My first solo travel day in South Africa

I had booked my trip to South Africa and was super excited to see wonderful nature and just be able to relax after working 50-60 hours pr week for 4 months. After booking my trip everyone kept telling me how unsafe it was to go there alone as a girl. Having traveled many times all by myself before, I wasn’t skeptical until some friends told me how they had friends who had been shot. 

I couldn’t believe it when one of my South African friends in Copenhagen told me why he loved living in Denmark. For me, I thought it was really strange. Why would someone leave a beautiful country like South Africa to move to Copenhagen, where everything is more expensive and the weather is horrible most of the time?

Well, when he told me about all the incidents that happened when he lived on farm in Mpumalanga, I realized that South Africa might not be as safe as I had wished for. Shootings was part of the daily life in some parts of South Africa and my friend had experienced it himself having friends shot and killed.

However, I was on my plane towards Johannesburg and just prayed for the best. I had never experienced any major dangers on my travels, so hopefully this time things would be just as any other regular trip abroad.

I landed in Johannesburg and had a connecting flight to Durban, where my trip would officially start. Arriving in Durban at night and not being able to find the driver I had ordered a few days before, I chose to go outside the airport to see if he was standing outside waiting for me. But no – he was nowhere to be find. And stepping outside the airport at night not knowing where to go is creepier than I had thought. To be honest, I wasn’t sure exactly what to do.

Luckily, I found an ATM inside the airport, got some cash out and was happy to at leas have some money with me. Most airports have wi-fi, but the slow connecting didn’t make it possible for me to get in touch with the hotel I was staying at. And phoning them would probably have been super expensive (I am a student, so of course I need to be careful with my spendings).

In the end I found my driver after having searched for him for half an hour. He had a sign with my name on it, and even though he humped on one of his legs I just chose to trust him right away.

The drive went for 20 minutes and during this talk I really got to know about the local people and his life. He had been in a car accident, which was why he couldn’t walk properly. And he had never been outside the city before. He wished to one day be able to go to Johannesburg, Dubai or Paris. In my mind these were 3 very different cities. And Johannesburg would only be a 7 hour drive away! I told him to go to Paris, because I believe that of the 3 cities he mentioned, Paris is probably the most authentic city to go to and the one with the best and most historical sights.

I hope for him to one day be able to see something else than just Durban.

Arriving in my hotel room, which was room number 1 and called The Girly Room, I was happy that my first day in South Africa went well after all.
I had been a bit scared along the way. But if there’s no excitement while traveling, then why even do it, right?

Have you ever been a bit scared when traveling alone? Let me know about your past experiences!

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