Sunday, 23 October 2016

IdiaxBNinSA: Lions & Elephant Kisses! See Day 3 & 4 of the North West Province, South African Tourism Hosting Trip

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Day 3: The Monkey and Elephant Sanctuary, Lion Park, and The Elephant Kiss
Once breakfast was over, guests said goodbye to Sun City and made their journey to Pretoria. En route, there was a stop at the Monkey and Elephant Sanctuary in Gauteng, which is in the North West Province of South Africa.
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The Elephant and Monkey Sanctuary is situated in Hartbeespoort Dam. Founded in 1999, it is a mere 45 minute drive from Sandton. On the tour, guests were informed that the sanctuary had grown from housing five elephants to a total of twelve African elephants.
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These elephants have been so well domesticated that they obey short phrases given to them by their trainers. For example, the elephants were instructed to flap their ears. The reason for this was given as protecting them from fleas and dust. And flap they did! How amazing! The elephants were also instructed to open their mouths and then raise their legs which they did too… These were to check for bruises, the instructor stated. Guests were able to touch, feed and get to know the elephants.

Coming so close to an elephant, the guests felt its power and bulk in contrast with the quietness, delicateness and grace of these mammoth creatures. A kiss from the elephant sealed the afternoon.

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A variety of monkeys could also be spotted wistfully jumping around and seeming to bask in all the attention they were getting from tourists and guests. The ape-like creatures were rather friendly towards the guests as they seemed to study each face that they came across almost as though to say hello; instructors were quick to warn that most monkeys were little thieves, one turn and your property will be stolen by them right before your eyes.

Next stop was the Lion Park, only a 30 minute drive from Sandton, Johannesburg, it offers terrific close encounters with lions, other predators and large herbivores indigenous to Africa. The Lion Park is home to over 80 lions including the rare white lions and many other carnivores such as cheetah, wild dog, brown hyena, striped hyena, spotted hyena, black-backed jackal, side-striped jackal, and a wide variety of antelope which roam freely in the antelope area.
Guests had the awesome opportunity to come close to the lions, and what would a visit to lion park be without photo proof to back it up?!?
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After a long and exciting day, guests were treated with a little taste of home, with dinner at a Nigerian restaurant in Pretoria.
This has been the longest and most adventurous day so far. Everyone was in high spirits heading back as they all look forward to what tomorrow holds in store.
Photos from Day 3
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Day 4
The trip and the day began with a buffet breakfast with all hosts getting their mouths full and ready for a day filled with more fun activity.
Off they went to the city of Pretoria, the executive capital of South Africa.
Arriving Pretoria, the hosts were taken to the freedom park. Built on a 52 hectare hill overlooking the whole of Pretoria, it was built as a memorial for the activists who sacrificed their lives in the historic fight for freedom for which South Africa is so well known. We were told on tour that former president of South Africa,Thabo Mbeki at the opening of Freedom Park, christened it the place of celebration and a tribute to humanity.
From freedom park, the guests went off to the Union Buildings. The Union Buildings form the official seat of the South African government and also house the offices of the president of South Africa. The Union Buildings occupy the highest point of Pretoria, and constitute a South African National Heritage.

The Buildings are one of the centres of political life in South Africa; “The Buildings” and “Arcadia” have become metonyms for the South African government. It has become an iconic landmark of Pretoria and South Africa in general, and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city and an emblem of democracy.
Here, some of the guests took photo bomb photos with the statue of late apartheid activist and historical legend, Nelson Mandela which overlooks the entire city.
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Jacaranda trees
Jacaranda trees

Afterwards, the guests headed south of Pretoria to the Voortrekker monument and enroute, the Jacaranda trees could not be missed. The bloomed purple petals which enveloped the streets of arcadia quickly stole the show as the guests were seen clamoring for photos with the trees. It brought out the playful side of everyone. Noble bumped into school children from the Lesedi La Thutoprimary school who wanted a photo taken with him, he gladly obliged.
The Voortrekker monument, a national heritage site, is a massive granite structure prominently located on a hilltop, and was raised to commemorate the Voortrekkers who left the Cape Colony between 1835 and 1854. The main entrance of the building leads into the domed Hall of Heroes. It is flanked by four huge arched windows made from yellow Belgian glass, contains the unique marble Historical frieze which is an intrinsic part of the design of the monument. It is the biggest marble frieze in the world.
Lunch was served at the Baobab Café and Grill, Menlyn. Set in a unique African setting, the guests were shown that there were blankets available in winter time for the guests and candle lights that light up at night which makes for a warm, cosy feel.
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Outside in the terrace where the guests had lunch, the NI express came in view as well as, the whole expanse of Pretoria. From the lunch table, guests were privy to seeing the hills in Pretoria, the large expanse of land filled with vegetation and trees, the busy hustle and bustle as cars drove past. A city and country feel at the same time!! The weather was warm and breezy; the ambiance of the entire restaurant was just right. It was made even more special with the warm staff who checked on the guests regularly catering to every need.
Finally it was time for some shopping which was done at the Menlyn Shopping centre. Set to take over as Africa’s largest mall once renovations are completed in November, 2016, it already boasts over 276 stores ranging from local to international fashion designers. In some stores, one could even find clothing that came in straight from the run way from internationally renowned designers. Guests were excited to have such a wide selection of clothing and did not hesitate to shop till they dropped.
In the end, it was time to head back to Johannesburg as some of the media blogger guests attended the MTV MAMA’s 2016 press event. Everyone is prepare for Africa’s largest musical event set to take place tomorrow, 22nd of October 2016 in Johannesburg.
It was still a fun-filled night as guests hit the clubs and explore Pretoria’s vibrant night life. Nonetheless, some rest would be needed as tomorrow looks to be a long day and night.
Keep your eyes glued for the activities and experiences throughout the trip! Follow their journey on Instagram with @Travel2SA and @FlySAA with official hashtags #IdiaxBNinSA#NigeriameetSouthAfrica#Ghanameetsouthafrica and #FlySAANigeria
Photos from Day 4
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