We journeyed to South Africa not quite knowing what to expect, not entirely sure what we would find when we got there. In part this was because of the family history I have there, and all the emotions I have wrapped up in the rainbow nation as a result. In part this was because of the country's tumultuous recent past, which we knew could make it a challenging place to visit on an emotional level. And in part this was because, as a result of everything we'd been reading and everyone we'd been talking to, we were a bit concerned about our personal safety... more so than we've been on any of our travels in a very long, long time.
In the end, though, we needn't have ever worried. South Africa is an amazing, vibrant, and most of all an extraordinarily welcoming place. We never once felt the slightest bit unsafe – in fact, I don't think we've ever before felt so marvelously well looked-after. Complete strangers went out of their way on so many occasions to make sure we were okay, or to help us get to our destination. It's such an amazing place.
We came back home with our bags packed full of stories to share. We spent some very special time with some of my family in Johannesburg, and we adopted (and were adopted by) another family outside of Rustenburg. We met so many wonderful people, and made so many new friends. We hiked across mountains and walked along beaches, we baked in the African sun and were baptized by the rain. We did indeed find South Africa to be challenging on an emotional level, as we'd expected it would be. But in the end that made us love it all the more. We shed many a tear when we departed, but we made promises to return.
For now, we'd like to share a few of our favorite photos from a place that's captured our hearts like few before it ever had. And we can't wait to tell you all about it.
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