Sawubona! Welcome to South Africa

The journey from New York City to Johannesburg is the longest flight I’ve ever taken. After being airborne for about eight hours, I had a stopover in West Africa, so that the plane could refuel. Eight hours after that, the plane finally touched ground in Johannesburg.

Welcome to South Africa! Christopher here – your guide as we explore this amazing country!

My first step on to the African continent is an excited leap! After passing through immigration, where I got a nifty visa sticker for my passport, I pile into a van with my fellow travellers en route to the hotel.

Driving through Johannesburg, I press my face to the car window, trying to take in the city even though it was nighttime. I immediately notice three things: bright city lights, bumper to bumper traffic, and hundreds of houses surrounded with high walls with razor wire.

Johannesburg has a reputation of being one of the most dangerous cities in the world. However I’m curious if this is true or if the city just has a bad reputation in the media. Like every new place I visit, I will explore with caution and an open mind.

This is my first time visiting a country in which English is not the major language. I want to be prepared to greet everyone I meet in their native language. This will not be an easy task, because South Africa has eleven official languages: Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Xhosa, Zulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, Swati, Tshivenda, and Xitsonga. Try saying all these three times fast!