We would miss you, South Africa


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?

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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 is living. Jeffreys Bay. The Timeless Voyagers
This is living. Jeffreys Bay.

This post was written in collaboration with Travelstart.

Shark diving photograph: Leigh de Necker / Braai and Karoo photographs: Gareth Thomson / Skottel breakfast photograph: Emma Pfister / Drakensberg and Eastern Cape photographs: Luke Fowler

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10 thoughts on “We would miss you, South Africa”

  1. South Africa is a very special place to live and visit. Love the national parks in SA. Happy Heritage month

    1. South Africa’s National Parks are truly magnificent places! They’re so great you need to visit them more than once 🙂

  2. I’d love to go to South Africa one day – it’s a place that I’ve always thought looks very beautiful and diverse. I always miss every aspect of home when I live overseas, and then once I get home I miss my adopted country immensely. I’m moving overseas again soon and I am making plans to visit all of the places I love before I leave.

    1. We really hope that you can make a trip here. There is so much to do and so much on offer.

      So true! When travelling we miss things about SA and then when we are home we will miss things about the place we travelled. Seeing all the places you love sounds like a great plan! 🙂 We hope you get to them all and wish you luck with your next move 🙂

  3. Happy Heritage month! Wow, it looks and sounds amazing! I’d love to visit someday. What’s really nice is to read and feel your pride love for your country coming through in your writing. Really enjoyable, thank you.

    1. Thank you so much Emma! We do love this country and we are happy that it shows through the post 🙂 Your kind words are appreciated!

    1. Thanks so much Megan! 🙂 We hope you can experience our country too. Let us know if you make it down in the future 🙂

  4. Agreed we are very lucky to be living in such a magnificent part of the world. Not forgetting that South Africa (and PE in particular) have some of the best beaches in the world. Cleanest, safest and most beautiful. I refer most specifically to my favorite beach, Sardinia Bay. It has THE most crystal clear waters I have ever seen (and i don’t have to go to the Bahamas to see it) and one of the best beaches for long walks with Mans Best Friend 🙂 Overhsare, but my daughter was conceived on Sardinia Bay Beach 😉 it just shows you how far you can walk and how private it is! HAHA

    1. We are extremely spoiled with the South African landscapes. You are completely right about the best beaches. Several beaches in South Africa have Blue Flag status. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on what you would miss about South Africa. Clearly, Sardinia Bay Beach will always hold a special place in your hearts.

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