I have to admit I was very unorganised leading up to my trip to South Africa. I pretty much just paid what money I had to, jumped on a plane and arrived at Johannesburg airport ready to meet my group leader. I did little to no research on South Africa or any of the cities I would be travelling through (would not recommend that). So, although my knowledge of the country was limtied I still had, to some extent, a preconceived idea of what I imagined South Africa to be like. And how wrong I was!
If you are also yet to venture to South Africa here are some tips and insights to their beautiful country I learnt whilst I was over there >>>
- When you think of that stereotypical dry, flat African landscape don’t think South Africa. South Africa was surprisingly very green, with endless picturesque mountains along the coast.
- Kruger National Park is not overrated. I was lucky enough to do a day safari aswell as a sunset one. The whole safari experience was incredible. Being that you are in the wild you can’t be 100% assured that you will spot all the animals you wish to. However, I was fortunate enough to spot the ‘big five’ (Lion, Rhino, Elephant, Leopard and Buffalo) all in the one day!
- Make sure you pack hiking shoes. There are plenty of hiking opportunities all throughout South Africa with amazing worthwhile views at the end.
- Jeffries Bay was one of my favourite places during tour. We stayed at Island Vibe backpackers. The relaxed and chilled out atmosphere of Jeffries Bay provides a great place to unwind, enjoy the beach lifestyle and maybe even attempt some surfing!
- Organise a walking tour around one of the townships. I would recommend Lungar. It is the oldest township in South Africa and is located in Cape Town. This particular township has a distinct lower, middle and upper class. You will be confronted with how more than half of the people in South Africa live, and be inspired by the positive developments of this township.
- Like most major cities, as long as you use your common sense, stick with a group, and are not to complacent you will be completely safe in South Africa. If you are aware of your surroundings and it’s culture you will find that most of the locals will be welcoming and very friendly.