Have you always dreamed of visiting South Africa? I just got back from a two week vacation spent in Kruger National Park and Cape Town and let me tell you, it was AMAZING! I was so fascinated by the seemingly endless beauty, culture, and adventures that South Africa had to offer. So, if a trip to South Africa is not yet on your bucket list, here are 10 reasons why you should go:
- SAFARI #ENOUGHSAID
Going on safari is an experience of a lifetime that you simply cannot miss out on! When else will you have the chance to get up close and personal with all kinds of amazing wildlife?? Leopards, rhinos, hippos, elephants, lions, the list goes on…South Africa is arguably the best place on the planet to go on safari and I saw all of the Big 5 within the first couple of days.
- FRIENDLY, HAPPY, BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE
Whether having a drink with safari rangers or striking up a conversation with locals on the train, one thing is certain: the people here are wonderful! Maybe it’s the great weather, delicious food, or just the laid back lifestyle, but everyone in this country was so welcoming and hospitable.
- MELTING POT OF CUISINES
One of my favorite things about visiting South Africa is the wide variety of food options. While South African food itself is delicious (with lot’s of meat), there’s a lot of Malaysian and American influence in the cuisine - especially in Cape Town. If you love to eat, you’ll definitely satisfied!
- EPIC SCENERY
This probably goes without saying, but the views here are to die for. Watching the sun set over the vast landscape of Kruger National park was incredibly unreal. But my favorite view was definitely in Cape Town, at the top of Lions Head hike. You can also climb to the top of Table Mountain for some amazing views of the city.
- FASCINATING HISTORY
South Africa has an incredible history of European conquest, racial violence, and the more recent political revolution led by Nelson Mandela. I learned a lot about the history of South Africa from listening to our tour guides, reading The Covenant, by James Mischer, and visiting the District 6 Museum.
- WORLD CLASS LIBATIONS
Wine. Great, really great wine. And Amarula. That is all.
- GREAT FASHION
Hipster, stylish, fashionable, whatever you want to call it, South African’s have a SUPURB fashion sense. Pair that with affordable prices, and this girl is in heaven! How cute is this sundress I found for just $18 US!
- GREAT WEATHER
South Africa’s climate is rather subtropical. We went at the end of March and the weather was perfect: warm and sunny during the day, and cool at night. It can get pretty chilly in the winter (May through July) with lots of rain, but there is not heavy snow. On the flip side, it can get VERY hot in the summer (October - February) so make sure to bring your sunscreen!
- IT’S AFFORDABLE (compared to the US, at least!)
Affordability is all relative, but relative to the US, I was in heaven with the $1 coffees vs. my $4 Starbucks latte back home! And that dress I mentioned in #8? It would have been double the price in the US!
- ONLY IN SOUTH AFRICA
- Sundowner - a drink taken as the sun goes down, AKA “happy hour” for you Americans
- Biltong - the most amazing snack of dried meat, AKA beef jerky (but not limited to beef)
- Springbok - shooter of mint liqueur and Amarula
- Boboti - South African casserole made of minced meat and topped with a layer of baked egg
- Boerewors - the most amazing sausage ever
Have you been to South Africa? What were your favorite experiences? For more details on my amazing trip, check out my South Africa blog series on Strum Simmer Sip.
Guest Author Bio: Lisa is the founder and author of Strum Simmer Sip - a lifestyle blog dedicated to those who share a penchant for great food, music, and life experiences. Originally from San Francisco, CA, Lisa currently lives in Evanston, IL where she is a full time MBA student. She enjoys eating, cooking, playing guitar, traveling the world, coffee, working out (sometimes), shopping, and blogging, of course!