Scenery and Wildlife
South Africa is known for its vast scenery and diverse wildlife. The country is home to many national parks and game reserves, where you can see animals in their natural habitat, including the “big five” – lions, leopards, elephants, buffalo and rhinoceros.
While studying, you are likely to be living in a city; however, you will still experience the natural beauty of South Africa. Cape Town, South Africa’s legislative capital city is a mix of metropolitan, mountainous and coastal, which means that it can offer a variety of great outdoor activities. From hiking up one of the three peaks, to surfing in the warm climate, or cage diving with sharks, you can guarantee you will never be bored! It’s also definitely worth exploring the surrounding area in your free time. For example, you could visit Hermanus, on the southern coast of Africa, where you can spot the southern right whales that migrate each year to breed, or the Cape Winelands, where you can sample renowned wines.
However, South Africa is not just scenery and cool animals, it is also home to several world-recognized universities, and many young people are attracted to cities such as Cape Town and Johannesburg for their rich art, music scene and buzzing night life. From sokkies (an Afrikaans dance), to beach parties, there’s plenty going on. South Africa is also known for serving up great local foods, such as fish and biltong (dried and spiced meat), and of course, braais. Braais are like barbeques, but the meat is more flavourful, and is cooked over a fire where everyone gathers. This takes a while longer, which is perfect because a braai is all about the people and the connections being made and kindled over fire and food.
Some people have stereotyped South Africa as a dangerous place. While there is some truth in this, particularly considering the country’s history of political unrest, it is still worth putting South Africa on your travel list for the rich, vibrant culture and stunning scenery. Even though it is important to take precautions, the stereotype doesn’t reflect the full reality of a country largely filled with relaxed and friendly people.
A Chance to Give Back
The inequalities prevalent in South Africa mean it is a place where you can make a difference in other people’s lives. There are many projects that focus on helping people living in bad conditions through education, health care and teaching practical skills. There are also plenty of volunteering projects to get involved with that promote environmental sustainability and caring for animals. For example, you could find yourself doing something you had never imagined, such as rehabilitating penguins, or working in an animal sanctuary!
The beautiful views, relaxed vibes, and exciting opportunities in South Africa make the country an amazing place to study, that will stay with you forever.