My 13th trip to South Africa began in New York a few days ago. We are 33 deep, with 23 flying from the west coast and 10 from JFK. Again, it was a reunion of sorts for the Kattrax family and all excited to be reunited again and eager to meet the new additions. No matter economy or business class with Emirates you’re guaranteed an exceptional flying experience. My business class entitled me to complimentary chauffeur service from my NY hotel to the airport. It was sweet.
All past years our Johannesburg hotel has been The Michaelangelo at Nelson Mandela Square but during the demic it was closed for renovation. This tour we were booked at Davinci Hotel & Suites; still 5 star, still at the Square. Dinner our first evening was at the 5 star Pigalle restaurant. Service, our handpicked menu choices and included wines were on point.
Sadly, our longtime guide Joe passed away last year. I sure miss him but happy he has passed on the baton to his son, TK. He certainly learned from the best. The Joburg city tour which included SOWETO was filled with historical facts about Mandela, apartheid, and the student Uprising of 1976. After visiting Nelson Mandela Museum, we lunched on local fare at iconic Sakhumzi and there were no complaints.
Day 2 the group visited Lesedi Village to get first hand knowledge of 5 cultural tribes which included a sumptuous buffet lunch. I opted out in order to visit the Davinci Spa to get a 90 minute full body and some foot reflexology.
Later, Carol & I had reservations at Pigalle. It was so nice, had to do it twice. After about 30 minutes in walked 7 of the ladies, and then another group of 4 strolled in. That restaurant was certainly a hit for the group.
Tomorrow, a visit to the Apartheid museum and then we will be driven to Shepherd’s Tree Game Lodge for a 2 night stay. Excitement is still high and all eager for a new experience.