South Africa - A Cultural Adventure
Whether you are seeking an action-packed family vacation, or you are a solo-traveller searching for a new escapade, South Africa is a country rich in adventure, history and culture.
The Blyde River Canyon and God’s Window are two sights that should not go unmissed. Both are located in Drakensburg, Mpumalanga and are great to explore on foot. God’s Window is one of the spectacular views in South Africa, with its scenic viewpoint overlooking the canyon and on a clear day you are able to see as far as the Mozambique border. The rock formations, plant life, waterfalls and forest ravine are all - encompassing of a somewhat paradise, hence its name.
The Big-5 Safari is one of South Africa’s biggest tourist attractions and a must when visiting. It consists of the big boys of the bush, including the African leopard, lion, elephant, Cape buffalo and rhinoceros. There are many game reserves spanning the breadth of the country, but the most renowned is the Kruger National Park, which is predominantly a savanna biome. Kruger accommodations differ in relation to each camp, offering huts, lodges and there is also the option to pitch up a tent. Evenings consist of eating, drinking and chatting by the campfire whilst listening out for the locals (hippos grunting by the nearest waterhole). External W/C and bathroom facilities are located within each camp, which only adds to the authenticity and excitement of the safari experience. An outdoor shower is one of the simple pleasures whilst staying in Kruger, overlooking the savanna and impalas grazing. Mornings are usually an early start, at around 3am, in order to make your way into the depth of the Kruger Park, whilst the air is still cool, and wildlife are most active. There is nothing quite like a savanna sunrise, whilst watching and waiting for a glimpse of one of The Big-5. The Hluhluwe-imfolozi Park is also a famous Big-5 game reserve, just north of Durban.
It is no secret that South Africa’s indigenous people and cultures suffered immensely during the Apartheid and afterwards. Despite being the ‘rainbow nation,’ the division of White and Black South Africans as well as Asian minorities, is still discernible in some regions due to the ramifications of the Apartheid’s brutal policies, such as segregation as well as colonial racism. One such region is Orania, located in the Northern Cape province, that declares itself as a ‘white people’ only town, in essence of the Apartheid’s extreme, regressive views. Even Pretoria, a built-up province within Gauteng, has the largest White-Afrikaner population in South Africa. It is said to be one of the most privileged provinces, consisting of gated- communities, holding access to power in the government and being far superior in its industrial developments. This is because many White-Afrikaners moved here during the Apartheid to gain government jobs and be amongst other White-Afrikaners, which in turn made it a priority as a city, whilst many other regions occupied by people of colour were marginalized by the government. Over time, there has been an increase in the number of Black and other ethnic minority groups residing in Pretoria, however the disparity in terms of city development and safety is apparent when passing through Pretoria to Johannesburg, particularly townships, which are poverty-stricken. Joburg is however full of diversity and is overall a progressive city, much akin to many others such as Durban and Cape Town.
Contained within South Africa’s borders are Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi, Tswana, Ndebele, Khoisan, Hindu, Muslim and Afrikaner people. There has been an attempt at post-Apartheid redress such as The Employment Equity Act 1998 as well as Black Economic Empowerment legislation, which has offered some progression, however systemic and institutional racism as well as anti-minority sentiment still occurs. Some might say the country has had some progression, with the freedom for more cultural expression, but sadly the divisive, racial categories introduced by the Apartheid remain ingrained in South African society today. There are various museums such as District Six, Apartheid Museum and Robben Island that pay homage to the anguish people endured under the Apartheid regime and the fight for equal rights.
One region that deserves more recognition is Eswatini, a landlocked country bordering South Africa; formerly known as Swaziland when it was under British colonial rule. It is South Africa at its most raw, having a national poverty rate of 63%. However, the culture is rich and vibrant with food, native dress-wear and the warmth from the Swazi people never went unnoticed. Traditional singing and dancing would take place by the campfire in the evenings- with the frequent company of some warthogs who came to nestle next to the warmth.
There is a vast range of cultural foods across South Africa that have been influenced by the emigration of people from other countries over the years. ‘Braai’ is the South African equivalent of a Western barbeque, where various meats are cooked; a common practice with the addition of family/friends. There is also ‘Bunny chow’ or ‘bunny,’ which is a delicious South African street food dish consisting of a hollowed-out loaf of white bread filled with curry. It originated among Indian South Africans, who formerly resided in Durban upon migrating to South Africa.
Hermanus is a beautiful seaside town along the south-eastern Cape, where there is opportunity to experience whale-watching, visit the penguins at Boulders Beach or if you are seeking a real adrenaline rush, there is also cage-diving with great white and copper sharks! Table Mountain is also a landmark must-see in Cape Town, with the chance to also see the panoramic views via aerial cable-car.
Last but not least, there are the famous Cape Winelands (Vineyards) that offer wine tasting and over-night stays. Key regions include Stellenbosch, which holds the perfect climate for producing its illustrious ‘pinotage red wine grape’ as well as incredible landscapes.
South Africa offers an unsurpassed experience with an endless amount opportunity and adventure with each new day. The connection to wildlife, people and variety of culture is eye opening and refreshing, leaving you feel grounded when leaving South Africa!
Our flag fashion product range here at the Culture Club Shop, includes a new South Africa Collection so that you can proudly celebrate your heritage and culture! Shop a selection of quality flag fashion pieces for you and/or friends and family!