Trip Region: Sub-Saharan Africa
Country(ies): South Africa
Partners Trek? No
Trip Cost: $2793
Airfare Estimate: $1650
Nightlife: 7 • Activity: 6
Lions, and wine, and hiking, OH my! Is there anything better than potentially being chased down by a rhino, taking in gorgeous ocean views after a steep ascent up a mountain, and listening to the head writer of Follies make bad jokes for 9 days straight? We think not. Crank up the J Biebs because we’re not too late to Safari. Consider this your formal invitation to join the krew and kick-off your MBA experience by getting weird with us on this South African journey.
Our journey kicks-off in Johannesburg, where from day 1 we’ll get your legs moving with a bike ride around the colorful and cultural Soweto, but don’t worry, you can #bikeforyourbeers. From here we make our way to mothership of safari kingdoms, Kruger National Park. Brush up on your best Ace Ventura moves since we’ll be heading into the wild on daily game drives. While on safari, you all may or may not (read: definitely) will be responsible for hunting and cooking your meals as your Trek leaders look on…you can just think of it as action-based learning.
Next, pack up your binoculars (for animal watching only…you know who you are) and safari hats and put on your party pants, we’re doing a 180 where the gauntlet will be thrown as the final leg of our trek will be spent in beautiful Cape Town. This city has incredible beaches, booze, and braai so get ready for authentic south african food, vineyard tours, hikes, and penguins (we’ve asked, you can’t keep one but if we all put our heads together we might just be able to make some magic happen). Join us on this adventure and we’ll make sure to provide you with enough FOMO-inducing photo ops for your friends back at home and an experience you South AfriCAN’T miss.
Travel Day — Saturday, Aug 18
After a summer of getting your livers in peak form for two years of b-school, and your fearless trek leaders wrapping up internships after burning the midnight oil all summer, your Ross journey officially begins as we fly to Johannesburg (apparently the lokes call it Jo-Burg… pretty clever). The flight is...well, long. So, be sure to pack things to keep yourself entertained while you eat mediocre airplane food and your muscles start to atrophy.
Day 1 — Sunday, Aug 19
Howzit! Heita! We know it's been a long flight but there are no South AfriCAN'Ts only South AfriCANs from here on out. Our South African adventure begins in Johannesburg, where we’ll check into our hotel, engage in some serious group bonding (read: eat and drink everything in sight), and rest up for the big day ahead. Your trek leaders will tell you all about last year’s MTrek debauchery in Norway, Bali, and Croatia, and we’ll brainstorm ways to top it on this trip.
Day 2 — Monday, Aug 20
After a little jet lag recovery, we’ll meet our tour guide and tour around the colorful Soweto on bikes where we’ll visit sites like the Hector Pieterson Memorial and the famous Vilakazi street where Nelson Mandela lived. After we #EarnOurBeers on the bike tour, we’ll visit the SAB World of Beer for an interactive tour (read: samples aka primary research) about the history of beer in South Africa. We’ll wrap up the with a welcome dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 3 — Tuesday, Aug 21
Today's the day, Jo-burg was swell and all that but it's time to pack a snack, dust off your camera, slap on some bug spray, and strike your best Ace Venture pose cause we're going on a Safari. Our journey starts early as we head to Kruger National Park for the next few days to see some Giraffes, Tigers, and Elephants. No major activities are planned since it’s a travel day, but don't worry, there will be plenty of opportunities for you to crack out the Valencia filter and take some 'grams on route. We'll spend the night getting settled into the hotel and sharing our deepest, darkest secrets to bind our friendships permanently. Just kidding, but your Trek leaders do have a few ideas in store to keep things interesting...
Day 4 — Wednesday, Aug 22
Break out your best Wild Thornberry's gear (shout out late 90s Nickelodeon) today and crack out your favorite camera lens, as we’ll be doing a couple of game drives in the morning and afternoon. What’s a game drive, you ask? Exactly what you think - driving through the African landscape to get up close and personal with some of the Big 5, maybe give em a snuggle, get em all riled up, reenact every scene from every episode of Bear Grylls Man vs. Wild...who knows what'll happen!
Day 5 — Thursday, Aug 23
Another full day of game drives today. Because why spend only one day kicking it with elephants and lions when you can do it all over again? Not ones to let the dust settle, we'll really crank things up a notch by letting Abbie narrate the game drive with her best David Attenborough impression. When we're done with embracing our inner basicness out on the game drive (group jumping shot anyone?), we'll head back to the hotel for a chill afternoon. We need to save our energy because tomorrow we head to Cape Town, or as we like to call it...Cape Town.
Day 6 — Friday, Aug 24
After getting the last few verses of Hakuna Matata out of our system, we’ll bid farewell to the animal kingdom and jump on a flight to Cape Town today. Cape Town is home to some pretttttty sweet stuff, including Table Mountain hikes, penguin beaches (Andrew is that squealing noise you're hearing), and plenty of wineries for those who are thirsty. Once we check in to our hotel, we’ll grab dinner and have a free night to explore.
Day 7 — Saturday, Aug 25
Grab your fanny packs, we’re getting our tourist double dip on today, exploring both Table Mountain and Robben Island. Table Mountain is a big ol’ slab of rock that emerged out of the ocean 250 million years ago - and it’s Cape Town’s most prominent landmark. And we're going to hike up it. But seriously, grab your sneaks because we're going to break a sweat. We'll take the cable car down and after some much deserved lunch, we’ll check out the iconic Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years in confinement before the fall of apartheid. After a long day of being tourists, we're going to follow Dave's lead, take a nap, and then wake up ready to put our raging pants on (shorts are fine too) because we're spending the night out on Long Street.
Day 8 — Sunday, Aug 26
Any Happy Feet fans out there? Hope so. Today we’ll check out Boulder Beach, home of the famous Jackass Penguins. Andrew's not crying, you're crying! We know they say two wrongs don't make a right, but be sure to pack your speedos because we’ll also be taking a dip at False Bay. Following lunch, we’re gonna get our Anthony Bourdain on and partake in a cooking class in Cape Town’s colorful Bokaap neighborhood. After cooking up some delicious eats, we’ll enjoy a group dinner. The night ends (or perhaps, just begins!) as we head out for a night on the town. Bring your best dance moves be
Day 9 — Monday, Aug 27
Leave your dignity at the hotel today because we’re spending a full day at the wineries in Franschhoek. What better way to prepare for a 22+ hour flight home than by earning yourself a vicious wine hangover? Whether you’re a wine snob or a Two Buck Chuck buff, this day will be a blast for everyone involved and will be capped off with a glorious farewell dinner feast. Just remember, white + red does not = rose
Departure Day — Tuesday, Aug 28
After a final morning in Cape Town, we’ll board our flights back to Ann Arbor today. No reason to be sad, though! Even though you'll be just a few days away from "real life", you'll have the memories of safaris, winery days, and what we can only assume will be embarrassing nights out on the dance floor with your new family to see you through. See you all back at Skeeps...we mean Ross!
Dave "Ski Bunny of Skeeps" Auffenberg
Ever wondered what happens when you dip wonderbread into milk? Wonder no more. Originally from St. Louis, Dave has been incognito on the west coast for the last few years working at Eventbrite, using his Allbirds, penchant for golf, and job in tech to throw people off his tracks. But now, back in his natural mid-western habitat, Dave has rekindled his love for a neatly pleated slack and is not just surviving but thriving. When he’s not gearing up for Taco Tuesday, playing all sports ball-and-stick related, or crushing pitchers of long-island iced teas at Skeeps (he says it’s Bud Lite but we all know he’s lying), Dave is running point as part of the Exec Boards for Ski Club, Consulting Club, and is President of the little known or cared about Sports Business Association. More importantly though, on a scale from 1-10, how much do you love naps? For Dave, the limit does not exist. Having napped his way through the entire country of Norway, Dave is ready to take his ability to waste a beautiful view to the next level in South Africa. If you want to nap adjacent to elephants and lions, and wake up ready to rage with some ‘ronas in Capetown, Dave is the leader for you.
Likes: Taco Tuesday, Brightly colored polo shirts, Skiing, Country music
No-no zone: Staying awake on a moving vehicle
Shannon "Silent but Deadly" Disbrow
We don’t know where Shannon came from, who sent her, or what she wants, but what we do know is that she thinks you’re tacky and hates you (well maybe not you…but definitely us). Don’t let her stink eye fool you though, Shannon is the human embodiment of Survivor. In that she’ll outwit, outplay, and outlast each and everyone one of you when it comes to partying. Only, you won’t know it until it’s too late and you’re already 8 hours deep at The Real World house in Key West, weeping on a giant inflatable pizza slice praying for a nap and questioning every life choice you’ve made since birth while Shannon’s lounging by the pool knocking back ‘ritas looking fresh as a daisy (purely hypothetical of course). As the future leader (aka Qween) of Skeeps and current crusader for the plight of the residents of Forest Plaza, Shannon is taking her talents to Chicago this summer as a freshly minted consultant. Shannon is amped and ready to see some animals (or whatever) and already has her pedialyte powder queued up and ready to go for the party beast she is gearing up to unleash in Cape Town.
Andrew "Don't Ya Know" Hartman
Andrew is from Minnesota. Enough said.
Hewn from sturdy Minnesotan and Norwegian roots, Andrew is what would happen if you put Miracle-gro on Dave. Hailing from the exotic reaches of St. Cloud, Minnesota, Andrew has come to Ross for one purpose and one purpose only. To drink as much light beer and play as much hockey as he possibly can, so we can all tip our hats off to this viking as he has indeed drank all the light beer and played all the hockey. As president of the hockey club, Andrew’s first decree was to rename goals to “you betcha’s”. He’s not a one trick pony though, you can also find him crushing the slopes on his board, and while he might blend in with the snow, you can find him by the steady stream of “brahs” echoing off the hill. Don’t be fooled by his sturdy, pale exterior though, Andrew has a softer side…really more of an undying passion…zest if you will…for penguins. Where are we staying on this trip? Don’t ask Andrew. What are we doing each day? Andrew has no clue. Are we seeing penguins? Ask Andrew. We’re not sure if its their shared affinity for the cold or that if you squint real hard and stand at a distance they could (maybe) look like hockey pucks, but what we do know is that Andrew is going to be squealing louder than a 13 year old girl at a One Direction concert when we get to Boulder Beach.
Likes: ‘Ritas, being friendly, hockey, drinking things
No no zone: people from Wisconsin
Rachel "Snugs and Hugs" Sebastian
What happens when a box of (organic) granola mates with a cheetah during a hike? Rachel Sebastian, that’s what. This Portland-bred, New York hardened gal is “beautiful inside and out” – another MBA1. There are three things we know for sure about Rachel: 1) She’s fast AF. A D1 runner in college, she achieved the pinnacle of her career by claiming fastest MBA at this years “athletically” rigorous MBA games (our dumpy potato bodies cheered from the sidelines) 2) She knows ALL the people, we mean everyone. She probably already knows you and is sending you a message right now to go to Skeeps…go on, check your phone 3) Her one and only nemesis is cheese. While Rachel is the newest leader of the consultant army…we mean club, being from Portland and having an affinity for all things mountain related/shaped/adjacent, she is also taking on the very important role of VP of Onesies & Sendies on the Ski Club. Don’t let this badass boss lady exterior fool you though, Rachel primarily subsists on a steady diet of hugs, cuddles, nuzzles, and constant human contact (no cheese though!). She’s like the Golden retriever you always dreamt of. Rachel is jazzed for this South African hootenanny and is ready to see some animals, chug some vino, thrust her hips in all sorts of directions, and most definitely runaway and leave us all for death should we get into a stampede situation (we’re 86% confident that won’t happen).
Likes: Hikes, 151 rum, taco tuesday, vertical inclines, ratchet-lite music
No No zone: coffee…or cheese…or tequila…better yet, just don’t feed her
Abbie "No, I don't know Drake" Liederman
The hair of Justin Trudeau, the wisdom of Alex Trebek, and the body and sex appeal of Drew Carey, Abbie is our resident Canadian and she will NOT let you forget it. As the leader of Follies and BUS management, Abbie has contributed nothing of academic or professional value to the Ross community, and frankly we’re a little concerned she got through the admissions filter. What she lacks in academic rigour though, she makes up for in inane facts about Canada and all the secrets she keeps in her luscious hair. And while she may not be the hero we asked for, by god she’s the hero we got. Where are we staying on this trip? Ask Abbie. What are we doing each day? Abbie’s got it on lock. Do we have any granola bars? Probably, Abbie gets snacky. It’s fair to assume that Abbie has the equal and exact inverse amount of knowledge re: this trip as Andrew. But what this pint-sized (she’s 5”…but a tall 5”, really more 5”1) powerhouse, consultant-in-training lacks in stature she makes up for in zesty one-liners and b*thcin’ dance moves which will be on full display in Cape Town. As our only leader with any South African roots (¼ of this glorious specimen), Abbie is excited to honor the proud and noble heritage of her ancestors by making sure we all rage our beautiful faces off. She has also generously volunteered as tribute in the event of said stampede (re: Rachel’s bio) and will gladly buy us all time as we run to the Jeep.
Likes: Robin Sparkles,‘ronas & ‘ritas, red lipstick, Justin Trudeau’s bum
No No zone: saying that New York bagels > Montreal bagels
Our fallen leader, we went through all 5 stages of grief when he ditched us for “work” and his “future career” and though we tried, we just can’t be mad at him. A majestic combination of beauty and brawn, we’re pretty confident that at least 1 in every 5 MBAs have silently giggled to themselves after this dreamboat smiled at them. While he won’t be joining us on our South African shenanigans (we’re not mad, we’re just disappointed) due to his questionable choice of internship and the garbage policy on changing end-dates, he’s an honorary trek leader and you can expect to see his bearded mug at all following trek reunions.