Trip Region: Sub-Saharan Africa
Country(ies): South Africa & Swaziland
Partners Trek? No
Trip Cost: $2580
Airfare Estimate: $1300
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.
Abhi "the Rup is on Fiya" Das
Long live the King of LIVE! We’re convinced Abhi has a side gig as a promoter for LIVE, where you’ll catch this smooth criminal on the dance floor almost always. Master of the hustle, Abhi has managed free trips to every major city during his first year. When he’s not jet-setting or at the club, he’s enriching us with his golden voice as the 6th Backstreet Boy at karaoke. Need to know where to party tonight? Check Abhi’s snaps for the latest action. As the life of the party, count on Abhi to keep us pushing forward in the city lights of Jo’burg. Before Ross, this dancing machine was financial modeling as a consultant at KPMG from Boston Strong. Abhi is ready to drop knowledge on maximizing the fun during your first year. Everyone loves Abhi and so will you.
Amy "Gold Digger" Goldsmith
Born and raised in Beantown, Amy is our resident South African by virtue of most of her family still living in South Africa. When Amy is not winning 1st place in drag shows, she’s busy fooling people with elaborate pranks. A master-baiter, she has been known to convert people into diehard fans of the national treasure that is Bachelor. Team Corrinne! Amy’s basically a girl scout. She’s that one person who has anything you’re looking for: hot glue gun; extra doorknobs; stamps; you name it! Ask her about the time she carried an ancient Indian chandelier across the Jordanian border or the time she was involved in an international jewelry heist. Breaking ice is never difficult with her. Prior to Ross, Amy kept herself busy by accidentally stealing pens from Repair the World, a non-profit in NYC.
Jen "Rich JC" Chang
While this yogi is the most zen, she hails straight off the mean streets of New York City and knows how to get things done. Jen’s the person you want around when you’re looking for a great backseat DJ (never a driver though!) or an Asian food restaurant recommendation. Captain of the Alley Bar Dream Team, every Wednesday Jen can be found corralling friends to pay homage to this sacred spot and dropping fresh requests to DJ Graffiti. Her diet is mainly ramen and BTB burrito bowls (a treasure you’ll cherish once you’re on a student budget at A2). Don’t let her looks deceive you as she can literally drink anyone under the table! An avid fan of lunch, Jen spent her time eating Sweetgreen salads at a desk at Citi before joining Ross.
Eric "Hwanger" Hwang
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Eric grew up loving baseball and the chic Hollywood lifestyle. He’s what the kids would call a suave BAMF who carries an evergreen clean-cut look and sports the finest kicks, no matter what the occasion. He is a legend among men when it comes to exploring the finer nightlife of Ann Arbor and is always a good time to be around! When not pretending to study, Eric can be found polishing his engraved tie pin or asking if baseball caps are permissible at the next bar we’re going to. Prior to Ross, Eric was thinking about growth strategies for his fashion startup when not tactfully dodging military checkpoints to rescue refugees.
Priyal "Peeps" Patel
A herbivore and a self-proclaimed Taco Bell aficionado, Priyal has been known to clean out restaurants of their supply of hot sauce. She hails from Houston, Texas y’all, and carries with her some of the illest dance-moves that range from fiery bhangra to funky flash mob scenes. On an average weeknight, she can be found either closing down the Rendezvous Hookah Lounge or sitting on the couch and conversing with household appliances as if they were people (her version of Netflix and Chill!). Her detest for Pusheen the internet cat is adorable; but, she literally LOVES everything else! Priyals’ positivity and happy energy are infectious, making her an affable business shark. Prior to Ross, Priyal was pushing the boundaries of work appropriate clothing at Appian, a software company.