9 incredible Reasons to visit Africa
I went on epic trip to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana and Zambia and not only was it full of fun adventure, it was one of those trips you learn from, that challenges you and makes you see life in a whole new light.
I went on hiatus from all social media and I couldn’t use my phone even if I wanted to. It was refreshing, to say the least. I started with a week in Cape Town in South Africa and enjoyed four nights nights in Johannesburg. I then set off for an 18 day camping safari to see some beautiful animals in the wild. The original tour I was meant to go on was only ten days, but I had to move across to an 18 day one and let me tell you, 18 days is a bloody long time to camp!
Before I get into the details and cool shit you can experience there, let’s discuss the common misapprehensions of South Africa. Anywhere you travel, you need to be smart and have your wits about you, maybe here a little more so, but it’s such a shame that South Africa is so commonly discussed for being dangerous rather than for many of its other wonderful parts.
Whenever I spoke about my trip, people would tell me “it’s so dangerous, don’t bring anything expensive, keep your money in your underwear, dye your hair it’s too blonde, my girlfriend’s friend’s cousin knows someone who died there”.
Now don’t get me wrong, South Africa obviously has an unsafe reputation for a reason, I’m simply stating that if a reason for you not wanting to visit is because of that, it’s not all bad. Johannesburg is one of the most interesting, underrated cities I’ve ever been to and it fast became one of my favourite cities in the world. Don’t walk around at night by yourself, don’t be an obnoxious tourist, don’t flash your wealth around or leave your stuff in easy reach and you’ll be fine. Also, don’t stay in the rich white areas. Stay with the locals in the lower half of Johannesburg. If you’re with them, you’re one of them and not a threat. If you’re with the rich white people up north, it’s a whole different story.
Alright, alright, I’m not ranting you are. Okay onto the good bits:
1. The Animals, duh
Obviously they are unreal and like nothing you’ve ever seen before. I was lucky enough to see the Big Five; rhinos, elephants, buffalo, lions and leopards. I walked with rhinos 10 metres away from me. I watched a leopard hunt a wart hog. I saw lions mating (I didn’t get turned on, that’d be weird). I watched multiple herds of elephants, even cute baby ones drinking from the Chobe River and the ovaries I didn’t even know I had, melted. These things happened so close to our safari truck or boat that it makes you feel like you’re hanging out with David Attenborough in one of his documentaries.
2. Johannesburg or Joburg is underrated and amazing
I love Joburg. If you’re up for it, stay in Maboneng which is the Arts district in the south. It’s full of culture, cute boutiques, galleries, food and bars. We were often the only white people around because the rich white people stay right up the top of Joburg, in their gated communities around Sandton and Rosebank.
These are the areas you’ll read about as safe but I disagree wholeheartedly. I stayed in Rosebank a few nights but it didn’t feel as culturally rich or like I was in South Africa the way Maboneng did. I stayed in a hostel called Curiocity Backpackers and met amazing locals and had the best time. The street has 24-hour security, which feels weird yet comforting. It’s here that I fell in love with Joburg and I would highly recommend this area! Do an Inner City Walking Tour if you stay in Maboneng too, you can book this through the hostel and learn for yourself!
3. experience the Happy african Spirit
I went through local African villages and ate with an African family for a big culture shock. Despite having so little, everyone we met was so generous and eager to share the little they did have. Every time I went out, locals bought us drinks or took us around the city for fun and it was for no other reason than because they wanted us to experience their city and culture. They wanted us to change the narrative of it being scary and dangerous, and it absolutely worked. Their generous and happy spirit was so contagious, it made me want to be a better person.
4. Cape Town is fantastic
Cape Town is a super cute place and there is so much to do! The beaches along the coast are phenomenal and there are lots of great surf spots. The coast line and hipster cafes reminded me of Australia at half the price. There are awesome, endless places to eat and drink, boutique shopping and the weather is amazing!
Table Top Mountain is also incredibly beautiful and is a must do! I caught the cable car up but you can hike it if you’re into that. If you do the cable car, buy your tickets online before you go rather than waiting in line for hours. I am not exaggerating, you will wait for hours.
5. The Food is unreal
The food in Africa is cheap and delicious. I think I had one bad meal across the whole month and it was because I had to eat at a chain restaurant in a small town. An entrée, a main and a few drinks at a nice restaurant sets you back about $8-10 and the food is tasty with generous servings.
6. but the wine is better
The wine deserves its own bullet point. The wine everywhere in South Africa (particularly Cape Town) is delicious. We did a wine tour with Wineflies from Cape Town and it was such a fabulous day with wine tastings, pairings, lunch and pretty vineyards. It’s also cheap. I’m talking $3 for a glass three times the size of a standard glass in Australia, in most restaurants, wahoo!
7. You’ll have a renewed sense of gratitude for australia
The Government and the police are so corrupt in Africa that I came home with a new found love for the Australian police force. I won’t lie though, I did find the corruption interesting to learn about, probably because I don’t have to live with it. In Australia we’re super lucky in this respect, for the most part the police are a source of safety and if you’re doing something illegal, if you get caught you’ll probably get in trouble. After getting myself into quite the illegal predicament in Johannesburg, I became more grateful than ever to be from a non corrupt country.
8. The landscapes are Incredible
The scenery, landscapes and nature are endless, even without the animals. Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Zambia is one of the seven wonders of the world and it was crazy big! Photos don’t do it justice. The sheer size and mass amounts of water are incomprehensible until you see it in real life. Other landscapes like the trees, the sunsets and the planes are simply gorgeous.
9. Okavango Delta in Botswana is so special
The Okavango Delta in Botswana was the highlight of my trip. The Delta is a very large stretch of water amongst the Kalahari Desert, where the water doesn’t flow into any ocean. You can camp in the middle of the Delta after arriving by Mokoro (a canoe like boat). Locals pole their way through the Delta to get you to a campsite and they put on African performances and tell stories around a fire of a night time.
There are no facilities or electricity and the stars there are the most beautiful stars I’ve ever seen. You can swim in the delta whenever you like, go on walks to see animals and enjoy sunset river cruises. It’s the most peaceful trip you’ll ever go on.
So have you booked a flight yet? Fair enough, they’re expensive but I hope this has made you want to add Africa to your list of places to visit! Any other hot tips? Shoot me a message or comment below!
Yours in African tales and rants,