As many global travelers will tell you, Africa really is one of the most beautiful continents in the world – offering dynamic cities, breathtaking landscapes, diverse culture, and a great many opportunities to experience a trip that will linger in the memory long after you’ve returned home. At the very edge of the continent, South Africa has a diverse range of holidays to choose from, whether it’s a city break or an adventure in its wonderful countryside. Here are my top 7 reasons why should visit Africa:
With South Africa being one of the most modern African countries in terms of infrastructure, it offers attractions that draws increasing amounts of tourists in. Outside of the urban areas, one of the big draws is wildlife. South Africa’s is now protected, and safari parks offer tourists the opportunity to drive through on their own or take guided tours. The most popular safari park is Kruger park, which is home to buffalos, rhinos, lions, elephants and leopards – also known as ‘the big 5’ – all in their natural habitat. Kruger park is not only one of Africa’s biggest game reserves, it also scores very highly as a tourist experience on the most respected travel sites such as Trip Advisor.
Interacting with people will be one of the greatest rewards on your travels in South Africa. The country is a “melting pot” of many fascinating cultures which come together to form one of the most culturally diverse and exciting nations on earth. In terms of population size, South Africa is larger than Spain, but smaller than the UK – being home to 50 million people, with a number of different languages – however, the majority of the population speaks English.
Food and Wine
Throughout the years, South African cuisine has had a lot of outside influences from Europe and Asia. The country’s restaurants serve some some of the most delicious meat in the world, offering plenty of choices beyond things like beef, pork or chicken. Sure, you can stick with the familiar – but this is a chance to try out some new dishes like crocodile or ostrich. I can’t comment on crocodile, but any time I’ve had ostrich I’ve always been surprised by its great taste as well as how similar to beef it looks. South Africa is of course also famous for its wine production, with many official wine routes to check out. The majority of its vineyards are located just outside of Cape Town. If you like the robust flavour of New World wines from Australia or South America, then South Africa’s wines are a must-try. And of course wine always tastes better when you sample it in the sunny climes where it’s produced.
As you already know, South Africa has a diverse landscape that includes, beaches, deserts, forests and mountains, there are many natural wonders that to inspire you from Table Mountain to God’s Window. And as well as the better known locations, there’s also a vast array of attractions that are off-the-beaten track. Some of these, such as Sani Pass elevation in KwaZulu-Natal offer travellers a genuinely once in a lifetime experience – although for Sani Pass you need to have the right transport – you’re not allowed to attempt the ascent unless you have a sturdy vehicle that is adequately powered. For those who make the journey, the ‘highest pub in Africa’ awaits!
South Africa is believed by scientists to be the location where human life began. The exact location is just outside of Johannesburg. Named the “Cradle of Humankind”, this is a world heritage site. A three million year old human fossil was found in 1947 and is now a major attraction, for tourists all over the world.
Since the 2010 World Cup, South Africa’s infrastructure has seen a fair level of upgrading. You will find a network of motorways going through farmlands and landscapes – enjoy the amazing view as you’re driving through mountain passes. Public transportation in major population centers such as Cape Town is modern and value for money – and the buses in Cape Town are subsidised, meaning extra value for cost-conscious travelers.
Value for Money
South African currency is considerably cheaper compared to UK, US and Europe. All of which means you can enjoy that extra bit of holiday pampering. As with any international destination, travellers as well as expats are strongly advised to get medical cover – the countries private health facilities are generally considered to be unrivalled in Africa, but for the uninsured, medical attention doesn’t come cheap. One recent global price comparison illustrates the typical costs worldwide, from high to low – and the low is still a fair expense! In fact no matter where you globe trot the cost of emergency operations could cost you a fair amount of money this infographic shows you just how much it could cost you, so get insured!
Many goods and services are cheaper in South Africa than in Europe or the United states, including spas, and restaurants. For an idea of expense, take a restaurant such as Makaron in Stellenbosch – which is held in high regard by foodies from all four corners of the globe. A la carte dining can be a pricey business in Paris or New York, but a main course here won’t melt your debit card. In fact, at less than 200 Rand for most of the main course options here, we’re talking about a lot of culinary satisfaction for a very modest outlay.