"South Africa" South Africa by mad4travel

South Africa Travel Guide: 12,200 reviews and 29,338 photos

Travels in the Rainbow Nation

My views of South Africa were shaped mainly from what I saw of it on the news as a child- apartheid, townships, riots, supression and the freeing of Nelson Mandela. Of course as a child you are not really remotely interested in any ofthese things so I was quite ambivalent towards the country when I had the chance to visit.

So it was a pleasant surprise to find out what a beautiful country it is and how amazing that they have got to where they are without the terrible consequences of the collapse of the old regime that are seen in neighbouring Zimbabwe. So you have to have a lot of respect for Nelson Mandela and his supporters to have engineered such a feat.

South Africa still has problems but you can see that they are making headway making it a lovely place to visit and probably a much much nicer place to live.

Capetown and beyond

Although my travels were confined to Capetown and the surrounding area I was very suprised just how big South Africa was and how much wild area there is.

I travelled around the cape, along the Garden Route, through the Little Karoo and through the winelands.

I was suprised how mountainous and rugged it was, how magnificent and windswept the coast was and how lovely blue and sparkling the sea was.

It was spring and the Little Karoo was ablaze with a carpet of pink orange and yellow flowers.

We went to the top of Table mountain for outstanding views, went whale watching for southern right whales and had a thoughtful moment on Robben Island looking at where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for all those years. See my tips for more detail on all ofthese.

The good thing is, there is lots more of South Africa to explore so I'm sure I'll be back!

The good and the bad bits

Good bits:

Boy is it cheap!
Weather is great
Flowers in the Little Karoo were stunning
Friendly people
Good Food - try Bobotie

Bad bits
Underlying threat of violence, we were warned everywhere not to go out alone (even during the day!) and not to take out lots of money. There were lots of reports in the papers in Capetown of robberies and muggings.

The townships - its easy to distinguish the "wrong side of town" as locals put it. The contrast between how the whites and blacks live is enormous. The townships are hardly more than wooden sheds, some have electricity if they are lucky and most people have to go to outside toilet blocks. Things are improving but the government does not have the resources to do everything overnight.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Fab scenery and sparkling weather
  • Cons:The undercurrent of criminality
  • Last visit to South Africa: Oct 2006
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (20)

Comments (4)

  • canuck68's Profile Photo
    Mar 22, 2009 at 1:28 PM

    I see I looked through your pages in '07 and I just enjoyed another visit. I was back in SA last Christmas for 5 weeks and enjoy the country more each time I go. Diane

  • PierreZA's Profile Photo
    Feb 1, 2009 at 12:43 AM

    This is a very good page on SA, very good tips which are practical abd very accurate! Hope you visit again:-)

  • Babzz's Profile Photo
    Apr 23, 2007 at 9:35 AM

    Great tips. Jealous you got to see the whales! :)

  • jo104's Profile Photo
    Jan 22, 2007 at 6:03 AM

    This is a fantastic page, so glad you enjoyed your visit to my home town :-)


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