Wandering South of the Equator

Brazil + South Africa, Here We Come!

It has been one heckuva crazy month – especially the past week. In the last 4 days, my team went to market with a huge study, I had my first employee review on the new job, I snuggled with a close friend’s brand new baby, I bought a condo (and speed painted two bedrooms), and prepared to leave for a big, exciting, holy crap I can’t believe it’s here… trip. Tomorrow is the big day – Katy and I will depart Chicago (just hours shy of the kick off of St. Pattie’s Day bar crawls) and enjoy two adventure filled weeks in Brazil and South Africa!

Preparing for this trip was no walk in the park. Unlike our other travels to Europe and across the U.S., heading South of the Equator has proven to take a lot of time, money and patience. From applying for Brazilian Visas – to trying to translate Portuguese via Google Translate – to getting four vaccination injections – to wiring money over the internet… it’s been a whirlwind. But now, it’s time for lift off.

The Itinerary 

Days 1 – 2 Sao Paulo, Brazil

As United Mileageplus members, we enjoy some travel luxuries like free luggage, early-access boarding, and the occasional pass for the United Club. However, one of the best United perks of all are free stopovers. FREE STOPOVERS! We didn’t quite know how this worked on trips in the past, but finally will get to take advantage of it on this trip. This blog showed us how to get free stopovers on United. And so, we extended out 7 hour layover in Sao Paulo to two days, which will give us just enough time to get a small taste of the city and see some awesome bands at Lollapalooza Brasil!


Days 3-7 Kruger, South Africa

Next we’ll be flying into Johannesburg and taking a private safari in Kruger National Park. There we’ll stay for four nights and hope to get killer sightings of all of the Big 5. We’re packing ample malaria pills, mosquito nets, and mosquito repellent clothes spray. While it’s calling for rain right now, some of my most memorable trips were made better because of the rain. So we’ll see if this one turns out the same.

kruger national park; south africa

Days 7-11 Driving the Garden Route

After the safari, we’ll fly to Port Elizabeth, pick up a rental car and try our luck at driving on the opposite side of the road. I have a feeling Katy is going to leave that part to me. :/ Eeek. It will be an adventure! All along the garden route there are beautiful sights to be seen and thrills to be seeked. The total drive between Port Elizabeth and Cape Town is only 8 hours, but we’ll spread it out over the four days and stay in some absolutely incredible and/or interesting spots all along the way.


Days 11-15 Exploring Cape Town

The end of our trip will  be spent exploring Cape Town. We may do wineries, shark diving, warm water penguin hanging or maybe just some resting in our rooftop airstream trailer. This is real my friends, and it is actually where we will be staying.


How to Overpack for Africa

While I wish I would have had a little more time to pack, unpack, and repack my suitcase this week – I feel like I have everything I could possibly need for this trip (knock on wood). I’ll be publishing a blog when we return with all the details of what we brought, what we needed and what we definitely didn’t need.


I hope you’ll continue reading along as I have big plans to share all kinds of amazing stories from this trip with you over the next few weeks (as wifi allows).

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