South Africa is one of my favorite countries in the world. Let me convince you why you should visit South Africa!
I’ve long harbored dreams of traveling on the African continent (Mauritius and Seychelles notwithstanding), to rub shoulders with exotic wildlife and discover a culturally intriguing way of life.
But to tell you the truth, I was a wee bit nervous about going it alone and never found the right company at the right time. When South Africa Tourism Board’s invitation landed in my inbox, I knew I had to go there and test the waters.
These are all the reasons why you should visit South Africa (and I need to go back ASAP too!):
Cuteness overload at Boulders Beach (my favorite answer to why visit South Africa!)
I couldn’t have imagined hanging out with African penguins in their wild habitat just outside of Cape Town!
Unfortunately their population on the Atlantic Coast has declined dramatically due to overfishing and garbage in the seas. The authorities are trying to restore the natural balance by banning the hunting of great white sharks, as they prey on seals and seals prey on penguins.
Also read: What to Expect on Your First Time to South Africa
Cruising along Table Bay
Sunset and champagne on a cruise in the backdrop of the gorgeous Table Mountain. Need I say more?
Cycling along the countryside of Oudtshoorn
It is in pedaling through the streets, feeling the breeze in my hair and nodding along to fellow cyclists that I find the heartbeat of the places I travel to.
And so it was with Oudtshoorn, a little town at the base of the Swatberg mountains in the Western Cape province.
Also read: Bittersweet Feelings in South Africa’s Mamelodi Township
Endangered white rhinos in the African bush
These majestic fellows are hunted widely for their skin and horns. So when in the bush, we were told not to post photos of their location, for poachers search for clues in the geotag to find them. I felt overwhelmed when we spotted a 4-day old rhino baby trailing its mom!
PS: I took this photo with my point and shoot, and stripped it off its location tags.
Also read: South Africa Visa for Indians: Practical Tips
Meet the giraffes! (If you need only one answer to why visit South Africa, let this be it)
I was bummed out to arrive late at game lodge and miss one of my only two safaris in the African bush. Turns out nature had a different welcome planned for me. Just after I checked in, I saw a giraffe hanging out in my backyard!
The rest of his troop joined him soon. One of my most memorable evenings watching them munch on leaves and gaze into each other’s eyes.
Mornings are for bush walking
The South African bush is very different from forests in India. No tall trees, no canopies, no defined trails. You can see for miles through the savanna. No animal movement can be missed in these dry grasslands.
Even though I wasn’t in a big 5 reserve, I enjoyed the little moments with wildlife I’ve never seen before. Like a blue wildebeest crossing our paths just a few metres away!
Vineyards of the Western Cape
Let’s just say there was a lot of wine on this trip, both in my glass and along the rugged South African countryside!
Also read: Offbeat Durban: The Hipster Soul of South Africa
Wild ostriches in Table Mountain National Park
On our way to the Cape of Good Hope, we spotted this pair of ostriches drinking water off a puddle in the road, as cars whizzed past!
I was heartbroken to learn later that many of them will be found on a plate of exotic meat in a typical South African meal. Sigh.
Road-trippin’ over the Swartberg Pass
That “I’m just a bird in the sky” kind of feeling! The ragged, barren, majestic Swartberg mountains were love at first sight. Photo thanks to fellow blogger Spencer Spellman.
Also read: How we *Almost* Got Stranded at the South Africa Lesotho Border
Why are you going to visit South Africa?
I travelled to South Africa on invitation from the South Africa Tourism Board. Lucky me!
Welcome to my blog, The Shooting Star. I’ve been called a storyteller, writer, photographer, digital nomad, “sustainability influencer,” social entrepreneur, solo traveller, vegan, sustainable tourism consultant and environmentalist. But in my heart, I’m just a girl who believes that travel – if done right – has the power to change us and the world we live in.
Raquel & I want to do this …someday!
I’m sure you’ll both love it. Hope the someday is soon 🙂
Lovely pictures and I wanna be in South Africa soon and blog about it too. Hubby is gonna be there for few months and I am sure gonna catch up with him there. I have more than one reason to #MeetSouthAfrica. Keeping my fingers crossed.
That’s awesome, Manjulika! Look forward to your stories!
I first found your blog a long time ago and fell in love with it. Your enthusiasm, pictures and destinations (particularly in India) have always drawn me in as a reader. I read a lot of travel blogs but you have this special Je ne sais quoi… that really resonates with me. Congrats on a job and travel well-done and well-said. I love South Africa too and can’t wait to read more as you explore it. I am also moving to Egypt in 2 weeks and can’t wait myself to return to the continent and explore. Happy travels, Cheryl
Thanks so much for your heartwarming comment, Cheryl! I’m sure Egypt will be a great adventure; all the best.
Spectacular… just mouthwatering, breathtaking, and beautiful 🙂
Box Canyon Mark
Amazing photos! Thanks for sharing. Happy travels!
that trademark giraffe shot!! Amazing!
That’s one trademark shot I’m glad I could get!
What an incredible trip. Lucky you indeed!
Thanks Mani 🙂
Shivya, your pic are inspiring. South Africa, has been on my travel list. I can’t think of a place you can observe nature so closely.
I agree Ankur! Hope you make it there soon.
Hi Shivya – brilliant post. I live in Namibia but relocated to Addis Ababa Ethiopia and have worked in Ghana, Mali, South Africa, Sierra Leone just to list a few of the 54 African states. Nothing is further from the truth when it comes to traveling either in East Africa (bar the security hotspots) and West Africa (bar the hotspots of north of the Sahel). Sub Saharan Africa and especially southern Africa is a breeze.
If yiu really want to understand the 54 states and live and breath Africa please the following travel musings by Sihle Khumalo:
1. Dark Continent My Black Arse ISBN: 978 1 4152 0036 0
2. Heart of Africa ISBN 978 1 4152 0081 0
3. Almost Sleeping My Way to Timbuktu ISBN 978 4152 0398 9
Sihle Khumalo traveled on a shoestring budget by public transport from South Africa to the hinterland and his experiences are spot on as in most cases I have physically lived and worked in most of these countries.
This will show any would be traveler the real 54 nationed continent of Africa and showcase the bedrock of civilization. Please share the experiences as I believe you will be awestruck by the sheer beauty, vibrance and rhythmic caleidoscope of the contrasting landscapes of what is Africa, the pulsating spirits of our ancestors purring at yiur heartstrings.
You just added a whole new level of inspiration to the Africa trip I dream of undertaking. I’ll try to get my hands on those books at the earliest, and hope to be left awestruck by the beauty of the continent. Thanks again for stopping by and sharing this, Dannii!
Lucky you, indeed! South Africa is the stuff of my travel dreams, lady. I desperately want to go there some day.. I hope I will, some day.
Beautiful post, gorgeous photos! 🙂
Thanks! I hope you will some day, and it will be better than what you dream about 🙂
Wow… South Africa is a beautiful country for sure, nice place for wildlife, for checking out mountains, penguins… Nice to know some facts about South Africa, yes sad those ostrichs going to be eaten, that giraffe movement must have been incredible.
what photographs, man! i absolutely love giraffes, they are such fascinating creatures 🙂
Me too, and I feel incredibly lucky for being able to observe them in the wild for an entire evening! Glad you like the photos. Shot on the #iPhone6!
Awesome photos. Which camera do you use?
Thanks Amitava! All these photos (except the rhinos) are shot on the iPhone 6, I love that phone 🙂
Yes, lucky you for the invitation! Let’s hope that I can make 2016 the year of Africa for me. 🙂
Indeed you’re very lucky to have an invite to visit such a beautiful place! Pictures looks irresistible as ever! Keep travelling and inspiring! Xx
I also fell in love with South Africa a couple of years ago when I visited. It is such a beautiful country and so diverse. Enjoy your adventure!
These are lovely pictures. Hope to visit this country some day 🙂
South Africa is my next destination of choice. It has been a toss up between there and Tahiti. Both cultures and histories are amazing.
“PS: I took this photo with my point and shoot, and stripped it of location tags.”
As a former Conservationist (well, one never actually stops), I thank you for this cautious gesture.
I love my country. You make me wanna jump right at it and quit my job right now. It is my dream to travel through South Africa for the rest of my life. I’m at the beginning stages, but planning started. I’ll be quitting my job soon and start my journey, just like you, only in South Africa. Though I understand that the entire earth has so much to offer, I have no desire to go overseas. All these small towns and villages in our county, and the wildlife and bushveld just keep drawing me deeper into exploring the depth South Africa has to offer. I’ve never been any more excited about anything than I am right now. Perhaps we meet one day. Thank you for the encouragement.
Great post… I will go back November on my 3rd trip.. It is my happy place… Lol
Amazing job with the pictures and the blog too! The Penguins looked quite different. My spouse is kind of obsessed with them. Hopefully, with this coming anniversary I’ll surprise her by visiting Cape Town. Also, I’m taking another trip for my pleasure to the safari that you have shown in here! A big thank you for the post!
Yeah… Definitely one day in Africa for sure!! Africa is calling me for quite a long time, I must go!
It is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Thank you.
you are great ,i love travel and natural tourist places,
thanks to inspiration of south Africa I definitely visit