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Trip Start May 03, 2011
Trip End May 10, 2012

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Where I stayed
Carolīs Swanky Pad

Flag of South Africa  , Gauteng,
Friday, March 23, 2012

Johannesburg also known as Jozi, Jo'burg or eGoli, is the largest city in South Africa, by population. Johannesburg is the provincial capital of Gauteng, the wealthiest province in South Africa, having the largest economy of any metropolitan region in Sub-Saharan Africa. The city is one of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the world, and is also the world's largest city not situated on a river, lake, or coastline. It claims to be the lightning capital of the world, though this title is also claimed by others.

While Johannesburg is not one of South Africa's three capital cities, it is the seat of the Constitutional Court, which has the final word on interpretation of South Africa's new post-Apartheid constitution. The city is the source of a large-scale gold and diamond trade, due to its location on the mineral-rich Witwatersrand range of hills.

According to the 2007 Community Survey, the population of the municipal city was 3,888,180 and the population of the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Area was 7,151,447. A broader definition of the Johannesburg metropolitan area, including Ekurhuleni, the West Rand, Soweto and Lenasia, has a population of 10,267,700. The municipal city's land area of 1,645 km2 (635 sq mi) is very large when compared to other cities, resulting in a moderate population density of 2,364 /km2 (6,120 /sq mi).

We decided to drive from Cape Town to Joburg even though the 14 hour drive did seem a little bit daunting. We set off early and drove through the Western Cape, Northen Cape, Karoo and Free State. The scenery was magnificent and totally "Africa", as you would expect. The roads were pretty clear of other cars and so were able to fully enjoy the scenery on our long drive. The only annoying thing was the amount of roadblocks due to road maintenance. This must have added an additional 2 hours onto our journey.

We arrived in Vanderbijlpark quite late to visit Robīs family (ma, pa, Susie & Gethyn) for the night. After a good sleep and a hearty breakfast we set off for central Joburg and headed to Susie and Gethynīs place. South Africa has been all about the dogs with BiBi and Dex (James and Fiīs dogs) in Cape Town and Pacman and Vesper (Susie and Gethynīs dogs) in Joburg. Pacman and Vesper are also very cute and a little bit mischievous too so we played with the dogs for a while and caught up with Susie and then set off to spend the afternoon at Johannesburg Lion Park. We didnīt have high expectations for this park but it blew the three of us away. It was a total bargain for about €15 each. We got to play with the cutest little lion cubs and feed the giraffes who took a fair bit of coaxing to come over but eventually they did and tickled our hands with their long slimy tongues. The park was a kind of reserve as the animals were not in cages but instead in huge green areas which we were able to drive round. The lions were fantastic and you could tell they were really looked after well as they looked so healthy and the white lions were so clean with beautiful manes. All of the animals looked healthy and happy with none of the pacing that can happen when they are cooped up in zoos.

After the Lion Park we headed over to Carolīs where we were staying for the rest of the time in Joburg. It was great to see Carol again and lots of hugging and kissing followed. She looks great and clearly life in Joburg agrees with her. It is not surprising as she has a massive house with a swimming pool and sun terrace to enjoy those long days of sunshine. We had a quick catch up and then it was straight out for dinner and drinks with lots of Robīs old friends Carol, Susie, Gethyn, Saskia, Julia, Jeremy, Sheena, Rob, Lee & Jamie. I think we probably bored the pants off everyone with our tales of the world and not working for a year.

The next day was full of more catching up as we visited Sean, Ruth and Mikey who have recently moved back to SA from London. Mikey is a real cutie and he kept us entertained as only a 2.75 year old can. Next we went to see Sheenagh and Rob as we had not seen their little ones the night before. They have two little kids, Georgina and Christopher. Mikey, Emily, Georgina and Christopher are officially the most gorgeous kids in the whole world. Not just totally cute but also really sweet personalities to match. Rob and I spent hours playing with George and Christopher and we had a total blast. Who knew that eating pretend toast and cooking on a pretend cooker in a Wendy house could be so much fun.

The socializing continued on Sunday as Rob went to his momīs 60th birthday dinner and Nick went to see some movies. We then both caught up with another of Robīs best friends from London, Daabs. We had missed her on Friday night as she was in Zimbabwe and so it was lovely to see her and hear all of her news over coffee. She looked fantastic and happy, probably something to do with her being “loved up” with a dairy farmer.

Monday was the first day that we got to relax and chill out and we just lazed about the house and then went into Sandton and caught another movie. Monday night was a braai with Carolīs family (Janet, Cyril, Rob, Mariska & Paul Brett) and we had a real hoot with Carolīs mom who is seriously funny and had us in total stitches. It was a lovely end to our few days in Joburg.

We have had such a fantastic time in South Africa this time. It has been amazing spending time with Robīs mom and dad, Susie and Gethyn and Fi, James, Carol (& family), Belinda, Mike, Daabs, Sheena, Rob, Sean, Ruth and all of Robīs other chums. It goes without saying that after such an amazing few days Joburg scores a massive 10/10 on our tripometer.
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