South Africa is my favorite country in the world so far (besides the U.S. of course). It feels almost cliche given how it may be the only African country someone goes to, and it is very different from the rest of the continent, but it really is incredible. There is a ton to do, relatively inexpensive, and beautiful. It is like the best parts of Europe, but more exciting
Things that I did in South Africa:
- Saw the Cape of Good Hope
- Saw penguins in the wild
- Went to the top of Table Mountain
- Toured some awesome vineyards
- Walked with cheetahs
- Went cage-diving with sharks
- Walked with lions
- Saw a rhino, meaning I am a leopard away from seeing the African big 5, a black impala, and all sorts of other things
- Went bungee jumping off Bloukraans, the highest bungee jump in the world
Everything I did could be a blog post on its own, but I will spare you the agony of reading 10 posts, and just show you pictures. Each picture should be another reason to visit.
Cape town (Spend at least four days here, I spent 9 days)
This is the top of Table Mountain, overlooking Cape Town. This has just been added to my list of places I would want to live for a long time (Istanbul, Austin, and Dubrovnick are the other three).
This is the Cape of Good Hope.
Stellenbosch (Spend a day here as I did)
These are the vineyards of Stellenbosch, just outside of Capetown.
Sommerset West (half a day necessary)
I did a cheetah walk on the beach, which was awesome. It was much larger than I had thought it would be, and a lot more skittish. This is in Sommerset West, northeast of Cape Town.
Gaansbai (half a day necessary)
After the cheetahs we drove to Gaansbai and went cage diving with the sharks. The pictures of us in the water are not very flattering, and so instead of possibly making Brianna mad, I think I’ll omit them.
Botlierskop (Spend at least a day here, we did half a day)
After Gaansbai we drove to Botlierskop in-between Mossel Bay and George. It was a four hour drive, which, after wine tasting the day before, walking with cheetahs in the morning, and driving to Gaansbai, cage-diving etc. we were exhausted. However, Botlierskop was a short drive from our hotel in Mossel Bay, and completely worth it.
I finally saw my first African rhino!
We stayed another day and hung out with lions
Makes you want to adopt one doesn’t it
Knysner (Spend at least a day here, we only did half of one)
The next day we drove to Knysner, and to Bloukraans, the highest bungee jump in the world. The jump itself was actually a lot of fun, but the dangling there by a rope was one of the scariest moments of my life. Never doing it again, but I’m glad I did it.
The guy to my immediate right was our helper, and the guy next to Brianna was a guy who jumped before me.
John and Kate, my incredible Capetown hosts. Also, I don’t have a picture, but a big thanks Thank you to Elizabeth for showing me around, Kate, Hannah, Raymond, and Chris for making me feel at home in Capetown.
Johannesburg (Spend at least 2 days here, I did just shy of two)
After Capetown I went hunting in Grahamstown with my friend’s family, and shot an impala. My first real animal I’ve ever shot, and it was a lot of fun. When I left Grahamstown I went off to Johannesbourg to hang out with some friends from work. They took me out in downtown Joburg, ate bunny chow in the Indian part of town, saw Mandela’s house, and some graffiti art around town. This is a few of us downtown, with the people I stayed with on the right, and some friends of ours from work in the middle.
Kruger National Park – (2 days here, I spent 0)
I’ve heard that Kruger is an incredible park. It has the most high tech anti-poaching equipment/training in the world, and is home to a wide variety of animals. Definitely check it out.
Durbin – (I’d spend 0 days here, I did the same)
I’ve heard it is nice, but with so many other places to see in this country, I think it is safe to skip it. If you have the time you should of course try it out, but then you’re not really the audience I am targeting.
Country level of difficulty – 5/10