Safari Dreamin'

My trip to South Africa was everything I could have asked for. I visited the Mandela Family Museum located in Soweto, just outside Johannesburg, and then flew on to Sabi Sands where I stayed at the Ulusaba Private Game Reserve.

A loud “thump” on the roof of my hut at 4:30am welcomed me to Sabi Sands, a private game area in South Africa. Nervously, I turned my eyes toward the glass doors leading outside to possibly get a glance of what was dropping on the roof above me and screamed when I saw what had to be 30 baboons staring in at me from the other side. Sure, I was safe with the locked doors between us, but uncomfortable nonetheless to have a bunch of baboons (literally!) watching as I got dressed for breakfast.

Going on safari is a magical experience. Some days I witnessed elephants playing in their watering holes, other days, a pride of lion cubs scampering around the African landscape. And the sunsets…hard to describe how beautiful they really are. Safari drives start at 5:30am with breakfast served while on the road (and I use the word “road” loosely). In the evening, drives begin at 5:30pm complete with a fully stocked bar to toast those sunsets. Perhaps the most memorable would be watching a leopard named Makwela call out for her cubs to come share some of her freshly killed dinner. Be warned…safari is not for the faint of heart. Click here to see pictures of this once in a lifetime experience!

Where to Stay:

In Johannesburg:
Michelangelo
Located in the heart of Sandton Square, this 5-star luxury hotel offers all the “creature comforts” you’ll need after the long flight over to Africa.
www.lhw.com/HotelMichelangelo

Bakubung
Situated right next to the National Park, Bakubung is an ideal place to watch the hippos play in the pool the hotel has specially built for them. Great place for a family!
http://www.legacyhotels.co.za/Home.aspx

Ten Bompas
Small and luxurious, featuring minimalist decor, and carefully chosen, gorgeous African art, this is the place to go if your looking for style as well as comfort. Added bonus: their consistently well-ranked restaurant, featuring exciting locally grown cuisine.
http://www.tenbompas.com/

In Sabi Sands:
Ulusaba Private Game Reserve
One of the top luxury lodges in the area.
www.ulusaba.com

Where to Eat

In Johannesburg:

Nambitha
Located in Soweto, you can see Nelson Mandela’s old house from this popular eatery serving traditional South African meals.

Singing Fig
A neighborhood favorite in the Northern Suburbs. Be sure to try their signature dessert, fig and vanilla ice cream. Yum!

What to See

In Johannesburg:

Mandela Family Museum
Nelson Mandela's humble little house in Orlando West, Soweto, is now a museum. This is an interesting stopover for those interested in an authentic slice of history and a peek into the life of one of the world's most influential men.

-Lisa Loverro

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About this author1

Mariela Rosario,

I'm a raging opinionista and I love to share my ramblings on everything from pop culture to food to stuff that makes me laugh & cry! I've worked in all types of media (TV, film, print) and was previously the online editor at Latina magazine before joining Mamás Latinas. On most nights you can find me working my way through my library of cookbooks or playing with my puppy Lola (my only child so far). I have a wonderful hubby who shares my passion for any and all kinds of travel. Together, we've formed a semi-professional wine drinking team.

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