It was the final night of AFAR Experiences South Africa, our four-day event in Johannesburg last October. We were on Vilakazi Street in the Soweto township. The performance by Mandla Mbambo’s Soweto choir had turned into an impromptu dance party. All of us—the performers, our local guests, and of course, our group of AFAR travelers—were singing, laughing, and taking photos. My friend Kate Fitzgerald, born and raised in Johannesburg, beamed as she told me, “Not only do I love the way you have shown your guests the city I love, you have also shown me Johannesburg in a whole new light.”
It was a remarkable four days. We heard an emotional talk from Denis Goldberg, a former ANC leader who was put on trial with Nelson Mandela and jailed for 22 years. We chatted with William Kentridge, one of South Africa’s most famous artists, in his studio. We met Edwin Cameron, the first openly gay Constitutional Court justice in South Africa. We played with children at the Ububele children’s center, heard a rare piano recital from award-winning composer Bongani Ndodana-Breen, and sat down to dinner in the homes of local hosts.
The goals of AFAR Experiences are to learn, connect, and celebrate, and we did all three in ways none of us will ever forget.
We love to put on AFAR Experiences events. It’s great to get together with some of our most enthusiastic and influential travelers to share a deep travel experience. In both Cairo and Johannesburg, our first two destinations, we were incredibly fortunate to work with locals who share our belief in the power of travel. I think it’s safe to say that everyone who has joined us has had unique experiences they never could have had on their own. And they may have even gained a new perspective on the world.
Our next destination is Australia. We are excited to be putting together an incredible Experiences event in Sydney, one of my favorite cities, from May 6 through 9. With the support of Tourism Australia and Qantas Airways, we are offering four fantastic days, each hosted by a different local who will introduce you to fascinating people, places, and things to do in this dynamic city. Post- and pre-Experience trips can take you throughout the country, from South Australia’s wine region to the Great Barrier Reef, Tasmania, and the Outback. If you have never been to Australia, here’s your chance. And even if you’ve visited many times, I promise we will show you sides of the country you’ve never seen. Find out more at afarexperiences.com. I hope you’ll join us.
Photo by Chris Saunders. This appeared in the January/February 2013 issue.