The Nigerian squad took a South African Airways aircraft from Murtala Muhammed International Airport to Johannesburg on Friday, September 22, 2023, for a six-hour travel. It was great to be back in South Africa when I arrived at O.R. Tambo Johannesburg Airport on September 23, 2023 for the Summer in SA hosted by South African Tourism.
If you’re thinking about visiting South Africa during the busy Detty December season, now is the time to start planning. Keep in mind that as a Nigerian passport holder, you will need to apply for a visa, but once accepted, you may completely enjoy the nation without any limits (winks).
Our journey began with our arrival at the Davinci Hotel in Sandton. I had stayed at this hotel before, and it never ceased to impress with its beautiful decor, welcoming interior, and friendly reception staff. Since we arrived early in the morning, we needed some rest before embarking on our day’s adventures. After obtaining our room keys to freshen up and relax a bit, we headed out to the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit in Midrand for the DStv Delicious Festival. Everyone on the trip was bubbling with excitement as the DStv Delicious Festival was one of the most highly anticipated events of the year. We left the hotel for the festival venue, secured our VIP lounge tickets, and also explored other areas at the venue, including the general section, food stands, drink stations, and the vendors’ lounge. It was a delight to witness a variety of South African delicacies, from local Chakalaka and Pap to Mexican and Thai cuisines, not to mention ice cream and beer stands, and more. The VIP lounge was overflowing with a tempting array of food and drinks, leaving us spoiled for choice. We also had the pleasure of watching the award-winning Nigerian artist, Tems, graced the stage with her performance, a source of pride for all Nigerians. Among the delectable dishes we enjoyed, the standout was undoubtedly the scrumptious carrot cake.
Day Two: DStv Delicious with Maxwell
Having had a splendid time on Day One, we arrived at the festival venue early on the second day to secure our seats. We knew we were in for a treat as American artist Maxwell was scheduled to take the stage and captivate the audience. Our arrival at the VIP area was nothing short of stylish, and it being a Sunday morning, the organizers ensured that we didn’t miss our customary church service. As usual, the flow of food and drinks was uninterrupted, and we made sure to document every meal that graced our table. The meals were a gastronomic delight, and, of course, our cherished carrot cake made an appearance. Its popularity was evident as it was showcased on a dedicated platter at our table. The festivities were in full swing, offering great music, live performances by renowned artists, a fine selection of drinks and food, and an ambiance that was simply electrifying.
We were in the right place at the right time, celebrating Heritage Day in South Africa, a special day that falls on September 24 and acknowledges the rich cultural heritage of the nation. South Africans use this day to honor and remember the cultural diversity that characterizes their country. Various events and activities take place throughout the nation to mark this important day. Our itinerary was brimming with activities to join South Africans in celebrating this momentous occasion. We ventured into Maboneng Township, with our first stop at Alex Mall, which was brimming with historical tales, from the past to present-day South African heroes. From Alex Mall, we proceeded to Maboneng Arts and had the privilege of meeting an artist named Siphiwe Ngwenya. He welcomed us into his home, introduced us to his two beautiful daughters, and shared the stories behind his artwork. Siphiwe had turned his living room into an art gallery for people to admire his creations. Following our visit to Maboneng Arts, we embarked on the “long walk to freedom” through the Alexandra neighborhood and visited Nelson Mandela’s former residence. Back in the day, Nelson Mandela rented a room in this house when he first arrived in Alexandra, Johannesburg, in 1941. The house still stands today, albeit with a different occupant, and it remains a significant tourist attraction.
After learning about the history of Alexandra, exploring Maboneng Arts, and visiting Nelson Mandela’s house, we headed to Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton for a meal at Tangs. Later in the evening, we set out to Konka Day Club in Soweto, a high-end establishment known for its opulence and its appeal to celebrities, influencers, socialites, and artists alike.
After the lively events of the previous day, it was time for a change of scenery. We made our way to the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria, a massive granite structure located just south of Pretoria, South Africa. The monument sits atop a hill and was constructed to commemorate the Voortrekkers who departed the Cape Colony between 1835 and 1854. Our tour guide, Jason, provided us with insights into the history of the Voortrekkers and their interactions with the Zulus.
Lunch was enjoyed at La Parada restaurant, situated in Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton.
On this day, we embarked on a tour of Soweto, starting from Gold Reef City. It was a fascinating experience to learn about the people of Soweto, short for South Western Townships, and the significant history and memories that define this community. We also had the opportunity to visit the Soweto Brewing Company for a group beer tasting. Our journey continued with lunch at the 1947 restaurant on Vilakazi Street, after which we made our way back to the hotel.
We went for shopping around Sandton before heading back to Lagos.