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BN Travel: Gorgeous Views, Fantastic Adventure & Good Times – Ijeoma Ndekwu’s Six Fabulous Days in South Africa!

Ijeoma Balogun

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A few weeks ago I was in South Africa on a trip sponsored by South African Tourism. As promised in my earlier post, here is the report on the trip and a few pictures that ought to get you planning a trip to South Africa ASAP!

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At the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa (Dress by MOOFA)

Although I am far from being considered a ‘world traveller’, I have had a decent share of some of the most beautiful countries and cities the world has to offer, and after my recent trip to South Africa, I think it tops my list. I do not know if it was the itinerary which was guaranteed to provide a wonderful experience, the people I shared the experience with or my new cultivated knowledge and appreciation of aesthetics- there is something about South Africa that made me decide upon my return to Nigeria that I shall never be away from her for too long!

I was fortunate to live in South Africa for 4 months in 2010; recollecting the experience triggers fun memories of youthful exuberance explored to its fullest; from a vibrant nightlife, to weekly braais, a found love for dry ciders, and the opportunity to be adventurous and to immerse oneself in a seemingly distant yet embracing culture. I had envisioned that my return to South Africa will embody all the aspects of the country which I truly enjoyed and loved, but to say that this trip mirrored my previous experience of the Rainbow Nation will be an unfair comparison.

With some of the female Nigerian winners at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa

I was provided with a broader sense of the country; let me be honest, my idea of adventure is going to a local block party with a few friends! I am sure you get the drift; ‘real’ adventure is not my thing! However, on this trip I was compelled to explore South Africa beyond my limited perception of what makes a good experience, and in doing that, I came to realize how the nation permits a variety of experiences. With South Africa, one cannot pinpoint a single offering; if you are up for some awesome adventure, it fits the bill, if you are up to a good time, the nightlife is pretty impressive and if you want to be enthralled by one of nature’s best sceneries, well… I am yet to know a place that immaculately combines natural beauty with man’s conceptualization of space in the creation of a sublime experience when one acknowledges the beauty that abounds.

The 6 day trip was split between two cities, Johannesburg and Cape Town. Johannesburg is Africa’s most developed city and South Africa’s largest city; it is a fast-paced, upbeat modern city. We were lodged in a 5 star hotel in upscale Sandton. Sandton is to Johannesburg what Manhattan is to New York with a barrage of Manhattan-style skyscrapers that contribute to its opulence. OK, enough of the history lesson, now on to the fun things SA’s financial capital has to offer!

As someone who has lived in a city all her life, I believe I am organically inclined to enjoy the up-tempo vibe cities like Johannesburg offer. Our first real taste of SA’s adventurous terrain came a day after our arrival; bundled up on the bus and settling our eyes on the large vista occupied by mountains and greenery we began the road trip to Magaliesburg for canopy tours. Our task, be 50 feet above the ground ten times over, sliding from hill top to another all for that adrenalin rush! Lord knows my knees were shaking, compelled by the urge to exceed my expectations, I took a go at it, and I am grateful I did!

Away I go!

Safe! Phew!

It was my first attempt at being adventurous and I absolutely loved it! I decided to get more action at the Gold Reef City theme park when I journeyed to the Tower of Terror; the vertical-drop of 47 meters was crazy terrifying but exciting at the same time! Would I do it again? Maybe not! As cliché as this might sound, there was something about SA that activated the adventure gene in me, If it had to be done, South Africa was the place!

The Nigerian winners at the Gold Reef City Theme Park, Johannesburg, South Africa

'The Sick bay' at the mine in Gold Reef City theme park, Johannesburg, South Africa

Terrific adventure ride!

'Tower of Terror' Yeeee!!!!

There is a saying that emphasizes the importance of an individual passing through an experience rather than the experience passing through the individual. This is an approach I try to adopt when I am abroad. Huh? (LOL)…I’ll explain! I make it a priority to expand my knowledge of the people, the place and familiarise myself with the region, integrate; pick up a few things about its heritage. South Africa is known for its complex socio-political history and Soweto was at the heart of the struggle. It was great touring the Gold Reef mine, Soweto and visiting Nelson Mandela’s house prior to & during his imprisonment. The tour of Soweto ended with a traditional South African lunch at Sakhumzi, where we got a chance to taste their rich local flavours and their version of soul food.

Left: On route to the mine- 275 metres deep beneath the ground |Right: At Mandela's house in Soweto

Captured at Mandela's house in Soweto

At Sakhumzi for a yummy South African lunch! 😀

Our evenings in Johannesburg were spent dining in posh-style restaurants and a few hours in the afternoon were dedicated to shopping as much of a storm as possible at the Sandton City Mall, whose pyramid-style rooftop functions as a landmark in Johannesburg. I absolutely enjoyed the atmosphere in ‘Jozi’ as the locals call it; it is a great place to splurge on oneself, have the best of times and build fun or maybe wild memories, do you hey!

At Prive restaurant ( Dress by WANA SAMBO) with Peter Amoo(left) & Rosemary Akpaibo (right)

Cheers to the weekend!

When I think Cape Town in the summer, I picture lazy days on the beach, body surfing, boat parties, strawberry daiquiris and cosmopolitans… Bliss! There is a contagious chilled vibe about Cape Town that makes it the perfect place for a weekend getaway or an easy going vacay. Our weekend in Cape Town was packed with activities; they definitely saved the best for last!

V&A Waterfront Cape Town, South Africa

Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa

Upon arrival, we set out for a sunset boat cruise on the calm harbour waters viewing the gorgeous skyline. Breathing in the fresh sea air and soaking up the captivating view of Table Mountain, I was blown away by Cape Town’s splendour from the privileged perspective of her ocean waters. We kicked-off partying on the boat as we danced to familiar Nigerian music, bringing a bit of home to SA waters. Our night ended with a Long Street experience; which is the centre of Cape Town’s nightlife offering an inexhaustible line-up of clubs and bars. One of the great things about South Africa is that one does not need a whole lot of money to have a good time, it’s refreshing enjoying a good night out without breaking the bank!

Magaret Gitau from Kenya(left) with two of the Nigerian winners, Rosemary Akpabio (centre) & Titi (right) at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa

Happy Place!!! 😀 😀

All Smiles-Peter Amoo(left) & Elidoni Okpeta(centre)

Cruise Chilling!

Wohooo!!!!!!!! 😀

The next day was the highly anticipated annual J&B Met. Advised to be dressed in our best, and with 2012 ‘Made Different’ theme in mind, I made a quick dash to the mall at the V&A Waterfront to get my very first fascinator! Thanks to a long fun night, I was in no mood for shopping and I was delighted to have packed something suitable from home for the event. There was a carnival feel to the J&B Met but refined to accommodate glamour, style and exuberance. I decided to wear a lush orange one-shoulder blouse with a dark-wine pencil skirt which I paired with a ton of accessories for some drama! It was a day of horse racing, betting, feasting on finger foods and enjoying the open bar! It all seemed very bourgeois to me, but with the right kind of company and a magician with a bag of tricks, my comfort level soared through the roof and I had the most splendid time.

Left: Night out on Long Street, Cape Town (Blouse by PEARL 11 30) | Right: At the J&B Met

The Glam Factor!

Go!Go!Go!

'Be Different'- They got the memo, Love it!

With Magaret Gitau from Kenya at the J&B Met

My favourite day of the trip was the last day in Cape Town. We started off with a helicopter ride to the wine lands – Groot Constantia; the view of the Mother City from amidst the skies was beyond magnificent! It was one of those very few moments when one looses the self and succumbs to beauty; I wanted to be up there forever! In my opinion, going to South Africa would not be complete without wine tasting especially if you are a lover for fine wine. I was embarrassed to learn that I had been holding my wine glass the wrong way all along, but better late than never, right?

Photo time!

Ready, Set, Go!

View of Cape Town from admist the skies!

Gorgeousness!

Safe Arrival, Hurray!

The wine lands- Groot Constantia, Cape Town, SA

Wine tasting, Wine drinking? hehe

Lunch at Groot Constantia

After lunch, we departed Groot Constantia in style on Harley Davidson bikes! Believe me when I say, it definitely ‘aint no Okada’! Enjoying the cool breeze as it brushed through my face, I thought to myself, this has to be the most amazing experience ever! We stopped over for some sun and sandy beach waters at Camps Bay where I finally got to quench my thirst for a fruity cocktail.

Harley Davidson Riders

She Bad!

Let's Stay Together!

Camps Bay, Cape Town, South Africa

Mountain Top!

More Sun! Camps Bay, Cape Town, SA

Take me away!

I have never done so much in such a short period, and I have not had fun like that in while! The trip encompassed a range of experiences, each unique in and of itself! I guess that’s what’s really brilliant about South Africa as a holiday destination; there is something for everyone, you just have to get on a plane and experience it!

Tell me if you have, and when you plan to!

Cheers.

Click to view all the photos from the trip on our Facebook page.

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Special thanks to South African Tourism, South African Airways, Wana Sambo, Moofa & Pearl 11 30.

40 Comments

  1. Gidi

    February 9, 2012 at 9:21 am

    Absolutely lovely.
    Cape Town is a wonderful city. Small, compact, intriguing but full of life. It has feel that is distinct from any other South African city.

  2. Traditionalbay

    February 9, 2012 at 9:27 am

    these pix are fascinating! wow…u sure had mad fun.

  3. Berry

    February 9, 2012 at 9:32 am

    OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Jealous much?! Not about South Africa in particular, but getting to travel and really explore.

    Your story and photographs are inspiring me to make my “Trip of a Lifetime” happen this year…

    http://ajebutternysc.blogspot.com

  4. Ice queen

    February 9, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Woooow!!!! this looks like mad fun

  5. Pendo

    February 9, 2012 at 9:37 am

    SA is a beautiful country can’t say much about the local black population though they seem to have a healthy dislike for other Africans in their country (living not visiting there) and pardon my ignorance…Nigerian winners of what???? i see it captioned in most pics but i don’t recall reading what they won….

  6. Lue

    February 9, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Now i just want to go to south Africa
    http://lucianochinwe.blogspot.com/

  7. Ginika

    February 9, 2012 at 9:53 am

    grrrrrrrr! I’m jealous much.

    *Puts on Myexplorer’s hat*….I’m off to go find me some adventure and fun, join me if you want to. This lady is no longer scared of the unknown, no dulling…

  8. Monami

    February 9, 2012 at 10:06 am

    fabulous. fantastic. incredible…this is absolutely out of this planet! I just cant stop visiting South Africa

  9. Nino

    February 9, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Gorgeous….
    Went to SA March Last year and my dear, i was so excited to see your travel photos.
    Honestly with no exaggeration, i love Jo’burg alot, did lion park, sandton mall, aparthied museum, montecasino and the nightlife….but i love cape town more than any city in the world and my passport has tried for itself.
    i did camps bay, V&A, Table mountain, green market square, long street…honestly i dream of being proposed to in cape town and honeymooning there….

  10. tee

    February 9, 2012 at 10:12 am

    PS _ Bella lets start the BN travel section, people can send in their fun travel pics.
    I’m a avid traveller, my number one hobby, if fir starve to travel, just the allure of discovering some place new….so would be great to see fab travel pics.xx

    • Bolanle

      February 9, 2012 at 10:55 am

      I agree, i think this is a fantastic idea!!! Count me in..(well if it comes to pass lol)

    • Atoke

      Atoke

      June 12, 2012 at 4:10 pm

      We’re always excited about new ideas. Please send your fun travel experiences to [email protected].

      Thanks

  11. Monami

    February 9, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Fabulous. Fantastic. Incredible. this is absolutely out of this planet. this is why I just cant stop visiting South Africa..7times and still counting!

  12. Bolanle

    February 9, 2012 at 10:22 am

    These are very nice pictures! it inspires me to want to travel more 😀

  13. colourfulbutterfly

    February 9, 2012 at 10:29 am

    How weird is it that i am headed there on Saturday?
    lol!
    can’t wait!

  14. Sheila

    February 9, 2012 at 10:48 am

    so jealous…i always wanted to go to South Africa, need to work on my budget so I can fit it in at some point.

  15. Justsaying

    February 9, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Is this you Bella Naija? Just curious!

    • adaku

      February 9, 2012 at 11:09 pm

      lol…I thought we all know by now who Bella is? no, it’s not her 🙂

  16. Priscy

    February 9, 2012 at 10:57 am

    I can see u had fun…I would visit there soon too.

  17. Iny

    February 9, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    I love love Capetown and would want to go back there again, best holiday ever with so much to do there.

  18. Nini

    February 9, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Fabulous!!!!this article just makes me wanna pack my bags and fly!I think it would be a good idea to start the BN Travel, where people can send in their pictures of a trip of a lifetime. Ijeoma Ndekwu is gorgeous!I love the dress my Moofa..FAB ALL THE WAY!.

  19. Bentolina

    February 9, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Love it.. was so nice seeing you in cape town, short but sweet, u have to come stay longer next time was way 2 short. but you had mad fun in my city!! hehe. Nice Article on ur adventure i must say. keep up the good work love. xxxxx

  20. ronk

    February 9, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    wow dat’s cool.. was also in south Africa in december too n i really had fun. it’s such a nice place for hols n wud love to be there again and again lol

  21. obatee

    February 9, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    although i live in SA, i haven’t been to cape town…packing my stuff and relocating…southy is a great place to be…but u need a lot of cash! things are damn expensive.

  22. onyx

    February 9, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Dammit! Why the heck don’t I travel more?? Nigerians, we can like to work as if na only 9-5 we come this life to do (or maybe I’m only speaking about my own bad habits). New Year’s resolution number 5 – Cut loose and plan a holiday to somewhere new. I “yam” inspired!! x

  23. Rosemary

    February 9, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    This absolutely wonderful. Thanks the pics are awesome.
    Can’t wait to go back.

  24. T.S.

    February 9, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    This is beautiful! I hope I can visit someday. The view from the chopper is breathtaking.

    http://www.titisule.wordpress.com

  25. Oma

    February 9, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Just cancelled a planned trip for my birthday cos of work and now you make me feel jealous joor.
    Looks like you had loads of fun.
    Lovely photos.
    http://lifethroughomaseyes.blogspot.com

  26. tatafo!

    February 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Nice! Now I really have to plan a trip to Cape Town! I keep hearing great things about it.
    BTW the deep pink/fuschia tunic gorgeous!

  27. lola

    February 9, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    My next trip to South Africa , am not even going to darken the gate way to pretoria, i spent 2wks in pretoria and i swear i didn’t have half the fun you did, this is an eye opener next trip…..am going to cape town and no one should try to stop me, lol!

  28. Purpleicious Babe

    February 9, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    I am obviously not aware of something going on… but pls (no rudeness intended) may I know who she is??? is she like a celebrity or ??

  29. Purpleicious Babe

    February 9, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    beautiful place though… awww nice trip.

  30. Lola

    February 9, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    Jealous much! SA is my dream vacation!! Kudos to you girl 🙂

  31. jennietobbie

    February 9, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    South Africa….my next destination

  32. About New Zealand

    February 10, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Great pictures you have! South Africa must be a great place to visit!
    Cheers.

  33. Ruth

    February 10, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Wow, beautiful pictures,you sure sid have fun. I would love to visit SA someday, pls can someone give me an idea of how much it will cost( Visa, accomodation,ticket, feeding and shopping) thanks

    • Monami

      February 13, 2012 at 10:08 am

      visit http://www.southsfrica.net you will find amazing deals that you wont tear your pocket to visit SA. The Cape Town International Jazz Festival holds March 30 and 31, great opportunity for you to visit and witness the vibrancy and jazz extravaganza in the mother city of Cape Town

  34. Gidi

    February 10, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    No decent person would respond to such request here as it will trigger off a discussion that might derail this blog.
    However, to those who might be considering trips to South Africa in general and Capetown in particular,i humbly recommend this Easter. The Cape Town Jazz festival holds during Easter each year and if world music with a sprinkling of Jazz is your kind of thing, then there is no better time to be at the Mother city.
    There are good B&Bs to cater for a decent pocket and being a very tourist friendly city,most B&B owners will show you your way around and if adventure of the nature kind is your thing, you will have your fill within Cape Town and Stellenbosch. If shopping is your thing,then the Canal city century mall (until recently the largest shopping mall in the Southern hemisphere) will embrace your pocket for good.
    Whatever you do, make sure you take a trip to the Robben Island.
    Make sure your send your pics to BN when you return for our viewing pleasure.
    Don’t worry your fellow bloggers will go easy on the critique of your outfits and your hairstyle 🙂

  35. Gidi

    February 10, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    For that free advert, i await a cheque from the SA high commission.

  36. rose

    February 25, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    I wanna go to SA someday. seems like a lovely place to visit

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