I first visited South Africa when I was 16 years old. It was a family vacation full of safari drives, bungee jumping, and some of the strangest meats I’ve ever eaten. I was instantly smitten with the place. The day I left, I turned to my sister and said, “I’m going to come back here someday.” Two years later, I came back! This time as a solo traveler volunteering in a rural community for a month. To say I’m biased would be an understatement. I have always been and always will be a massive fan of South Africa. But I believe South Africa has earned the pedestal I put it on; it’s an incredible country that won me over from the first day I set foot on its stunning landscape. As a two-time South Africa traveler who cannot wait to go again, I present you with my list of the top five reasons you should absolutely visit South Africa ASAP.
Why You Should Visit South Africa
1. The sky will take your breath away
Outside of Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa is pretty rural. Meaning there aren’t a bunch of streetlights and skyscrapers polluting the sky. With such a lack of light pollution, you can count on some amazing skies throughout your trip. If you plan to visit South Africa, be sure to make time to catch a sunrise, a sunset, and a starry night sky. All three are bound to take your breath away. During my second trip to South Africa, sunset drinks in the bush became a bit of a ritual; and it was by-and-far the most idyllic way to end a day.
2. Get up close and personal with African wildlife
Whether you visit South Africa explicitly for a safari trip or are planning a bigger trip to South Africa, make sure a game drive is on your agenda. I highly recommend shelling out for the professional tours. Driving through Kruger National Park is great and all, but if you want to guarantee a wildlife sighting, book a tour guide who knows what they are looking for and where to find it. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the wildlife of South Africa without the bars of a zoo enclosure between you. So, have your camera ready and don’t be embarrassed if you audibly gasp; we all do the first time.
3. See the world as Mother Nature intended it
One of my favorite things about South Africa is the lack of development. As soon as you get out of the cities, you are in gorgeous natural habitats that look the same way they did hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago. When you visit South Africa, you aren’t just giving yourself an opportunity to see an incredible country, you are taking the time to see untouched, unspoiled land. From the Lion King-style trees in the bush to the epic rock formations in the Rocklands, every inch of South Africa’s countryside is bound to blow you away.
4. Meet travelers with a real sense of adventure
I often joke that while I am a solo traveler, I rarely travel solo. Everywhere I go I meet fellow travelers and I often end up traveling with them for a good chunk of my trip. One of the things I loved about my time in South Africa was the type of travelers I met. Namely, adventure travelers. Not everyone is willing to drop everything and hop on a plane to South Africa. You can bet those who do are the kind of people who are looking for an adventure. From the hostels of Cape Town to the museums of Johannesburg, you are bound to meet some interesting characters when you visit South Africa.
5. Get out of your comfort zone for a chance to really grow
South Africa is not the easiest place to travel to. Flights are generally more expensive than a trip to Europe would be. You likely don’t know a ton about South Africa and are almost definitely going to experience culture shock when you get there. The food, currency, and culture are all going to feel unfamiliar. South Africa is, to put it simply, outside most of our comfort zones. But that’s exactly what makes it so valuable to visit South Africa.
Record-breaking rock climber, Alex Honnold, once said, “My comfort zone is like a little bubble around me, and I’ve pushed it in different directions and made it bigger and bigger until these objectives that seemed totally crazy eventually fall within the realm of the possible.” When you visit South Africa, your comfort zone expands. And before you know it, you’ll have a whole new definition of possible.
Ready to experience South Africa for yourself? Join True Nature Travels for an epic rock-climbing adventure in the Rocklands! It’s going to be an amazing week of climbing and exploring South Africa with world-famous climber, Paul Robinson. Visit http://truenaturetravels.com/retreats/climbing-southafrica-paul/ to learn more.
About the Author
Sarah Dittmore is always seeking a new adventure. When she’s not barefoot hiking in the mountains of Peru, kayaking around an island off the coast of Italy, or camping in a rainforest in Costa Rica, Sarah writes about her adventures on her travel blog, Autobiography of an Adventurer. Join her as she travels the world and documents the wild and wonderful things she discovers along the way at www.autobiographyofanadvent