Looking ahead to South Africa

One-year-old Audrey walks on a Cape Town beach near Table Mountain during her first trip to South Africa in 2003.

Have you ever planned for a big family trip? My family is planning one right now. Some of you may remember that my family is going to South Africa in January. My dad got a Fulbright Scholarship to study the South African Constitution. 

We have gotten our passports and physical exams so we can apply for our South Africa Visas. We need visas because we are staying for almost eight months and need special permission to stay that long. We also have to buy our plane tickets. The plane ride is over 15 hours to travel to South Africa and about 18 to come home.

We will be staying in the Cape Town area. It is in the south of the country where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet. Cape Town is surrounded by Table Mountain. Table Mountain is special because it is flat at the top and not a point. There are penguins that live nearby at Boulders Beach and whale watching in August. There is even shark-cage diving but my parents won’t let us do that.

My parents have been looking online at houses that we could rent. We are trying to stay in a small beach community or maybe in the mountains near the coast. I’m hoping that in our back yard (which they call a garden) we will have a pool. Many houses seem to have pools.

We will also be traveling while we are in South Africa. Parts of South Africa have a mosquito-carrying disease called malaria. My family is planning to avoid those areas because there are plenty of places to see that are malaria free. We will see everything we want to see in Cape Town at least once. We are planning to take a drive along the Garden Route. The Garden Route is famous for its beautiful gardens, ancient forests, white sandy beaches, lakes, and somewhere along the route is the ostrich capital of the world.

Of course we are planning to go on a safari while we are there and I’m hoping to see the Big 5. The Big 5 are elephants, water buffalo, lions, rhinos and leopards. We hope to get to see smaller animals and birds too. 

We are planning to spend some time in Johannesburg. Johannesburg is where the Constitutional Court is and where the cases are argued in front of their Justices. The Constitutional Court is like our United States Supreme Court. My dad, mom and I lived in Johannesburg when I was one year old. They are hoping to show me our old house and some of the places we used to visit. They hope to take us to Pilansberg Nature Reserve. It is near Johannesburg, and there is evidence people lived there from the Stone and Iron Ages. 

I hope that we can do all these things and more. I’m planning to write for The Observer while I’m in South Africa. I know I will miss my friends when I am gone and my other family members. But it’s temporary. I will be back sometime in August. My parents are talking more and more about our trip because to them it’s right around the corner. To me, it’s still pretty far away, but I know it’s coming. 


Audrey Ray

Fifth-grader at Bay Middle School

Read More on Musings from the Middle
Volume 4, Issue 20, Posted 10:26 AM, 10.02.2012