The xenophobic attacks were tragic and our hearts go out to all those affected. It was inspiring to see Nigerians quickly rally to support our brothers and sisters affected by this injustice, and we are glad that our leaders heard our voices and began diplomatic discussions on how to avoid this happening in the future.
For us in BN, we believe we are stronger together. Therefore, we are not “cancelling” any African country – South Africa included. Our dream is unity and progress for Africa built by Africans.
We visited South Africa recently, and this was Niyi’s experience.
I was in South Africa recently with the folks at South African Tourism. After the xenophobic attacks, Nigerians scheduled to travel to the country had canceled en masse, and SA Tourism decided to take its trade partners in Nigeria, together with one client each, to see South Africa.
This was my second time in South Africa (in one month!) and, honestly, I’d believed there wasn’t much else to see. Obviously, I was wrong.
My first time in OR Tambo airport, we’d only breezed through, trying to catch our connecting flight to Cape Town. This time, we settled for a few minutes trying to get SIM cards, and even those few minutes of exploring yielded results: the OR Tambo statue, waiting right there at the lobby.
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The xenophobic attacks were tragic and our hearts go out to all those affected. It was inspiring to see Nigerians rally to support our brothers and sisters affected by this injustice. We are glad that our leaders heard our voices and began diplomatic discussions on how to avoid this happening in the future. For us, we believe we are stronger together. Therefore, we are not “cancelling” any African country – SA included. Our dream is unity and progress for Africa built by Africans. Join us in making this happen. We will love to hear your ideas. We visited SA recently and this was @n.moroti’s experience #travel2sa #nigeriameetsouthafrica #BNxSAT
It had been a long flight (6 hours), so it was only right that the next thing on our agendas, after settling in at the hotel, was food. And food was at the Regency Hotel, where we were treated to an excellent buffet, and an equally nice view.
On our way back from lunch, we made a stop at the Union Building, taking a few shots with and of the large statue of Nelson Mandela. There we met indigenous people who were staging a peaceful protest by camping and sleeping there. Of course, we were not allowed to take photos of them.
(It’s a magnificent statue.)
The day went by in a breeze, and soon it was time for dinner.
Dinner was at the Pigalle Restaurant in Sandton, and there we met folks from South Africa Tourism, Jo’burg Tourism, and Cape Town Tourism, who shared with us all the amazing experience they had in store for us. Between all these was a lot of wine, so forgive me if I forgot to take videos.
There’s a video somewhere on the internet of me jabbering on on that night. I continue to hope and pray it gets lost in some abyss.
The next day we were up bright and early, making for the Lesedi Cultural Centre.
At Lesedi, first we did a quick tour of the stores that sold arts and crafts like earrings, bracelets, keyholders, mugs, small sculptures and big ones too. There was also the marimba player who gave us tunes to dance to.
Then it was time for the actual tour, and, honestly, the experience was enlightening. We sat for a video that explained the origins of all the tribes in South Africa, their customs and their ways, and how they morphed to become what they are together, a people living in harmony.
Then we visited their individual settlements in the centre, and met their people who encouraged us to partake in a few of the customs.
Then it was time for the funnest part: the dancing! That was an experience!
There was lunch after that, and also on the internet somewhere is a photo of me posing with a plate. I don’t know why exactly I was doing that, but let’s hope the photo disappears forever.
Lunch had hardly settled when it was time for more fun: the Happy Island Water World.
Because I’m a nice guy I won’t come here to cast people who were too afraid to get on water slides, but just know that I’m one of the bravest people to ever exist, and I’m a visionary of fun.
The next day started off one kain. We’d visited the Michelangelo Towers Mall to get SIM cards, so we sorta kinda missed our morning schedule, which was a red tour bus around the city. Which was a disappointment, because it would have been so cool to see Jo’burg from the top of a bus. Still, to make up for it, we zoomed (after we had gotten our SIM cards) to the Gold Reef City, a theme park that once upon a time used to be the oldest mine in Jo’burg.
Again, I don’t intend to cast anyone that was too afraid to get on rides, but, only a few were brave enough, and, of course, I was one of them (the bravest).
(All of us.)
(The brave ones.)
Guys, I’ll be honest with you, I thought I was going to die when I was on the Anaconda. We were literally going at warp speed upside down, and the seatbelt, although it was secure, didn’t feel like it was. I screamed expletives throughout the trip. And when it was over, I immediately wanted to get back on to experience the thrill again. It was SO COOL!
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So we started the day at Gold Reef City, a park made out of a retired mine, and, guys, look at this ride. It’s called the Anaconda. I swear to you I thought it was the end for me. I thought that was it. We were upside down! When we finished sha, I immediately wanted to go back on it 🌚. #travel2sa #nigeriameetsouthafrica #BNxSAT
Other rides, although just as intense, lost that scare factor after Anaconda. They just couldn’t match it.
(Swipe on that last photo.)
And the day wasn’t over!
We were off to Soweto to eat and enjoy our lives, and there we met none other than the graceful and beautiful Amanda Black, who graciously accepted to take a photo with us.
We also visited the Mandela House, and we got to see his living conditions before he went to jail, and shortly afterward, too.
This day was supposed to be idle. We were supposed to fly into Cape Town from Jo’burg, and just lose ourselves shopping. But, alas, there’s too much in South Africa for rest to be a thing.
So we were to have lunch at the mall, then do a little shopping. Somehow, the “little” shopping took like two hours (I can’t even blame anyone because me too I was part). I think the problem was Canal Walk Mall (like all malls in South Africa, to be honest) was just too big. And people like me have very little impulse control: you see that fine shirt, those nice shoes, that fancy wristwatch, and you just want it.
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Okay. So Day 4 was mostly a free day, where all of us visited the Canal Walk Mall to have lunch and shop till we dropped. I’ll admit (no one else knows this) that I got lost inside the mall. We were supposed to meet at entrance 2 and I found myself somewhere else entirely. How I found my way back is another story. But the lesson here is that the mall is huuuuge. #travel2sa #nigeriameetsouthafrica #BNxSAT
After our shopping, we were off to Marco’s African Place to have dinner, and what would have just been a quiet normal dinner ended up being a big story because I had to show myself.
So this band were on stage playing the marimba and I was just tuned off because I thought it was touristy and inauthentic. That’s what I thought. Until the real things started and, well, let’s just say videos tell a better picture:
The fifth day was bloody, guys. It was bloody! It was SO cold. What’s worse is I defied common sense and wore Ankara pants, so the cold glued to me like a childhood friend.
First we took a tour of Camps Bay, which is currently the most expensive real estate in Cape Town. A house recently went for 4 million rands, I think our tour guide said, and let’s just thank God for life.
Thennnn we went up to Table Mountain, one of the eight wonders of nature, and, of course, it was colder. (Just kill me.)
I didn’t take so many photos here because I ended up hiding in a coffee shop, but the ones I took were so fun because we had these Asian ladies who just would not stay off our backs. They were in our every photo, I think.
We (thankfully) rushed off the mountain, and went back down where it was warmer. Where we visited next was Bo Kaap, truly one of the loveliest communities I have ever visited, always quiet and beautiful. See the photos for yourself.
After that, we were off to definitely my favourite part of the entire South Africa visit: Zeitz MOCAA. (That’s the Museum of Contemporary Art Africa).
We had an amazing guide, Michael Jacobs, who spoke to us about the origins of the museum, how it went from being a grain silo to what it is today, and how the entire idea came from a corn kernel.
Then it was time for the coolest part of the day: a chopper tour!
Yup, we got to see the beautiful city of Cape Town from the top, flying in a chopper. Lovely, lovely experience.
After the tour, there was hardly anytime to rest before it was time for dinner: at the Gold Restaurant where we had to drum for our meal (not really, actually).
The food was delicious though, and we met a lovely South African chef who made tuwo and vegetable for us. A much needed meal, considering we hadn’t tasted Nigerian food in six days.
Our sixth day in SA was the most inspiring. We visited Khayelitsha, a township in Cape Town, and met with inspiring entrepreneurs who are pushing against the grain to make Cape Town a better place for people like them.
Our first stop was at Siki’s Koffee Kafe, and the founder, the enigmatic Siki himself, sat with us to discuss his vision for his coffee place. You could say I’m partial toward him because he gifted me a book by one of my favourite writers, but this was my second favourite experience of the entire trip.
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We met Siki (who owns the cafe @sikis_koffee_kafe and gifted me this book by one of my favorite writers) and he discussed his business with us, its origins and goals. He’s a brilliant man and visiting him was definitely a highlight. #travel2sa #nigeriameetsouthafrica #BNxSAT
There was a brief interlude of us farming and painting, and because I’m a diligent farmer I was unable to take photos of myself at work, I’ll share with you a few photos of my own masterpiece.
Then we hung out with the Isibane se Africa group of singers and dancers, and even danced and sang with them.
After that we were off to lunch at 4Roomed Ekasi Culture, one of the top 30 restaurants in the world, and owned by a Masterchef!
Then there was dinner! There’s one thing to take away from this dinner thing, and that is: I really had a few baby squids for dinner.
And on the seventh and final day, Jesus rested.
Jk. On the seventh day, it was even more fun. And fancy.
First we went on a side car tour from our hotels to the wine lands, and guys, it was beautiful and it was fun but it was cold. It was cold!
But it was so fun.
Where we ended up was the Groot Constantia, and just look at that lovely view.
We were given a tour of the property, and we saw fixtures that had been there (or were replicas of those) from very long ago.
There was some wine tasting, too, and, if anyone knows me, then they know that it was no doubt my favourite part.
After that was lunch, of course, at Simon’s at Groot Constantia. Guys, this was a bomb meal.
After lunch we went to change. Why? Because we had an all-white party on a boat 😎.
The party was fancy fancy, just look at the photos:
I also took some lovely photos that I absolutely have to share:
And that was how my trip to South Africa went! It was fun, fancy, and truly, truly a lovely experience. I’ll leave you guys with this video of me making everyone laugh, because not only am I a brave guy, I’m also a funny guy.