If you were here for the World Cup in 2010 and swore blind you would return, now is the time to do so. Because things in South Africa, for the average tourist, are rather peachy.
Whilst those who live here are struggling as things become more than a little tight – petrol and food prices have risen exponentially on the basis of the Rand’s weakness against the Pound, US Dollar and other major peers – those who visit are only too happy.
Their already cheap world-class bottle of wine just got cheap – er.
In 2010 the US Dollar was able to buy about R7. Today it will get you R11. An average burger in America will cost around $13, whilst here it comes in at around $7.
But you won’t be in South Africa for the fast food. You will be dining on a plate of seafood caught fresh off the coast from the seaside village of your choice, whilst sipping on a glass of Sauvignon Blanc produced by the oldest wine industry outside Europe.
Further reasons to visit South Africa …
Have you seen our scenery?
From iconic Table Mountain in Cape Town through the Namakwa’s springtime cocophony of wild flowers, to the Kruger National Park, the Drakensberg, the wetlands of the Elephant Coast and the deserted Kalahari there is such diversity of scenery that we’re often referred to as ‘a whole world in one country’.
Did we mention there is sunshine all year round?
There is no best time of year to travel in South Africa, although I do encourage you to try our winters as we regard them as the ‘secret season’, because South Africa is legendary for its sunshine. The Western Cape gets rainfall in winter, but the rest of the country gets most of its rain in summer, and our temperatures are generally lower than those countries at similar latitudes because of our elevation above sea level.
You will hear at least four languages during your stay
South Africa is the only country in the world that recognises so many official languages – there are 11 of them (English, Afrikaans, isiZulu, isiXhosa, Sesotho, Setswana, Sepedi, Xitsonga, siSwati, isiNdebele and Tshivenda) – we’ve been hailed as a kind of linguistic Babylon. It also has one of the world’s youngest languages – Afrikaans. For those of you about to argue that there are more languages in India, you are correct. However, each language is an official language of a given area, not the country as a whole.
Cape Town was World Design Capital 2014
Cape Town was World Design Capital 2014 – a city promotion project to recognise Cape Town’s efforts within the field of design. This translates into a full year of projects, events, and the chance to show the impact of design on urban spaces and the citizens who live in them. To experience Cape Town’s inner city vibrancy head to Bree Street, De Waterkant and Woodstock.
The combination of our national parks and private game reserves have conserved an abundant wildlife that includes: the Big Five, big cats like the leopard and cheetah, over 200 mammal species, wildlife that is not as well known as the Big Five but as beautiful (the giraffe, hippo, wildebeest, zebra), South Africa’s Little Five (elephant shrew, ant lion, buffalo weaver, rhino beetle and leopard tortoise), a host of reptiles that include the crocodile, the chameleon and rare tortoises, 850 species of birds, and a sea endowed with eight whale species, seals, penguins, dolphins, porpoises, sharks and various line fish, lobster and abalone.
Responsible tourism is high on our agenda
Tourism in South Africa places a big emphasis on a positive economic, social, cultural and environmental impact by those here on holiday. The government has created a Responsible Tourism Handbook for tourism operators, Fairtrade in Tourism promotes responsible tourism in South Africa, and the Imvelo Awards reward responsible tourist ventures. South Africa was one of the first country’s in the world to include responsible tourism in its National Tourism Policy in 1996.
Best land-based whale watching in the world
If you book now, you can be here by the time the whales are in the bay – they start to arrive in about June/July. Cliff-tops between Cape Town and Witsand serve as wonderful vantage points from which to sight the southern right whale, but if you see a flipper or a tail you are lucky. Hermanus is regarded as having the best land-based whale watching in the world, its cliff-sides a superbly beautiful place from which to sight whales that come within metres of you. De Kelders, De Hoop Nature Reserve, and Witsand all give Hermanus a run for its money. Whilst the whales are not quite as close, there is less argy bargy during the exercise of spotting them.
Penguins – not one, but two land-based colonies
Boulders Beach, just past Simon’s Town, and Stony Point, in Betty’s Bay, are two land-based colonies of the African penguin that lives nowhere else in the world than on the coast of South Africa. They are present on protected offshore islands as well. Land-based colonies are not their normal routine as they then live in such close proximity to humans. The impact of commercial fishing, global warming and former guano collection has left their numbers sorely depleted. They are a highlight of a visit to Cape Town.
South Africa’s wines date back to 1659 when Jan van Riebeeck, the founder of Cape Town, produced the first recorded wine in the country. Today, according to Wine Tourism South Africa, well over 500 wine farms are open for wine tasting. Around 150 of these have their own restaurants and 300 host regular concerts or events, like markets. Sustainable wine production happens on 220 wineries listed as members of the Biodiversity Wine Initiative, 70 of them are Fairtrade members, 30 are organic and a couple farm biodynamically. We export in the region of 400 million litres of wine a year.