Trip Region: Sub-Saharan Africa
Country(ies): South Africa & Swaziland
Partners Trek? No
Airfare Estimate: $1300
Structure: 3 • Lodging: 3 • Nightlife: 3 • Activity: 3
Start your Ross MBA on the right foot by heading to South Africa, a country on everyone’s bucket list! As a group of people who love being unconventional, we’re going off the beaten path (literally from the city to the bush) and are spending our trek exploring the northern part of the country. We’ll live the city life in Johannesburg and learn about South Africa’s rich history before having the experience of a lifetime spotting animals in Kruger National Park. We’ll then make a quick pit stop in the country of Swaziland before hitting the beach life in Kosi Bay and Durban. If you don’t want to choose between culture, activity, and a legit nightlife, come trek with us!
Day 1 — Friday, Aug 18
Travel from Ann Arbor to Johannesburg.
Day 2 — Saturday, Aug 19
After arriving in sunny Johannesburg, we’ll settle into the hotel we’ll be staying at for the next few nights, meet our guide, and then venture out on a tour of the Apartheid Museum. The Apartheid Museum is the pre-eminent museum in the world dealing with 20th century South Africa, at the heart of which is the apartheid story. The museum is the perfect place to start our trek - a beacon of hope showing the world how South Africa is coming to terms with its oppressive past and working towards a future that all South Africans can call their own. We’ll spend the evening in Sandton and Rosebank, exploring all of the good eats and nightlife the city has to offer.
Day 3 — Sunday, Aug 20
Today we will explore Maboneng, an urban neighborhood names for the Sotho word meaning Place of Light. “With its beginnings in art, Maboneng has evolved into a collaborative hub of culture, business and lifestyle that entices curiosity, encourages exploration and promotes a sense of urban togetherness. Maboneng is a destination on the eastern side of the city's business district offering retail stores, entertainment venues and restaurants mixed with residential, office and industrial spaces that appeal to a wide variety of people and businesses.” To quote Amy’s cousin “You can spend the whole day at Maboneng - Sundays are just brilliant there.” Think: local food stalls, open air bars, live music, South African markets, art exhibits, etc.
Day 4 — Monday, Aug 21
After breakfast, we make our way to Soweto, for a cycle tour that will take us to some of the most interesting historical sites around the township. Visit the formal migrant workers’ hostel and be introduced to conditions of male mine workers and meet the families that live here today. Cycle through the vibrant community of Meadowlands, and continue to the Hector Pieterson Memorial, the historical landmark of the 1976 student’s uprising, proceed to the famous Vilakazi Street where Nelson Mandela used to live. Cycle back to the starting point, where we settle down for some lunch. After lunch, we make our way to the SAB World of Beer, and you’ll quickly discover why it has twice been named the number one tourist attraction in South Africa. This intriguing, entertaining and interactive journey explores the rich history of beer, uncovering the important role it has played culturally, socially and economically across space and time. We return to our hotel in the late afternoon for a relaxing evening out.
Day 5 — Tuesday, Aug 22
Up early we depart Johannesburg around 5am to have enough time to cover the distance and all the activities planned for today, and make it to Kruger National Park (KNP). On our way we will visit the well-known Panoramic route, visiting sites such as Blyde River Canyon, Three Rondavels and God’s Window, before heading for the Kruger gate. KNP is the largest game reserve in South Africa, home to 156 mammal species, 100 species of reptiles, and over 500 varieties of bird. It is basically synonymous with “safari.” Our two days in the park will start with a night game drive.
Day 6 — Wednesday, Aug 23
Today we venture out on Open Vehicles for a full day game drive within Kruger Park. We’ll stop at some of the waterholes and picnic sites in the park during the course of the day. Our main focus is to discover more of the animals indigenous to South Africa, including the Big Five (elephant, black rhinoceros, buffalo, lion, and leopard) and the endangered African wild dog.
Day 7 — Thursday, Aug 24
After breakfast we make our way south out of the park, with one last game drive in our own vehicle, before heading for Swaziland, one of two small land-locked countries within South Africa. Once we have entered Swaziland we will visit a local cultural village, for an interactive lunch. Matsamo Cultural Village is considered to be one of the best cultural experiences in South Africa and will provide the perfect introduction to the Swazi people and culture. We depart for Hlane National Park and settle into our accommodation for the night.
Day 8 — Friday, Aug 25
Up early we venture out on a morning bush walk, before packing up and making our way back into South Africa. Our end destination being Kosi Bay, is well known for its series of interlinked lakes and some of the quietest beaches in South Africa. We’ll spend the rest of the day hanging out by the beach and partaking in the many optional activities available, such as kayaking, boat cruise on the lakes etc.
Day 9 — Saturday, Aug 26
Up early, we’ll head out towards Durban with enough time to visit the Dumazulu Cultural Village on our way. Watch as locals make spears, shields, baskets and clay pots. Peek into the world of the sangoma (traditional Zulu healer) and have a one on one reading. Experience the rhythmic drumbeat and dance of Africa. Taste Zulu beer and watch the throwing of the bones… We’ll then depart and make our way to Durban, the beach Capital City of the province of Kwa-ZuluNatal. Upon arrival we will check into our hotel for the next two nights, before having the rest of the day to explore the town or relax on the beach.
Day 10 — Sunday, Aug 27
We’ll have one final morning on the beaches of Durban before heading back to Michigan.
Day 11 — Monday, Aug 28
Travel from Durban to Ann Arbor.