Johannesburg, South Africa

Trip Start Jun 05, 2012
Trip End Jul 10, 2012

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Flag of South Africa  , Gauteng,
Friday, July 6, 2012

     Got up around 7:40, ate our free toast and cereal.  We met a lady who just finished a month of volunteering at an orphanage in Lilongwe.  She was able to make a huge impact with a small amount of money.  Sounded like she had a really wonderful experience.  I showered then started working on packing the last few things before we would leave for the Livingstone Airport.  We got a taxi from the hostel to the border for $5.  Then we got our exit stamp and took a $3 taxi from one border (leaving Zimbabwe) to the other border (entering Zambia).  There were lots of trucks just sitting there waiting.  I think sometimes it takes days to get the proper clearance to enter the other country. In the meantime there were guys who would load up their bicycle and pedal the goods the distance between the two borders.  Each time the workers cross they get a stamp, but it is just on a piece of paper and not in a passport.  These guys are impatient when it comes to waiting at the border, because time is money.  I wish I would have asked one of the guys how much money they make for transporting the goods across the border.  We got an entry stamp for Zambia then started taxi negotiation.  There was only one guy who was near the border saying that he had a taxi.  We should have known there were more somewhere, but it was an unfamiliar position we were in and we just wanted to get our heavy bag into a vehicle and start making our way towards the airport.  The guy told us it was 25 km to the airport and asked for $40.  We said there was no way we were going to pay that much.  Miles made the decision to pay $1 per kilometer and offered $25 and the guy finally accepted.  Then we got into some other guys taxi so apparently the guy we had been talking to was just a broker.  There were at least 20 taxis there so if we would have known we could have done a lot more bartering.  
     We got to the very small airport and went through security.  Then we waited at the desk to get our tickets. Then we had to show our passports again.  When we got though there were a couple shops but no real food.  Only a bar with chips, cookies, and drinks.  We went back through.  I bought a stamp and sent Terry's postacard.  They had other stamps so I spent $4 more on those.  One was butterflies and the other was National Animals of Southern Africa.  We checked out the restaurant and honestly most of the food looked totally nasty!  It was only 10:45 so we hung out until closer to lunch time  We went to the restaurant and each got a chicken/veggie spring roll and split a Sprite for $6. Then we had to wait in line for getting back through security.  When we got to the "holding area" it was packed.  Apparently all three airlines leave at about the same time.  This is the craziest thing ever.  We sat on the floor, split a candy bar and saved a pack of chips for the plane.  People started lining up very early.  Hopefully there will be overhead space.  All three planes arrived late and all three planes had the same exit.  We had already been through security and yet we have to go back through security.  We walked on the tarmak and up the steps we went.  When we got to our seats I did not have an aisle like I requested.  In addition, we were in front of the exit row so our seats would not lean back.  The attendants told us we should fill out the complaint form.  People sitting on the right had a small glimpse of the falls, I barely caught the view for about half of a second.  The lady did find us a seat so we did get to recline.  We landed a little before 3:00
     Most people on the flight were white so it was a bit of a surprise when about 90% of the people went to the African passport line.  It was good fo us because we walked right up and got our stamp in the "other passport" category.  Miles exchanged money while I looked for our pick-up guy.  He finally showed up and it took about 20 minutes to get to Brown Sugar Backpackers.  We checked in and the female attendant showed us our room.  This room had the nicest bed I haev seen in a long time!  We dropped off our bags and she showed us the breakfasat room, kitchen, bar, pool and laundry room.  We then got on the internet to look up places we wanted to see.  We got the times and fees for various places.  We took off on a walk and made it to Chinatown to eat at a little chinese restaurant.  I had chicken spring rolls  and pork fried rice and Miles had pork ribs and steamed rice.  We then went to a chinese bakery and I picked a couple things to bring back to the room.  We had the long cold walk back.  Upon returning I ordered a coke, then we looked at some free backpackers books and got a lot of ideas.  This ended our first day in South Africa

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Mom on

Glad you got all of your exit paperwork taken care of and arrived safely in Johannesburg! You guys will have a blast if you decide to go to the National Park or some of the many other area attractions, I'm sure! You guys always find something really cool to get in to! :)

Love you! Enjoy this last leg on your wonderful, cross-continent journey on your trip of a lifetime! :)

Matt on

So you're not hitting the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Weak. Might as well not have even gone! :-P I'm sure you'll find some fun things to do in South Africa. Maybe some cricket? :)

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