“That’s it,” I said, getting into my battered Mazda 323. It was 1984, and I was leaving Johannesburg, the city that had been my home for two decades, without a backward glance. Recently, with the decline in all things travel, I found myself venturing back there, reinvented as a sales rep.
And Joburg – with its enormous urban forest, its golden light, the drama of its electrical storms – has taken root in my affections. The powerhouse of sub-Saharan Africa exudes a tangible energy and refreshing optimism reflected in new hotel openings for 2021, the best of which is likely to be The Mighty Fine. Slated to open in February, the Tristan du Plessis-designed hotel will be the city’s hippest haunt, catering for creatives on business – and hopefully the occasional sales rep.
Joburg is also the perfect springboard into Limpopo, that lush north-eastern corner of South Africa. My plan is to stop for a hands-on conservation experience at new Marataba Conservation Camps, then head on to Kings Walden to explore the region’s most beautiful private garden, now tended by third-generation gardener and ebullient host Bridget Hilton-Barber.
Next up, I’ll catch the tail end of “Meet the Makers”, the new craft tour that’s been developed by Marion Ellis, and finally, through Punda Maria Gate into Kruger, an immersion into a world unchanged for millennia.
Pippa de Bruyn, Telegraph Travel – UK, 26 December 2020