quick progress, unfortunately we took the wrong road just before we were to arrive in Pretoria CBD and so we headed west. For miles we couldn’t turn off and when we could we thought it’s best to simply drive in via the west and have a glance on the architecture on the way. We drove along Church Street & finally parked at Church Square to stretch our legs, have a coffee and pop into the Tourist Office to ask for a nice campsite. The Tourist Office was very helpful, but we decided that Pretoria hasn’t much to offer so we wanted to continue towards Cullinan. On the way out, we got stuck in the daily rush hour. What an experience. Everyone seemed to have got into the car at the same time and roads that were perfectly clear 10 minutes ago were suddenly filled with cars. I tried to drive the car through some side roads and this way we found the Union building … just by chance. The view from up there was amazing. Then we turned around and looked for the visitor entrance. Unfortunately there was none and even more unfortunate I couldn’t stop Bella asking the security officer what this place actually is.
Time past by very quickly and so we decided to call a campsite close-by and inform them about our intention to camp there. The map first appeared to show the location of the campsite very clearly, but we missed somehow. So we continued driving east looking for a place to stay. At one point a campsite posted at the side of the street and so we followed its signs along shantytowns and lonely streets. Finally we reached the sight, but it turned out to be a campsite for youth groups. Night sat in and so we asked the security personal if it would be possible to park onsite. They were not quite sure, but eventually they let us in (reinforced by 100R payment). The place was almost totally deserted and so we decided to park next to the bathrooms and kitchen. The view remaining, staff and a small group of young man eyed us curiously and when we prepared dinner, we got to talk to each other, shared cooking utensils, exchanged coins and stories. Nature blessed us with a stunning rainbow and a bright orange sky for sunset before we finally got back into the car to fall asleep.