A couple months ago when the mover guy came across my ski clothes to pack up, he gave me a funny look and I just said, “yeah that’s going to be really useful in South Africa !”. We laughed and into the carton went the clothes. Well, in fact you CAN ski in South Africa in the Drakensberg Mountains at Tiffindell Ski Resort which I already knew, however what I didn’t know is that you can almost ski right here in Joburg.
Skis and Snowboards
As the world already knows, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela passed away on Dec 5 2013 and today he will be laid to rest in his homeland of Qunu in the Eastern Cape. The past 10 days have been a period of national mourning, bringing together the people of South Africa and all over the world to not only mourn, but to celebrate the extraordinary life of Nelson Mandela. I have only lived here a bit over one month, and if it wasn’t for Mandela, I know I wouldn’t be here right now, writing this post in the beautiful country of South Africa. Thank you Madiba.
Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton (taken right after we moved to South Africa)
On our arrival to Johannesburg at the end October we were welcomed by the most beautiful flowering trees we have ever seen, the Jacarandas. Their shimmering purple petals give Johannesburg this wonderful glow and I found myself enchanted by their beauty over and over again.
View from my office of the Jacarandas dusting the Jo’burg skyline
For our first outing in Joburg we decided to take the Hop-on, Hop-off City Sightseeing Red Bus tour to get a peek into some of the neighborhoods of downtown Johannesburg. The bus has only been in operation since February this year in Joburg but we have always enjoyed this tour in Cape Town (in fact we have set aside a day for this on each of our trips there) and this ended up being a great intro to the city for us.
There are a total of 12 possible stops, not including the optional Soweto tour. It is impossible to hop on/off at every stop in one day so I suggest you study the route in advance and plan your day carefully to get to see your top spots. It would likely take the better part of 3 days to really see everything on the route.
As we are totally Joburg newbies, we didn’t feel comfortable yet (still don’t) driving in the CBD (Central Business District) , so we drove to Sandton to park and took the Gautrain to Park Station, the first stop of the tour (you can however start wherever you like).
Waiting for the Gautrain at Sandton Station
One of the biggest decisions of an international move is how much of your stuff you are going to take, and how you are going to move it. As my company was paying for the move, we decided to get rid of some of our older furniture but move most of the major stuff, including applicances (we would only need an adapter plug to use them coming from Europe).
The whole process of selecting a moving a company started months before the actual move, and I will save those details for a later post. In the end, we decided to go with Grospiron, who would pack and move all our belongings in what they call a door-to-door move from Nice to “wherever we end up living” in the Johannesburg area. In order to prepare for the move, many weekends were spent sorting through all our crap deciding what to take, what to give away and what to trash. This was a huge, time consuming process and I was thrilled to turn the project over to Grospiron when they arrived bright and early Monday morning (Oct 28 2013).
Our living room just before the movers arrived. We had given away some of the furniture so we had started boxing stuff up but the movers finished it all off.