Travelling through South Africa felt like travelling through many different countries in one. It’s a country full of beautiful nature, a huge diversity and very friendly, welcoming people. Everywhere we travelled, we where met with open arms and we felt us welcome all the way. We’ll try to describe how we experienced South Africas great diversity and the feeling of many different countries in one.
Johannesburg is a very big city, one of the biggest cities in whole Africa in fact. It has a very rich part, and is the biggest center for businesses in Africa. Then there’s also the very poor part, which is a big percent of the residents whom still lives in townships like Soweto.
Hoedspruit near the Kruger Nationalpark, feels like a local farmer community. You’re driving on these long desolate roads, with huge game reserves and fruit plantations on both sides. And then into the bush, that can be like everything from a desert or savanna to dense forests with a great wildlife.
Cape Town is a lovely holiday city, with the great Table Mountain in the background, allways there to lead you the way. Cape Towns look is affected by a very european style, because it was here the dutch first arrived in South Africa. You can today call it the surfers paradise, with long white beaches, always windy and full of tourists from around the world that loves to party in Longstreet.
The westcoast where we did a 3 day roadtrip from Cape Town, reminded us a lot of Greece and the mediterranian, with the white chalked houses along the coast. It also reminded us of the westcoast in Denmark, with big waves and the sand dune landscapes rising up in front of the ocean.
Then there was the winelands in Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, that was exactly how we imagined the winelands in France to be. Beautiful landscapes that looked very different from Africa in general, houses built in a french style and stunning classy winefarms - Just a lot cheaper than France!
And when we reached the wildcoast in the south-eastern part, where we felt like entering an area were the time stood still for the last 100’s of years. People lived like farmers in the old days, in harmony with their animals and together with the whole family.
It was amazing to drive through South Africa and see the surroundings and the nature change around us. When we just thought that now it can’t be that much different – it once again was. We got a new perspective on our own life and realised how small Denmark actually is. For example when the most popular and biggest national park of Kruger is 3 times bigger than Denmark, or when the GPS tells you to turn left in 250 km! –That we’ll never find at home.
The crime rate is very high in South Africa, and they’ve had one of the highest rates of murders in the world. That rate is now decreasing, fortunately. As a tourist, criminals will off course be after your money and your valuables like everywhere else in the world. But they are not after your life or you as a person. Most of the crimes is petty crime, so don’t flash you valuables, and provoke them to rob you.
We’ve got many warnings about going to South Africa, both from people at home and on our way through the country. We took every good advise serious and took it with us on our travel. With all these advice, our carefulness and common sense, we managed to travel all the way through South Africa without any bad experience.
- Okay we had one small incident at an ATM in Cape Town, where a group tried to pull of a scam to get our pincode for our credit card. No harm done, and we really learned how to be more aware and don’t be too naive with strangers approaching us.
The criminals in South Africa is very good actors. They use everything from jammers to unlock your car and credit card scanners where they have this little device in their hand to scan you card with.
We heard a lot of stories about and from the victims themselves how they got scammed or robbed. But in every story we could also see what they did wrong, and then we off course tried not to make the same mistake too.
We can just say as travellers in the country, that we really didn’t experience much of it, and that we somehow were able to avoid trouble for 3 months.
The most important advice we can give you is:
- Allways check if your car is locked before leaving it.
- Don’t show your purse, mobile or wallet in your car. Hide it under the seat or in the trunk.
- Don’t leave your car alone for a longer time in non touristy areas. They may steal parts from the car or steal your things inside.
- Keep your windows up when your driving around in the cities.
- Don’t blindly trust your GPS. It doesn’t know where the no go areas is.
- If someone looks like their needing help on the roadsides and are trying to stop you, don’t stop. They are great actors and will do anything to get you out of your car.
- If the police are trying to stop you, turn your emergency lights on and drive slowly until you arrive at a public place – there’s a lot of corruption going on.
This may sound like a lot of precautions, but you’ll get used to it. We got most of these advice from the locals, this is just a part of their everyday life.
So take your precautions and be aware, and you’ll be just fine.
By the way, there's a forgotten gallery right here!