Johannesburg, South Africa has the notorious reputation of being one of the most dangerous cities in all of Africa (and all of the world). That is not something to be proud of and it was not a place we were looking forward to spending time. People warn you to drive around with your windows up and doors locked with nothing inviting visible in the car. Car-jackings are common and people wouldn’t hesitate to break a window and take your bag from the backseat if they so desired. Everyone lives behind a high wall with a security system and electric or barbed wire fence. Walking in some parts of the city, even during the daytime, is not advised. And the list goes on.

However, with our parents flights taking them in and out of the JoBurg airport (visits 8 and 9 out of 10 to JHB), and with the visa and passport stuff we had to take care of there (4 visits to the Indian Consulate, 3 to the Mozambique Consulate, 1 to the US Embassy), we ended up spending a total of 9 nights in this scary place. To its credit, we experienced absolutely no problems beyond our own paranoia. We came across some lovely neighborhoods, beautiful outdoor malls, safe and prosperous suburbs, a very interesting museum about Apartheid, and delicious restaurants. We saw how people can live comfortably here and why they might choose to do so!

Apartheid Museum

OB - Our favorite restaurant chain in SA

We have to give some special recognition to Patrick at Mbizi Backpackers, where we stayed 8 (non-consectutive) nights in JoBurg. He runs a great little spot in the house that he grew up in, and at this point we have spent more days at his place than in any other spot on our travels.

Our host Patrick

Patrick's hostel - Mbizi Backpackers

However to prove that JoBurg is kinda as scary as we were warned, between stays at Mbizi while we were in Mozambique, poor Patrick got robbed for over the 30th TIME in his life, and his neighbor’s girlfriend got car-jacked the same night. Yikes! I guess we should be thankful that we made it out safely after all…

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