In my last blog, I said that next up was South Africa....I was fortunate enough to live there for four years from 1996-2000. My husband took the US Naval Attache posting at the US Embassy. Home there was Pretoria but with the South African Navy in Cape Town many a days were spent in the Cape. Cape Town could easily be voted one of the prettiest places in the world. And as a military spouse, I highly recommend an Attache posting wherever it may be. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
South Africa is relatively young historically. In very, very, very brief terms...the first European settlement was a Dutch trading post established in the 17th century. A complex history with powers and native populations followed. ULtimeately it became a Britich Colony in the early 20th century. Close after WWII, she became independent from Britian. The newly established government, the National Party, imposed apartheid. For those that don't know, apartheid (an Afrikaans word) means separateness.
Until the realease of Nelson Mandela from jail - apartheid was in full force. Neighnorhoods were bulldozed and folks were forcibly moved to other areas. Pass laws were in place and free movement was not always permitted. In fact, folks that were caught outside of where their passbooks permitted, were arrested and in many cases jailed. The opposition movement, the ANC (African National Congress) and PAC (Pan African Congress) attempted to cause political change by both non-violent and later, violent means. Nelson Mandela was tried and convicted of treason and imprisoned and most of his term was served on Robben Island (now a powerful tourist stop and a must see).
With the "history" behind us, let me tell you about all the great things to do in South Africa - aside from taking "forever" to get there from here, it is relatively easy to navigate once you arrive. Johannesburg Airport likely is the first stop point. The majority of international flights land there. So if you chose to non- stop from the US, you will arrive, aaaahhh, about 15 hours later. It used to be the longest commercial flight, but today I believe there are a few Asian routes that trump 15 hours. While you can get to South Africa non-stop form the US, you can only go back to the US commercially with a stop -wonder why? Johannesburg is over 5000 feet sea level which "adds weight" to the aircraft -in order to take all the passengers, bags and cargo, there is a stop either on or off the west coast of Africa adding yet a few more hours to get back to the good ole USA.
Ok now that "we" are there, I hope you will read my next blog about all the great things to do, see and eat!!!