For most people, South Africa invokes images of adventure: safaris on the wide-open savannahs, interacting with animals we usually perceive as wild and frightening, good food under bright, clear skies. Knowing full well how they’re perceived, South Africa has for the most part, embraced tourism as a major source of income.
Planning Your Trip
The best way to prepare for your trip to South Africa is to check out their official tourism website. It gives you a great overview of what they have to offer. It also has a section on business events and travel partners! Given the wide range of activities and offerings South Africa has, this can help you narrow down the essential experiences for a first-timer.
What To Eat
South Africa provides a wide variety of flavors that reflect its diversity. One must try is vetkoek (literally: fat cake), a fried ball of dough that can have different fillings, from the sweet to the savory, depending on what you’re in the mood for.
Biltong is a dried and spiced meat strip, similar to beef jerky. Biltong however isn’t exclusively made of beef. If you want to try something different, kudu and ostrich biltong is also available.
Shisa Nyama isn’t a dish but rather a traditional way of eating. It’s a social event that has friends sharing meals cooked over coals. It’s a good way to experience South Africa’s many flavors the way they’re served traditionally!
For those looking for something sweet, koeksisters (whose appearance and flavor is different based on where in South Africa you are) are comparable to fried donuts, and are popular around the area. Cinnamon-topped milktarts are another popular pastry you may want to try while you’re there.
The more adventurous can try a dish called smiley, a popular street food made from sheep head. Yes, the smiley comes from the wide smile-like grimacing mouth. Not something everybody would try, but for the brave, the flavor and tenderness of the meat is hard to match.
South Africa is one of the top 10 megadiverse countries in the world, boasting a wide variety of animal life. In an effort to raise awareness and support for the wildlife, ecotourism is one of the primary forms of tourism you can enjoy here. In a conscious attempt to move away from the days of big game hunting, photo safaris are available almost everywhere, whether on the veldt or along the coasts.
For the adrenaline junkies, South Africa offers a wide variety of choices as well, ranging from skydiving, hot air ballooning, whitewater rafting, and dune surfing. There are also nature trails in certain areas, bicycle tours, and theme parks you can visit during your stay.
For those who want something less adrenaline pumping, there are golf courses and city tours as well. One can enjoy the architecture and cultural centers in Johannesburg or explore some of the country’s many museums.
South Africa is a land with a lot of history and its effects echo throughout the country to this day. The wide variety of cultures, both native and foreign, is reflected in their food and architecture. The days of big game hunting and its effects on the land and people are clear in the steps being taken towards ecotourism. Be part of that history. Experience that change.