It was a long journey – it took us more than 24 hours from our home by car to Venice (Italy), and then with Emirates via Dubai to Johannesburg. After landing mid-morning the next day at OR Tambo airport, we took over our car from Europcar rent-a-car. We’ve got Chrysler Aveo, a compact sedan, which was large just enough for the three of us and our luggage.
It was the first time ever that I had to drive on the left side of the road, so I was a bit nervous. And during the first few days, I got quite frequent reminders from my two ladies: “To the other side! To the other side!!!”. Habits are simply hard to change. But eventually I got used to driving on the “wrong” side, it’s just that I kept mixing indicator lights and wiper switch handles for quite a while. So, on every crossroad where we were turning to the other road, our windscreen wipers were frantically signaling to the other travelers, that they better keep a sharp eye on us…
Luckily, we have booked a B&B for our first two nights not far from the airport, so that our first drive was only a few kilometers. Greatstays Guest House offers a very neat and comfy guestrooms with a nice terrace, garden, and a pool, in a very quiet neighborhood, less than 10 kilometers west from the airport.
On the first afternoon, we just relaxed in our room and on the terrace, from our straining journey. On the morning of the next day, we have arranged with our guesthouse for a private Johannesburg sightseeing tour with their driver. Richard, the driver, was a very knowledgeable guide, and in three hours, he showed us most tourist attractions in the center of Johannesburg, something that we could not accomplish in a whole day if we would be on our own.
In the afternoon, the three of us made a trip to Pretoria in our own rented car. Pretoria impressed us as a very green and orderly town, with the traffic far less hectic than we were afraid it will be. Apart from Union Buildings and some other historic monuments in the city, we also visited its zoo. Little did we know that we will see an abundance of wildlife, in its pristine natural environment, later on during our journey…