A little over a year ago we were flying home a bit dejected because the trip to Uganda didn't end up going as we had hoped. However, despite the fact that at that moment we swore that we would not travel again for a long time (it did not last long), almost twelve months later we returned to Africa to fulfill our dream: to see the Okavango Delta .
After months of preparation, we flew via Paris to Johannesburg on the Airbus 380 , the largest commercial aircraft on the market, as it has two floors and nearly 500 passenger seats. As we looked at it through the window of the terminal, we couldn't stop thinking about whether that piece of plane would be capable of taking off... and we got the answer a little later.
Despite the large size of the plane, there is little space between the seats. Downstairs, economy class seats are lined up in 3-4-3 seating, and there is just enough space in the aisles for flight attendants to serve food and drinks. It gives you the feeling of being in a sardine can. However, when the plane began to move to move to the takeoff runway, it seemed that it didn't even move. The Airbus A380 has three exterior cameras with which passengers can see from their seats and live how it takes off and lands, which was interesting and strange at the same time. During takeoff the plane was smooth and throughout the flight we hardly noticed any turbulence. In addition, inside the plane there was almost no noise from the engines. A luxury.
At the scheduled time, we landed at the Johannesburg airport, went through passport control (a visa is not required if you are Spanish) and went to the Avis office to pick up the car we had reserved. It was a mid-size Golf type car, but just two months earlier, we signed up for Avis Preferred for free , which is Avis' free loyalty card.
The good thing about having this card is that you save a lot of queues, because they have an exclusive counter for members and, also, as soon as you get it, as a welcome they give you an upgrade on your next rental. So for the same price we ended up getting a Toyota Corolla with a huge trunk.
In addition, we decided to take out the extra supersaver insurance (18 rands/day) that covers wheels and windows. They told us that if we had a flat tire or broken window, we could go to the nearest Avis office to have it fixed.
Once in the car, we went to the nearby Outdoors Warehouse which, to give you an idea, is a kind of Decathlon of outdoor activities. There we bought two metal 20-liter gasoline drums (300 rands each) and an elongated accessory (130 rands) to make it easier to empty the gasoline drum into the tank. As gas stations are scarce outside the big cities and the distances are very long, we prefer to buy the cans to travel more calmly.
For more peace of mind we also bought a GPS in the same Outdoors Warehouse. We asked Avis what the price was to rent the device at AVIS and we saw that it was the same as buying it, so we also invested in it. At first it was not clear to us, but several fellow travelers, such as Héctor from My trunk of blogsThey recommended that we take a GPS, especially when you have to cross large cities like Johannesburg and Pretoria. We finally bought the GARMIN NUVI 42 for 1350 rand. GPS has lifetime updated free maps of South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland. So, if we travel here again, we already have them. They have also told us to buy a sticker so that the car has South African nationality. They told us that it is possible that they could claim it from us at the border, so for 19 rands we also bought it.
After shopping we went to our accommodation in Johannesburg, the Thatchfoord Lodge hotel , which is a charming little B&B, located in a residential area (closed with security) near Sandton. To start the trip on the right foot and treat ourselves with care, we booked the honeymoon room , which is the largest and even has a terrace (where I am writing this post). The B&B overlooks a ravine with a stream and it is very relaxing to feel how the water runs.
But the relaxation did not last long because we went back to the car to buy provisions. As this was going to be a long trip and with a lot of distance between towns, we went to a supermarket located in a huge shopping center to buy provisions for the road: lots of water, nuts, snacks and cookies. No meat, fruit or vegetables, because at the border with Botswana they confiscate it.
And after the shopping frenzy, we went back to the hotel to relax and rest from the bad night on the plane. About Johannesburg, I can tell you little. At the moment we have only seen highways and shopping centers. The next day, we would visit Johannesburg, so I will be able to tell you more about this city.
Data of interest
Warn. Medium-sized car rental for 16 days: €362 (windows and wheels insurance separately). One piece of advice is to get the Avis preferred card . This way you will save queues and they will give you a VIP treatment. Remember that if you rent a car in South Africa and want to visit other neighboring countries, you have to notify them in advance so that they can prepare the documentation for you. We book directly on Avis.es
Outdoor Warehouse . It has a number of outlets throughout South Africa, but there is one just a five minute drive from the airport (Rocnic Industrial Park, 75 North Rand Road). Here you can buy camping equipment and everything you need to go on an adventure trip.
Thatchfoord Lodge . Sandton-Johannesburg. Willows room (honeymoon) €107/night with wi-fi and breakfast included, which we booked through Trivago.