We flew back from Durban to Johannesburg on SafeAir, a budget airline on Sat evening 20 April 2019 and found the weather to be cold and raining.
Since we did not have much luggage, we had decided to catch the train from the airport to Santon train station from where our hotel free shuttle picked us up.
The train system in Johannesburg is very efficient and good value for money with multi-story underground or overground train station with car parks.
Next day was Sunday and we had to catch our flight at 8 pm. We planned to do a city tour of the city landmarks in the double decker red bus.
Therefore we left very early morning catching a train to the e the important places. We were dropped at the station which was very close to the hotel. At the station we noticed that red bus has a 10 percent discount.
Our stop was after two stations. We walked to the Red Bus Centre to buy the ticket for the Red Bus. The lady at the counter didn’t have any information regarding the discount. We told her that at the station we saw that there was 10 percent discount for the double decker Red Bus Ride. She clarified from the head office and yes we were right. So the other people who were after us got the 10 percent discount as well for their Red Bus Ride.
The red bus took us through various parts of Johannesburg and its landmarks. While going some suburbs we saw big mansions with very high electrical fences. This is something we could never imagine in Australia, being a very safe place.
Every office, Business areas were patrolled by the guards. That seemed very unusual to us. Again ass we don’t see this in Australia.
We visited the place where Gandhi was jailed and changed our bus there.
Apparently Gandhiji had a great impact on South Africa and at struggle against Apartheid. He is remembered and celebrated as a South African leader.
Our next stop was to Apartheid Museum. We roamed around the museum and saw and heard some fascinating stuff.
Johannesburg is still divided into affluent and poor areas, safe and unsafe areas and in some downtown areas the crime rate is very high.
On the way back in the afternoon, we caught the train again to Stanton station and were picked up by the Hotel shuttle. The weather was gloomy, windy and it was raining.
We wanted to treat our Turkish host, Davud and Salma for early dinner. Both of them were excited to meet with us again. Davud picked us up and this time we went to a shopping mall and an Indian eatery run by a Turkish man. We ordered the meal for four people. When the meal came we were very surprised as it was huge. It had rice, salad and four different kinds of chicken.
We had a great time meeting again with our host Davud and Salma, and enjoyed the delicious meal.
I wanted to buy sun flower seeds, (my favourite to pass on time on the plane) I found out that it is sold in Turkish shops. As being a great host, Davud rang around different shops and found one Turkish shop was still opened. He took us there, but unfortunately, the sunflower seeds were sold out there. Anyway, we bought some other items from there.
We took the hotel shuttle to drop us to the airport to catch the overnight flight to Abu Dhabi at 8 pm.
Our plane ride to Abu Dhabi was very smooth in a large jet of Etihad airlines. While we were attempting selfies in our seats, a very nice airhostess offered us to take our photos.
We took a black limousine from the airport to our resort known as Al Raha Beach Corniche. The friendly Pakistani driver briefed us about the city and provided much needed information.
The hotel had a good system of shuttle mini bus dropping and picking up to the shopping malls, the mosques and other places of entertainment.
There are huge shopping malls in Abu Dhabi, some with very pricey items. We did most of our shopping in the American Carrafour.
Next day we went to the most famous Abu Dhabi landmark, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center. We visited it earlier about eight years ago, but now it has become a huge complex.
Last time we went to Abu Dhabi we were dropped right near the mosque. But now they have a different system. We were dropped at the parking spot and were told that at a certain time the driver will come to pick us up.
We followed the crowd and went through a corridor and there were lots of machines where you register your name and then you walk. Lucky that they had buggy as well and we travelled by the buggy to reach to the mosque. It was a long walk.
Very organized system around the mosque and very helpful staff. Thank goodness that this time ladies didn’t have to wear a long toub.
They could enter the mosque in whatever they were wearing. Ladies and men who wore skirts or shorts were given long toub with a hoodie to wear.
It is a fascinating mosque. Very white and grand. The mosque courtyard floor was decorated with various flower patterns. This mosque is very famous and it is open for the tourists and visited by thousands of tourists each day.
While at the resort for two days we kept our daily routine of early morning gym and swimming in the upmarket swimming and spa complex.
Adjacent to the resort was beach area and we hired a jet ski for a half hour ride in the corniche waters that was much fun.
On Wednesday 24 April we caught the 14 hour flight back to Sydney arriving on Thursday 25 April at 6.30 am picked up from the airport by my eldest daughter Sakinah.
Back to home sweet home after a memorable trip to Africa.