If you haven’t set foot in South Africa yet, there could perhaps be no better time than now.
Among African nations South Africa ranks a close third among popular destinations after Morocco and Egypt. It ranks sixth out of 17 most megadiverse countries that have the maximum numbers of endemic species on earth.
Statistics apart, the main reason why you should visit South Africa is that it is awesomely enchanting, and highly rewarding in terms of both time and money you spend there.
I’ve had the privilege of seeing South Africa 3 times, the last being in December 2015, which has been a wonderful experience for me and my team members, prompting me to write my first travel e-book, Super Saver South Africa Travel Guide.
With that in perspective let me quickly turn to what I feel are the 5 reasons you should consider visiting South Africa this summer.
1. South Africa is cheap!
I’m sure this sounds music to your ears, but here is the caveat.
The prize of paying less for seeing more accrues only when you plan your trip yourself, instead of holding on to the coattails of the tour operators.
For, whether you agree or not, the tour operators will hardly want to pass on the cost advantage to you given the cyclical nature of their business. More on this later.
Visiting South Africa is cheap now because its currency ZAR has devalued against the other major currencies. And the fall in the value of ZAR is still continuing.
The 3 pictures below give you a good idea.
From April 2012 to January 2016, the amount of ZAR required to purchase 1 USD has more than doubled from rand 7.82 to 16.44.
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ZAR per 1 Euro has increased from rand 9.9 in 2012 to rand 17.5 in March 2016.
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Even for Indian rupee, ZAR has decreased 34% in value in 4 years from 2012 to 2016.
In other words, South Africa as a destination is cheaper now, no matter which direction you fly in for your trip there.
2. Shark cage diving
Ask anyone who has seen the great white sharks at a distance of just a foot as to how he/she felt those nail-biting moments. I’m confident the common answer will be full of superlatives.
I know this since I’ve been there, done that. The experience is simply electrifying!
Gansbaai (rather Kleinsbaai) – a 163-km drive from Cape Town – is the self-professed “Great White Shark Capital of the World”.
And the good news is, you can be almost certain of sighting the great whites.
But know what, there is a growing suggestion that shark cage diving be stopped. For good reasons though!
Now I am not prophesying that it will stop anytime soon, or before you visit there this summer. After all it’s a flourishing money-earning business.
However, it’s a good idea to hold your ears close to the ground so that you don’t miss any murmurs in this regard. Good luck!
3. Wild lives both on land and in ocean
My third reason speaks for itself.
In the north adjoining Zimbabwe, and in the east adjoining Mozambique is the Kruger National Park, one of the largest game reserves in the whole of Africa.
What impresses you is that Kruger is meticulously planned and visitor-friendly.
If you decide to stay in one of the rest camps in the park for say 3 days, you’ll have an experience par excellence. Many of the wild life documentaries you see on the TV on NatGeo are shot in Kruger.
I can tell you, once you’re here, you’ll feel like staying back for more – such is the magnet-like attraction of Kruger Park.
Down south, at Hermanus, 120km from Cape Town, go visit anytime from June-July to December. You’ll be lucky to miss watching the southern right whales. I said that right.
The whales come near the shore for their annual mating and calving, and can be easily sighted from shore, or up close from speedboats.
Then of course you’ve the cape fur seals on the Duiker Island, and the colony of African jackass penguins at the Boulders Beach.
There is so much of wild lives to see in South Africa that it’ll be a sheer wonder if you’re not excited already…as you read this piece!
4. The wow climate
For those roasting in the tropical heat of India’s summer, or making the most of the mild summer in Europe, South Africa’s climate from June to early December can be enticing.
By its location in the southern hemisphere South Africa enjoys a somewhat extended winter from end of May to early September. It’s supercool during this time.
Animal sightings can be significantly more in Kruger and elsewhere, and also as mentioned above, the southern right whales come visiting the south-southeastern shores in the Atlantic.
The capital, Johannesburg, is on a higher altitude (6000 feet), and is therefore cooler than Cape Town, Durban, and other metropolises.
5. It’s a rainbow nation
After the first democratic elections in 1994, Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu termed the country as a rainbow nation, which is reflective of coming together of multiple cultures of many different nations.
I find South Africa attractive because it’s a land of struggle, against inequality, against apartheid. It’s a country that has produced some of the finest political leaders the world has ever seen.
And it’s a country where the history of mankind is deeply educative, diverse, and also fascinating.
So there you are!
What are your reasons of wanting to visit South Africa?
Share your thoughts below.