It was time to continue from Cape Town to Johannesburg. It felt that we had just scratched the surface of Cape Town and were missing out on a lot of cool stuff like Cederberg Rock Formations and Garden Route. But I guess I have a good reason to come back some day. But now it was time to have breakfast and head towards the airport to catch our flight to Johannesburg.
There are plenty of flights going between Cape Town and Johannesburg and if you book early with one of the low-cost airlines, you can get a flight for 25€ or so. We dawdled with all of our bookings and by the time we got to booking these flights, they were 64€ per person. But at least we chose pretty good flying times with flight departing from Cape Town at 11:45 and arriving at Johannesburg at 13:45. This meant that we didn’t need to hurry in the morning and could check into the hotel right when we arrived at the hotel in Johannesburg. There are two low-cost airlines Kulula and Mango and we chose Kulula because they had the best price-time ratio. 🙂
Everything went fine, but what was what happened 20 min before the flight was scheduled to leave. We stood in line waiting to board, when this guy started to weight everybody’s bags. When he got to us, he weighted my bag, which was 8kg and the limit was 7kg and apparently that was a super big deal. My friend’s bag was even a couple of kilos heavier, but it has never been a big deal. But this time the guy said that we must check our bags in, which would’ve been fine, but it turned out that in order to check our bags in, we needed to go back to the entrance hall and go to the check-in desk and not just to surrender our bags at the gate. So we ran with our bags through security from which you’re not supposed to run the other way to the check-in, which was already closed, but they printed the tags for our bags. After that it turned out that we also needed to run back with our bags. We had to push once again through security and just cut everybody in the line because we would’ve been late. After this we ran back to the gate with a few minutes to spare (luckily the gate wasn’t closed yet) and nobody gave a shit about our bags anymore. We just walked with them to the plane and placed them on the baggage shelf. I was so pissed that they made us jump through the hoops and it didn’t really matter. So if you are flying Kulula, make sure that you are not standing in line among the first to the gate. If you are one of the last, then nobody cares. The only thing that would make me choose Kulula again was their staff. We had a really friendly flight attendant, who gave us some recommendation of his favorite things in Johannesburg and another super funny flight attendant, who entertained us when we landed telling funny jokes. She also made the entire plane sing. 🙂
Finally we landed in Johannesburg and we decided to take a taxi to the hotel. There is apparently a Gautrain station not too far from our hotel, but we didn’t want to roam around the neighborhood with our luggage, so we chose the taxi. So we took a taxi and asked whether the meter was on. We were told that there is a fix fee from the airport to city center, but he can put the meter on if we wanted. We asked him to do so and in the end we saved about ZAR 150 (≈10€) as our hotel was located in Rosebank, Northern Suburbs and not really in the city center.
The hotel itself was a lovely place behind high walls and electric fence. But this seems how everybody, who has any property lives in South Africa. Even in Soweto (more about this later) if you have some money and property, you have barbed wire and/or electric fence. The Northern Suburbs are a rather affluent area, which means security company cars and signs, high walls, electric fences, and high insurance costs. So the income inequality is really obvious in South Africa and people spend a lot of time and money seeking the feeling of security.
Behind the walls The Parkwood had a peaceful and beautiful yard, a terrace and cozy rooms. The hotel had an age limit (only kids over 12 years old allowed) and it was really designed with grownups in mind. The only downside was that our wifi sometimes dropped, but that was a minor inconvenience.
At this point the time was already around 4 p.m. and we were hungry. About 1km away there is a mall and we decided to walk there and get something to eat. I have read that malls are considered safe environments and a lot of good restaurants are located in malls. This turned out to be true and we’ve had a couple of really excellent meals in mall restaurants, which is something I never expected to say. 😀
We wanted to go to a cafe called Tashas, but for some reason we didn’t find it and just had some food and dessert in a cafe called W. After that we went back to the hotel and just kicked back for the rest of the evening.