Starting with breakfast outside.
Amazing garden foliage at our hotel in the middle of the city.
After breakfast, we walked to Mandela Square. What a tribute to an amazing human being.
Our plan for the day was to see the JoBurg from the Big Red Bus. These sightseeing buses operate in large cities all over the world and we’ve found it’s a great way to orient yourself to the city. You can hop on and off all day long so it also gets you to the main tourist attractions with a running commentary throughout the ride.
We learned some things such as the real population of Johannesburg is unknown but the metro area is over 10 million. The streets in the city are relatively narrow and the blocks are short because the town wasn’t expected to last. It was established when gold was discovered in 1886 and expected to become a ghost town after the gold rush but within 10 years it was the largest city in South Africa.
The highlight of the day was undoubtedly the temporary exhibit on Nelson Mandela at the Apartheid Museum. Madiba, the clan name of Mandela, means reconciler. His extraordinary life and work are documented in this exhibit that shows above all, what one man with courage and integrity can accomplish.
Amazing sculpture made from metal strips that when viewed from the right angle reveal a bust of Mandela. Can you see it?
The Apartheid Museum is a disturbing reminder of the results of oppression and social injustice. Ultimately, however, it is also a story of hope for the future.
Visitors are randomly assigned to be white or black and enter through separate doors.
Exhibit of political executions
Casspir like those seen on a daily basis during the student uprisings in 1975
Hope for the future
We got out of Atlanta by the skin of our teeth. The flight to Johannesburg on the following day was canceled and Delta texted passengers to advise them that they could fly on the 11th if they could get there. Many appeared to have made the effort.
Meanwhile, I had selected our seats with one goal in mind…to have enough room to lay down and sleep during the 16 hour flight.
Tip: In a 3 seat row, a couple can book the aisle seat and the window seat with an empty seat between you. Normally, no one wants to book that seat between two people. Unless it’s a full flight, often that seat will remain vacant giving you extra space.
I’ve tried this before in the middle section with four seats and just before the doors closed, two people got on with those seats in our row. This time, I was sure that someone would have the seat between us because of the next day flight cancellation so imagine my surprise when the doors closed and NO ONE claimed that seat! YES!!!
Well, the result was I actually laid down and slept great and Jim even took a turn laying down to sleep as well. This 16 hour flight was less exhausting than an 8 hour flight to Europe.
Passport control and customs at Tambo, the airport in JoBurg, was quick and easy. We took Gautrain into the city and walked to our hotel which is a short distance from the train station in Sandton.
Protea Hotel Balalaika Sandton is lovely. Pictures from the lobby.
Protea Hotel Balalaika Lobby
Protea Hotel Balalaika Lobby
South African Wine