When you cry out of joy you realize that you’ve seen something beautiful, far beyond your imagination. That’s exactly what happened in South Africa. Travelling across the Rainbow Nation was the most cathartic experience of my life. I think I might run out of words to describe how I felt in the two weeks I spent there!

We visited Cape Town first and I’d definitely underestimated how gorgeous this city is. Cape Town is paradise on Earth – blue oceans, luscious gardens and rocky mountain cliffs. While we drove through the city I thought to myself – God had taken his sweet time in creating this wonderful place. So what makes this city so special? Walking through clouds, dipping your feet in the cold Atlantic Ocean, incredible sunsets, baboons bartering with human beings, ostriches casually strutting past your car, penguins relaxing on a beach, and whale-watching are all pretty magical experiences.

We then drove through the Panorama Route and were treated to exquisite views of the country starting from stunning gorges to geological wonders like the Three Rondavels.

Before we could get over the sheer beauty of the Mpumalanga region, we somehow made it to the animal king- dom – Kruger National Park.

There are three moments that I will distinctly remember from our time in the Kruger National Park. During one of our game drives we were treated to the sight of hundreds of Cape buffaloes descending on the bank of a river to drink water. That was trumped by an African sunset where we saw a herd of elephants share a waterhole with a baby rhinoceros and its mother. It felt like a scene from The Lion King and I just kept muttering to myself that this was unreal. Finally, after 20 hours of game drives and seemingly endless searching, we saw a pride of seventeen lions. I cried – I cried because of happiness, wonder and surprise. The whole moment was surreal!

However, it isn’t all rainbows and butterflies. South Africa has a dark past – apartheid. We were very deter- mined about visiting the District Six Museum to learn more about the horrific brutalities that had happened in Mandela’s country. Listening to the heart-wrenching stories from the people who were directly impacted by the systematic racial segregation in South Africa was eye opening.

I became more aware of how the human race can be heartless, but also learned about the remarkable resilience of the South African people.

I didn’t understand when people said that their travels had changed them until I visited South Africa. This country, its people and its food had a profound impact on me. It made me think and question the ways of life and the human race. Not a lot of places can do that to you. It was a life changing adventure for me and I am counting days until I can go back and immerse myself in its beauty again.