One of the most common topics of conversation amongst South Africans is living overseas. We were invited to a friends wedding in London this December. We looked for cheap flights to London via Travelstart and imagined living there.
While imagining the immense beauty of England with its lush, green, rolling hills and flat fields one can’t help but find it enticing and yet for us, the thought leaves us somewhat disappointed. As if there is something missing, a subtle niggle at the back of our heads saying there should be more? What would we miss about living in South Africa?
While the beauty of England is undoubtable, it is still quite hard to palate for us as South Africans. We would miss the outdoor life we enjoy here. Sometimes we have a somewhat jaded opinion of our home, but our country is one of the most spectacular in the world.
The sheer diversity that South Africa offers whether it be the towering peaks of the Drakensberg, the lowveld alive with animals, the desolate desert of the Karoo or the bustling greenery of Kwa-Zulu Natal. Our landscapes offer their own unique beauty and are emphasised when contrasted with one another.
Fun Fact: Did you know that South Africa is one of the world’s most biodiverse countries in the world? SA has almost 10 % of the world’s known and registered plant, birds and fish species, and ~6 % of mammal and reptile species.
With the best climate in the world (source: every South African) it’s easy to experience and explore SA because you can travel and do things with the greatest summer sun or chilly winter days. And by chilly we mean our average winter temperature is three degrees lower than Englands summer temperature. South Africans love their sundowners in every season.
For the adventure lovers, here are a few of the best things to do in South Africa:
- Kruger National Park (Mpumalanga)
- Bungy jump off the world’s highest commercial bungee bridge (Eastern Cape)
- Diving in Sodwana Bay (Kwa-Zulu Natal) and along our coastline
- Canoe down the Orange River (the longest river in SA) (Northern Cape)
- Climb Table Mountain (Western Cape)
- Cango Caves in the Klein Karoo (Western Cape)
- Surf in Jeffreys Bay (Eastern Cape)
- Southern Tip of the African continent (Western Cape)
- Southeasternmost Tip of the African continent (Eastern Cape)
- Stargazing in the Karoo (Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Northern Cape)
We also have lots of living space here! In SA, all of our friends that are couples live together, alone. In England, the norm seems to be continuing digs life (that we associate with student living) with couples living with other couples.
Naturally, food is a big way to miss home. Seeing as many non-South Africans don’t understand that braai-ing is a lifestyle and not a once off summer occasion, we would settle for tea dates instead. Yes, the Brits have biscuits, but we want Ouma Rusks to dunk. Similarly, stews are great but potjies are better! Or a skottel braai camp side or beachside. Let’s not forget about biltong, as I doubt our friends in London will be sharing homemade droewors from their farm with us as our colleagues do here. Being at the age where weddings are happening regularly, babies aren’t too far away. We thought of kids parties with no flings, nik naks, chomps and zoo biscuits.
September is Tourism and Heritage Month in South Africa. Millions of South Africans around the country get in touch with their roots dressing in their traditional attire for Heritage day showing the world why we are known as the rainbow nation. Heritage day at work is often equally as memorable with many colleagues bringing in traditional meals for lunch allowing you to taste some of the meanest samosas and sweetest koeksisters you’ll ever have the pleasure of eating.
Be proud of what South Africa is and celebrate it every Heritage Day, every September and every month.
There are so many things we would miss about South Africa if we lived in London. Let us know what you would miss if you lived abroad in the comments below or on our social media accounts.
This post was written in collaboration with Travelstart.