Friday, December 29

Goodbye, South Africa

And just like that, it's over. I wrote on my arrival to South Africa the mixed feelings I had returning to a place I had found so striking all those years ago, and the fears I had of this trip not quite living up to the nostalgia did, to some extent, come to be pretty justified.

But now that I'm leaving (our final meal having been at Nandos, naturally) I've realised that I was being a little unfair; it's not South Africa's fault that my previous trip was so memorable, and even if it wasn't able to give me that time back I doubt that neither would plenty of other countries. In other words, rather than see this as a return to South Africa, I've begun to see it as a new trip to a country I didn't really explore as much before.

And in that framing it has been quite the trip. Five weeks, four countries, almost 4000km driven, 3300 photos (of which I kept 1190) and nine different beds has made this by far my most ambitious and involved trip ever. I'm still deciding if that was to its detriment or not, but overall I'm glad of the experience (as well as filling in those gaps I had missed on my last visit here). The trip was so long that we were reminiscing about parts of it before the whole thing had even ended.

That said, I did also enjoy the more dossy time I had in Johannesburg and Durban, and it was great to catch up with friends both old and new. And in some ways the pressure is off - if I was ever to visit South Africa again I know I won't have to do much of the tourist trail.

Of course considering how long it took me to go back this time around, whether its a given that I'll visit again is yet to be seen.

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