Heading to Africa
By coales, Jul 5 2012 03:34PM
After a whistle-stop visit to a very wet and rainy Sydney, I climbed onboard a 14 hour flight to Johannesburg.
I had heard various stories about South Africa, some good, some terrifying. Having been advised to use the train rather than other forms of transport in Johannesburg because ‘it has armed guards’ and equipped with a well hidden money belt and numerous copies of my passport and insurance details, I had braced myself for the worst!
Aware of higher than average crime rates in Johannesburg, I chose a guesthouse with a complementary pick-up from the airport, no need for armed guards on this occasion! Driving through the city it was clear that things were different from the UK – tall walls and gates surrounded almost every house, garnished with barbed wire on top and signs informing you that the owners were protected by an ‘armed response’ security firm. Despite all this, people remained friendly and sincere, and (taking the necessary precautions of not walking around on my own at night etc) I felt pretty comfortable in my new surroundings.
I had come to Johannesburg to begin an experience that would test my nerves and, amongst other things, put my fear of spiders to rest! I was embarking upon a course to become a Field Guide for Southern Africa and would finally have the opportunity to appreciate what it’s like to live in the African Bush. To say I was excited would be an understatement!