People who never visited South Africa don’t always understand my endless love for this country. They don’t understand the hankering I feel to always go back there. “But you have seen it already, right? Why don’t you go and explore the mountains of Mongolia, visit Washington DC or go and smoke cigars and drive around in oldtimer cars in Havana (Cuba)?”
In this new category ’20 reasons why I love South Africa’ I will explain you in 4 blog posts – 5 reasons each time – why South Africa is the country of countries, the “Miss Universe” of all beauties, the Rolls Royce of holiday destinations, and the best feeling of all. I will try to explain why it’s a place on earth you always want to come back to, over and over again, not just to tick off your travel bucket list, but just to be there again. To feel, smell, taste, touch, hear, see and experience this country again. My home from home. “My” South Africa.
Reason 5: Road tripping
The roads in South Africa are – generally – just excellent. Really. I’m serious. Most of the paved roads in the country are very, very good. Often better than the asphalt elsewhere in the world! Yes, it is Africa, and there are also dirt roads, and those are often full of potholes (‘slaggate’ in Afrikaans – such a funny word if you speak Dutch). But generally the highways and National ways are really good! That makes South Africa an ideal country for road tripping. During ‘low season’ (between May and September) one even doesn’t have to book all accommodation upfront; you can just get in the car and drive, see how far you come on a day and where you want to stay. Just having a good time!
Reason 4: Pool, braai & picnic
The South Africans love their pool relaxation, braai (=barbecue) parties and their lazy weekend picnics. It’s a real social thing and they could do it every week. Oh, and it often includes watching a Rugby or Cricket match on television too. You kuier (the Afrikaans word for loafing; do nothing and relax around the house and garden) with friends, family or just by yourself. It’s the ultimate doing nothing else but eat, drink, swim, sunbath, chitchat, sleep, party and read kind of thing that the Africans are good at. Life goes slower in South Africa, especially in the Cape area and the Cape Winelands (comparing to for example Johannesburg area). In the beginning I really had to get used to not have a plan for the day and just eat drink and relax a bit. But now, when I spent more time in Amsterdam and Europe again (work hard and plan the weekend quite full) I miss it sometimes.
Reason 3: Coffee roasters
While in 2010, when we first came to South Africa, the coffee was in most places as bitter, watery and poor as the filter coffee they probably serve in a dodgy prison in Thailand, nowadays, or already since quite a few years, the coffee virus has hit South Africa too! Beautiful blends, real coffee beans, roasters, barista brewed coffee and many hip and trendy coffee places to go to in the morning. I like! A few of my favourite places are Terbodore and the Hoek (both Franschhoek), Bean in Love (Paarl), Cherry Lane (Malmesbury), Haas Coffee and Jason’s Bakery (both Cape Town)
Reason 2: South African art
South African art is different, very various, often colourful, pure and pretty. Artists in Africa often use natural elements and materials, work with both earthy colours and bright colours, and they are very creative, they like to tell a story with their art. There are many art galleries in the country, such as Everard Read, IS Art, Lionel and Anton Smit, Grande Provence Art Gallery or Donna McKellar. Private art collections from for example the Rupert Family (only see what’s in the museum of La Motte Winery), or Delaire Graff, Tokara and Mr. Singh’s Leeu Collection (Le Quartier Français, the Everard Read in Franschhoek, Leeu Estate and Leeu House) are a good to fill an entire museum (size Louvre) with. Besides ‘real’ art, as in: expensive one of a kind pieces, a sculpture or a painting, South Africans also do fun things, like sheep made out of beads, beautiful wooden bracelets, small prints and inexpensive stone sculptures. Animals and African people often play parts in the art work, as well as Africa’s landscaping and nature.
Reason 1: Skies, sunsets and cloud formations
South African skies, clouds and sunsets are truly amazing. There are so many days in a year that you can amaze yourself about how many figures and things you actually can see in the cloud formations. And how beautiful and magic the pink, orange, red and yellow sunsets can be. How bright the sky is and how blue.
Reason zero: what I forgot
The beaches are – generally – pretty clean and safe.
South Africa’s landscape is very diverse and never boring.
Really, never boring. How interesting and special are these Bourke’s Luck Potholes (part of the Panorama Route)?
Lavendel all year around, lovely to place in your bathroom!
Wine. The country produces lots and lots of wine.
These kind of views.
Pretty typical African houses. This one is situated when you enter Franschhoek (almost opposite the entrance of La Motte) and it’s one of the most photographed houses in the country.
Jacaranda treas. Need I say more?
Agapanthus. Again: need I say more?
Picking ripe young-berries every spring (November) in Swellendam, to make delicious young-berry jam.
Picking quinces in autumn, to make delicious quince puree.
Serious warning for everyone considering to travel to South Africa after reading my ’20 reasons why’
If you visit this country once in your life, there is an almost 100% chance you want to come back and back and back and back…. If the Africa virus get into your veins, it’s impossible to find a cure!
Did you like this blog post? Then click here, here and here to read the first fifteen reasons why I’m hooked to South Africa.
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*Note: I have not been asked paid or invited to write about South Africa. It was my own idea. All images are mine.