What better way to ease myself in to the idea of interrailing for 6 months; do some vital preparation for the 10-bed shared dorms, living on a budget, lugging around a hefty backpack; and truly get a feel for the European way of life than… a week staying in a beautiful family home in a secure gated community with private outdoor swimming pool, sunning myself in South Africa – obviously.

This little (ahem) guy is Giraffey, who I bumped into at Gauteng’s Lion & Safari Park. I tried out my Italian on him, but, he wasn’t much of a talker…