I cannot begin to tell you how incredible the past few weeks have been. As much as I wish I could be including a recipe with this post, I feel I have way too much to share than just a dish. A new recipe will be up soon, promise. This is just going to be a summary of the trip with lots of pictures. I pinch myself every few minutes to make sure this was not just a dream. Yep, it was all real.
I arrived into Johannesburg on the 5th of November late evening and was immediately welcomed by the most hospitable and generous people. The first part of my trip was business (poker) and I finished 9th in a 6-max $1,000.00 entry tournament but had no luck in the WPT main event. I stayed at Emperor’s Palace Hotel and Casino. Definitely cool to see a Las Vegas style casino in such a beautiful location. From there, I went to the Lion Park to cuddle lion cubs, feed giraffe and drive around the protected enclosures to see the adult cats. Still pinching myself. Yes, still real.
From Emperor’s Palace, I was sent to the Ivory Tree Lodge in Pilanesberg for two nights. The resort is absolutely beautiful and serene. Each luxury suite is an unattached bungalow and the main area has a beautiful pool with more of a resort like feel while on such a natural and beautiful safari game reserve. Eating outside while looking out past the fence to see some visitors at any meal is just so cool. Can’t believe this is still something I just got back from, a week ago!
For the four total safari game drives, I got to see 4/5 of the “Big Five”. I hear the leopard is one of the most difficult to see when doing safari drives so I was super excited to see one the last day. On the departure day, I went to the Elephant Sanctuary and the Monkey Sanctuary. I will post more pictures from there and give details on each of those another day when I post my first South African “inspired” recipe.
The whole trip was magical, life changing and to be quite honest, one of the best experiences of my entire life. I left the country a different person. Fulfilled with love, understanding, and with more compassion and inspiration than I have ever felt before in my life. I will never be the same because of this trip. I fell in love in South Africa with the country, it’s creatures, it’s people.
I will be back.