I have to admit it -- I was a bit surprised to see that there was a suggested reading list for this trip. But, I wanted to be a good doobee, so I read the short Mandela book recommended for the students and then dove into the rather long, "Long Walk to Freedom," Mandela's autobiography. I am so glad I did! It let me put many things into historical context and more fully appreciate everything we saw. For example, when we landed at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, I knew who Oliver Tambo was. And when we visited the Walter Sisulu Botanical Garden, I knew who he was too.
The botanical gardens was our first real introduction to South Africa and it reminded many of us of southern California in its fauna. The highlight for our crew was a beautiful waterfall and the hiking trail that led to the top of it.