Sunday, August 30

Trip around South Africa

This year's International Statistical Institute (ISI) conference was held in Durban, South Africa, which gave us the perfect excuse to visit this interesting country.

After the conference finished on Saturday, we headed off on a tour of South Africa on the Sunday morning. We were only 5 people in our tour group: our good friend and colleague, Petteri; a young newlywed couple from Malta; and us. Our guide was Thabo, a terrific and talkative South African man from Soweto, just outside of Johannesburg. Together we had an excellent time and saw something new and interesting every day.

Our tour group (L-R): Jess, Petteri, Krista, Kris and Peter

Day 1: Durban to Santa Lucia via Shakaland, a Zulu cultural village


Sunset in Santa Lucia

Day 2: Santa Lucia cruise and drive to Swaziland

Crossing the border into Swaziland

Day 3: Drive through Swaziland and into Kruger National Park

At the southern gate of the Kruger National Park

Day 4: Safari in Kruger and BBQ in our rest camp

Our huts at Pretoriaskop rest camp

The safari started out a little chilly at 6:30am

Then the animals started to appear....

Day 5: Visiting natural wonders and staying in the quaint mining town of Pilgrim's Rest

Jess at Blyde River Canyon

The Three Rondweles

Our hotel at Pilgrim's Rest

Buying a beer at the bar

Day 6: Drive through Johannesburg and visit to Soweto

We took a detour on our planned itinerary to visit the hometown of our guide, Thabo. He grew up in Soweto (name derived from South West Township), the township that was built for segregated groups during apartheid. It is home to around 65% of Johannesburg's residents, probably about 7 million people.
This, our last day in South Africa, was one of the highlights of the tour. We visited Nelson Mandela's house (8115 Orlando East), the 1976 uprising musuem and the house of Thabo's mother and family.