Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Johannesburg Travel Guide - (South Africa)

Cape Town (Part 3Part 2 & Part 1) and Lion Park conquered, subsequently, its gonna be here we coming to get you Sun City. Where we will spending the hours at our leisure or at our whims and fancy, free and easy fullest. Into the coach after breakfast for the estimated two hours journey to north-west Johannesburg, our lunch break in between took place in "Upper Deck Restaurant”. Another similar ambiance to Kirstenbosch Garden Moyo Restaurant, boosting a laid-back rustic, huge lively garden and live music, Upper Deck Restaurant on the other hand is a grill restaurant. Wow! Impressive for someone like me who have always been fond of dining in a garden setting, shaded by trees and plants. Taking our seat at the already reserved outside dining area, thank god, instead of being cramped in the inside, noisy and packed to its rim dining area, we tucked into our meal consisting of soup, salad and opting between the seafood, steak and lamb platters. Washed down with canned drinks, some preferred chilled beers, whereas the sweet ending of the extremely and overly sweet local delicacies were too much to handle. All in all, I must say it was an appreciated meal. That's about it. Nothing sensational nor spectacular or something totally new to me and honestly, this kinda of huge portion meal will go down well for big eaters and not for small eaters. Basically, such a waste when you can't finish up.        

Despite literally forcing ourselves, maybe one or two managed to lick the platter clean, but for the most of us, there food went to waste. However, the good thing of it all, instead of leaving behind the portions, we helped our tour guide to pack them for the underprivileged whom we were told dig rubbish bins for food. Sad and heart breaking isn't it? I know. Here we are dining in a classy restaurant and there people are scavenging bins for food. In fact, for the past few days after our lunch and dinner, we packed whatever leftovers for the needy and poor people. Initially, we didn't know what was going. We couldn't understand what our tour guide was up to, but once it reached our ears, we too did our part in lending support to her kind deeds. Sincerely, something that touched us deep into our mind. More importantly, one of the best lessons to our travelling gram for making us realise not to waste food and to appreciate each decent meal we sometimes take for granted or fuss for no apparent reason. 
After lunch, half an hour allocated at the outside road side stalls for checking out what the local petty trader are selling, before continuing with our journey to arrive in Sun City where we will parking ourselves for the next one and a half days. Checking into our room for leaving our things aside, while also ensuring the slider door is not left open for preventing the rascals of naughty monkeys loitering on the trees from ransacking for food or carrying away our things, we then leisurely walked as far as we could out of our hotel and throughout Sun City which is a close cousin to our Genting World and Sunway Lagoon. Apart from Sun City being a world class casino for great or petty gamblers, there are a good number of hotels, theaters, gaming centers, golf course, eateries and water outdoor fun. Sun City I reckon does not sleep. All buzzed up round the clock, this entertainment hub for the whole family is notably a getaway for the locals, as well as tourists like us.  

Envisioned & developed by Sol Kerzner as part of his Sun International group and officially opened on 7 December, 1979, Sun City, nestled in an extinct volcano crater and best known as Africa's kingdom of pleasure also offers nature lovers a lush forest. Many rare types of plants, rocks structures, Stone Age sites and minerals, studied by scientists and geologists from all over the world.
Did Sun City go down in my travelling diary as a pride of South Africa? Sort of. Of course I enjoyed walking along the walkway lined with animal figures and as a nature lover myself, I loved every moment of seeing the indoor and outdoor forest,  oh, I did check out the retails, not cheap mind you. Other than that, nothing much for me. Dinner was next, another half of leisure walking within the hotel, I returned to my room thereafter. My other half-half and some of our tour buddies on the other hand I think donated their money at the casino. The hard cores especially, I was told gambled throughout the whole night. Wonder if they made their millions, or otherwise. . 

Next morning, we skipped breakfast. Other half-half couldn't wait up on time, neither I was keen. Instead, we had our brunch or early lunch in Raj Restaurant. Located at the heart of the hotel and one floor across the foyer. Prompt service. What do you expect when we were the only customers in their eye catching ambiance. We nibbled over the papadam by dipping it into the mint chutney and tomato chutney, prior to tucking into beriyani, naan and crab curry. Pricey meal, but all worth for spices and all things nice diviners. We enjoyed every bit of this meal. Yum.      

Another an hour plus to go before embarking on our Pilanesberg National Park, open jeep safari ride, nothing much we did except standing around for idling our time away. Thereafter, off we left for the ride of our life time and my first ever experience of seeing the freely roaming animals. At the juncture, once jeep got moving, oh-no, out of nowhere, rain came tumbling down really heavily. Upside down, inside out, in all directions until we who were seated right in front practically soaked wet despite shielded by the canvas. I actually was the hero who insisted in seating right in front. Tell me about it when rain lashed my other half-half and myself till even my hair was soaking wet. What a moment. Albeit shivering, we had our fun of giggling it off. Additionally, the moment we started seeing, one after the other animal, who cared less about rain in this 4th largest game reserve in South Africa. Covering 55,000 hectares and home to some 12000 mammals. Characterized by impressive volcanic mountain forms and rolling savannah grasslands 1300 million years old, these impressive features have created one of the most topographically diverse reserves to be found in South Africa. The huge area Pilanesberg National Park is seated by itself is one of the reserves that provide the Big 5 Experience (Leopard, Lion, Elephant, Rhino and Buffalo) and over 350 species of birds. 
An absolute nature and animal captivating safari ride,  we were all worked up and excited in wanting to see as many animals as we can. We sure did from really close, those animals crossing right in front of us. Silence of course is golden, we were constantly reminded, otherwise, you face the consequences. Trust me, its a fantastic mind blowing experience which I have only seen in movies. Marvelous. 

A pit-stop next, half an hour break for resting, easing and grabbing a drink at the cafe within the park, our safari adventure continued for another hour plus before we returned to the hotel. First thing first for me, I showered and packed to bid bye-bye to Sun City and for dinner in Carnivore Restaurant. Located in the neighboring Misty Hills Hotel, overlooking Krugersdorp hills, adorned in African art works and filled with warm earth tones and bamboo walls, we walked via the indigenous garden and after being seated, dinner opened up with soup and salad. Thenceforth, all sorts of exotic meat at our eating pleasure. Frankly speaking, I didn't eat. I really couldn't take the strong smell of kurdu, crocodile, zebra, ostrich, antelope and what not, in skewers and brought by the servers before slicing a piece or two for you. God! Not for me, neither did my other half-half ate, I think most of us just stared at the few who were delightfully tucking in.      

Still, Carnivore Restaurant will remain forever as a historic and appreciated seeing for myself meaty game changer. A proud travelling moment indeed. Having said that, I don't think I will ever eat those exotic meat. Back on the road, we arrived in Pretoria for spending two days before ending our tour.    

To be continued.........

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