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Wall in Johannesburg, South Africa |

If you saw this wall around your holiday accommodation would it inspire confidence or fear? This was the wall surrounding our hostel in Johannesburg, South Africa. Similar walls enclosed all neighbouring buildings. We had driven all the way from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth through towns and vast areas of countryside and we had felt completely safe at all times. When we arrived in Jo’burg, where we were only staying for one night before an onward journey, we were immediately struck by a sense of fear, between the appalling driving of our host (in a car with no seat belts) and the ominous walls and fences around almost every property. We ventured out for about 5 minutes to buy a phone card and I have never felt so threatened and uncomfortable in my life. The lions and leopards we subsequently encountered on our safari were pussycats by comparison.

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Wall in Johannesburg, South Africa |

14 Comments Post a comment
  1. The picture is powerfully unsettling….and then I read the other comments.

    I’m off to look at kitten videos to get my happy back. :O

    Powerful photo.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 19, 2015
  2. longchaps2 #

    Whoa. Looks a lot like a prison. You must have wondered what you were getting into. Yikes. Good thing it went smoothly.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 19, 2015
  3. Ouch! Reminds me how lucky I am ….

    Liked by 1 person

    March 19, 2015
  4. Gary #

    Just had another look at your Safari blog from 2007…can you believe it was 8 years ago? We were there a few years earlier and it seems our trip up to Port Elizabeth was somewhat more eventful…we narrowly avoided a car-jacking attempt on a lonely country road. Decided to take the scenic route R62 and stayed off the Motorway R2 (1st Mistake). Young boy walked out of bush in font of speeding jeep, managed to swerve past him and as I did so I saw 6 – 8 youth hiding in the bush waiting to pounce. I was later told that at best we would have lost the car and all our belongings! Next day , same road, saw a hand written sign ‘Beach this way’. Plenty of time, turned off the lonely country road on to a even more remote road (2nd mistake…yeah I know crazy. Arrived at a deserted Car Park beside a beach. Went for a walk with my two little girls Alex’ and Eva. Nobody on the beach…initially. Then noticed a gang of youths approaching from a distance. As they approached I noticed they were carrying pick-handles and a shovel. I convinced myself they were digging for bate! They crossed to block out exit to the car park…at that moment I picked out the leader with the sweating forehead and the bulging darting eyes and greeted him with the politest Dublin salutation “How’s it goin’ Lads?”. All the others just stood there waiting for his response…after a moments hesitation he simply replied “Ok” and stepped aside. After arriving late at our next Guest House and explaining our delay to an extremely anxious Landlord who discretely showed me an article on page 3 of the morning paper which read…”Gangs of Roaming Youths Target Tourists on Deserted Beaches” The article went on to say that the victims were battered to death and then buried in the dunes….

    Having said all of that…South Africa is still one of the most beautiful places on Earth and the girls still talk about the best holiday they ever had.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 19, 2015
    • Battered to death and buried in the dunes?! Gary, that’s the scariest story I’ve ever heard! Thank goodness you’re all ok. Maybe we were just lucky that we didn’t come across anything like that along the garden route. We had taken little of value with us after reading all the advice but we really didn’t notice anything that made us uncomfortable apart from Jo’burg. I also reckon that it was our best holiday ever. Yeh, can’t believe it’s been 7 years already. We had talked about going back for our 10th anniversary but now that seems too soon!

      Liked by 1 person

      March 19, 2015
  5. Lynn #

    I’ve heard similar fears expressed by friends who have been to Johannesburg. I would like to know how residents of the city feel. Do they always have to be fearful? Of course, tourists who read about the United States murder rate and our crazy gun laws, are probably fearful here, too. But I live in a medium-sized city, and am not afraid. However, there are certain parts of the town where I would never go alone at night.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 19, 2015
    • I guess there are dangers everywhere, Lynn. Even in Dublin there were places I wouldn’t walk alone at night and I would always be conscious of my personal possessions in case something might be snatched. But for the most part I felt safe and comfortable. Maybe it’s just because the extent of the wiring in Jo’burg was new to me but I found it very unsettling. But maybe the residents are used to it and feel perfectly safe.


      March 19, 2015
  6. That would be very unsettling.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 18, 2015
    • That’s exactly what it was, Nancy. Left us with a very uneasy feeling.


      March 19, 2015
  7. That looks like the place I stayed in Jo’burg! I never felt comfortable there either though I probably took some silly risks – still, all’s well that ends well! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    March 18, 2015
    • I was so glad we weren’t staying for a few nights. I don’t think I would have left the hostel even to go to the supermarket! Silly risks?! Any details for sharing?!

      Liked by 1 person

      March 18, 2015
      • Well, the guy who ran the hostel at least stopped me going out with a handbag and wearing my rings and watch. I had to put whatever I needed in my pockets or a plastic bag and leave the rest behind. Went to a couple of malls by myself and a wander around the local area. Flagged down one of the local mini-buses for a little jaunt, something I learned white people almost never do afterwards!

        Liked by 1 person

        March 18, 2015
      • Yikes! I didn’t even bring my rings or watch with me on the trip! That bus bit sounds scary!

        Liked by 1 person

        March 18, 2015
      • It was actually alright! I think Lonely Planet said you could do it so I did. Then I said it to people afterwards, and they were like ‘are you f*****g nuts?!’ 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        March 18, 2015

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