Look, yes I know those tickets are real cheap when browsing google flights, but let me just stop you right there. South Africa, aka Mandela land, aka Suid Afrika or Saffa land, which ever way you want to call it, is a third world country.
Third you say? Yes we aren’t in the top three if that’s what you’re thinking, rather we are third world as in an underdeveloped poor country that didn’t support either capitalism (First World) or Communism (Second World). I don’t know who gets to decide that South Africa is underdeveloped and third world, but I digress.
So you want to book those tickets heh? Let’s get down to the nitty gritty as they say…
Lover of all things Starbucks?
Firstly, if you’re a lover of Starbucks and cannot survive without your
overpriced Mocha Frappuccino or latte do not book those tickets. Our coffee does not, I repeat not, have a mermaid on the cup! Instead, we have quaint little coffee shops that are owned by one person or a family and are not a franchise (with said mermaids, unicorns or whatever).
We have places that have such good coffee that it’ll turn you off mermaids for life! We have real rooibos (aka redbush which just doesn’t sound as fancy) tea too. Don’t even start me on the delicious treats so underpriced it’ll make you feel rich! For one mug of Starbucks, you can have 2 coffees, 2 slices of cake and some change left over. Yes, you will have change in your pocket!
South Africa, the last time I checked, had one Starbucks in the entire country and that is somewhere in or near Johannesburg. I suspect Johannesburg (or where ever it is) organized for them to get it in order to lure tourists to their city. It needs something to get people there as they don’t have our cool vibe, or oceans!
Lets talk about transportation in Cape Town. When you land at the airport and want to hail a taxi like they do in New York City – No, just, no! You do not want to get into a taxi in South Africa period.
If you ignore this warning you may find yourself sitting on someone else’s lap with a chicken pecking at your shiny first world buttons. You will probably also find someone sitting next to you eating something that looks like… (ok I won’t go there, but you get the picture). Think the London Tube at rush hour with your nose stuck in someone else’s very unwashed armpit. The pain is real!
Here is a prime example of what I’m talking about:
My advice? No taxi period. Instead, get a hotel shuttle to pick you up and whiz you off to your beautiful accommodations with views of the ocean, mountains, and perhaps even vineyards. Arrange a private car service if you are heading straight to Cape Town or if you choose to stay at a fancy game reserve near Joburg or the Drakensberg near Durbs (Durban).
Back to Cape Town.
Cape Town is a city like none other, it has a smattering of Rio de Janeiro mixed in with a little Brighton UK, and a small dose of a Mediterranean vibe. It’s so cool that even if you live 2 hours away, you count yourself as a Capetonian a.k.a. a Kaapie (kah-pee).
Cape Town is in what we call the Western Cape, which is much like a State in the US. It’s where whales can be seen giving birth in August/September (like clockwork). It is where the good wine not that Aussie stuff is grown, where you can go zip lining through the mountains, hike and explore ancient caves, get to check out the jackass penguins (Yes, this is what they are called) and go dive with Great White Sharks (you’ll never feel more alive afterwards).
Some more things to consider before booking that oh so cheap flight though…
If you’re allergic to the ocean, do not book those tickets. South Africa is at the bottom of Africa (No no not where the WGN news channel said it was) and thus has two oceans.
Yes, two oceans, it has the Indian and the Atlantic oceans on its borders with Antartica. One is pleasantly warm with sharks and whales and is known as the Indian (I suspect so named after the Indian curry that burns your mouth into the next stratosphere). The other, you freeze your toes off from the cold with great white sharks and some cool looking fish is known as the Atlantic.
If you’re homophobic (seriously needs a new name/word – aerosole works)
Do not book those tickets! You see, South Africa passed a law allowing same sex marriage in 2006 (becoming the first country in Africa to do so). Yup, a third world country did it before a first world country like Australia (although not before The Netherlands who did it first in 2001). And Cape Town is known as the gay capital of the world. It stole the title from Brighton in the UK, because of its hip vibe, incredible art scene, glorious beaches, and fine wine.
Cape Town is just a place where cool people hang out and you may randomly see people of the same sex holding hands like it is no big deal.
Because it isn’t.
Brighton in the UK is still awesome though, but again, it has only one freezing cold ocean with rocks instead of two with beaches of sand… so your choice.
If you hate mountains
Look, I’ll be straight with you, it doesn’t matter where you land in South Africa there are going to be a bucket load of seriously gorgeous mountains. If you can’t stand them, it is best not to even step a foot on to the continent known as Africa. We do mountains well, very well, so well that they are great, great mountains.
From the infamous Table Mountain, now one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the world, to the Drakensburg mountain range that spans over 600 miles right through to the beautiful Magaliesbergnear Johannesburg; No matter where you are in South Africa you will be near one of these beauties.
If you hate wildlife
Firstly, come on, surely not??? Ok well if you do you’re outta luck. South Africa is filled with wild animals. They however, are not just roaming around the cities and towns like so many believe. We have a number of incredible game reserves which are areas where wildlife can roam “free”.
We have the big five in the animal kingdom which includes the African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and White/Black rhinoceros as well as the big five snakes such as cobras, mambas, etc. Yes, sometimes people also claim to see leopards and cheetahs just running around the mountains.. it’s Africa people!
If you can’t stand wildlife but want to shoot them, go someplace else, no really do. Our game rangers are allowed to hunt poachers like poachers hunt our wildlife.
If you hate wine
It’s ok, we may give you a strange look that emits nothing but shock, but we do understand, if anything we actually want all non wine drinkers to visit our fair shores. The less you like our wine the more we get to enjoy it, we don’t want tourists raising the costs of something we are using to replace our water since the dire shortage.
We also have whole valleys filled with wine farms that makes Napa in California look tiny in comparison. If jaw dropping beautiful vistas of never ending vineyards aren’t your thing, perhaps it is best to go some place else, no really, please do.
If you hate
strange good food
We South Africans have a mixed culture, we have the Cape Malays, the Durban Indians, the Xhosa’s, Zulu’s, Afrikaners, English, Sotho’s, Tswana’s, Tsonga’s, Ndebele, Venda’s, Asians, Greeks, Italians, Spanish, those that have a bit of each… I guess you could say we have a bit of every country right within our borders! Our food, as you can imagine, is just as mixed.
If you can’t embrace your inner African best not to visit, or if you do, make sure you know what is in your food so as not to complain about it after it is served. We will just look at you as if you’re crazy. For some insider secrets on what is what you can read: South African Culinary Delights
If you don’t mind your flashy ring disappearing
Please listen carefully now, South Africa is a country where we love flashy things, even the ostriches want the beautiful shiny objects on your fingers, neck and ears.
South Africa is a country where if you find a diamond in your garden (yeah it happens) that said diamond is the property of De Beers Mining and not you. With this in mind your fancy jewelry is probably best left at home in a safe with multiple lock combinations.
If you love Aussies or Kiwis
We South Africans really love the Aussies and the Kiwis, deep deep down, we really do. But when you come to our shores do not talk about their rugby, their cricket, or them as a whole. Just don’t do it and never, and I mean never, tell any South African that they sound Aussie (Australian) or Kiwi (New Zealander). Keep those dark thoughts to yourself and you’ll find you will enjoy your time with us a lot more.
If you don’t have a sense of humour
Following on that thought we do like a good sense of humor and often you’ll find us making fun of each other and making jokes. This is our nature, we laugh, we smile, we see, then we laugh some more. Yes, Trevor Noah is ours.
So if you can’t take a joke, its best you visit the Northern Hemisphere countries because us Southern-Hemi’s are sarcastic, and enjoy a good joke often at the expense of ourselves and/or our neighbors.
If you don’t like things happening in Africa Time
Now this is essential, and the biggest point I need to stress, before you book those
cheapish tickets. We Africans run on what we call “Africa time”. Its slower, a lot slower, than what you’re used to.
When you ask us to do someone thing and we say “now now” or “just now” don’t expect anything to be done immediately. These two phrases pretty much mean sometime in the future which could be 10 minutes, to an hour, a day or even a week. I am not joking. If speed is your thing, once again try the Northern Hemisphere countries, we Africans believe in living fully, having fun, braai’ing (better than BBQ) going to the beach or lake or climbing one of our beautiful mountains. You get the picture right?
If, after all my warnings about not visiting South Africa, if you decide to still make that terrible choice, remember to speak clearly. When you hear those two phrases “just now” or “now now” uttered, make sure to specify the exact time you need what ever it is or make us tell you an exact time. If you don’t, good luck in getting what you want sometime this century.
Don’t believe a word of what this guy says. Fine my chinas (friends), its true.
Written with artistic license and no offense intended to any referenced places or person. The opinions are my own and this is not a sponsored post… just the thoughts of a simple South African.
This blog post first appeared on Sanityfound, and is republished with Audrey Kruger’s kind permission.
AUDREY KRUGER – aka Sanityfound – is a Travel Addict and avid Photographer from Cape Town, currently living in Florida, who blogs about her mis/adventures around the world.
If you’re missing South Africa, Showmax offers thousands of local TV shows and movies to expats abroad – in English and Afrikaans. Subscribe now for a 14-day free trial!