What people overseas miss most about southern Africa.

There are some wonderful aspects of life in southern Africa for most people arriving here that, despite the negative things they hear in the news, leave a lasting and favourable impression. And they are also the things that when we travel or live abroad, we miss and look forward to coming home to.

Here are eight “F” words describing what foreign visitors miss most about southern Africa.

1. Food and wine – our famous braais,  fresh seafood, succulent steak and Karoo lamb, marvellously cooked and helped down with our local award winning wines. It is also really inexpensive compared to other countries of the world. I was recently in the UK and fish and chips there cost four times more than here in a pub type restaurant. Euros, Dollars and Pounds go a long way here to having a good time.


2. Financially pleasing. Like the food and drinks, accommodation in B&B’s, hotels and lodges is good value – and there are investment opportunities which earn good percentage returns. Our property values are probably the best value in the world today. Selling a flat in London will buy a mansion here!

Sweet Thorn Lodge at Royal Jozini

3. Finding answers. “A boer maak a plan” is so true and generally we have the mindset that YES, we can fix a problem, design a machine, produce a product. South Africa has some of her sons and daughters doing amazing things both here and around the world.

4. Fauna and Flora. The diversity of our landscapes from mountains to semi desert, unique plants, sweeping grasslands, thorn bush and forests really do make us a world in one country. And with the Big 5 and the little 5, there’s always something beautiful or fascinating to see.


5. Fine Art. The oldest art objects in the world were found in a cave in South Africa, thought to be 100,000 years old. So from bushmen paintings on rocks, to modern artists, there’s fine art and photography in abundance.

Ralph Ziman courtesy

6. Full of energy – we’re friendly and enthusiastic. People sing in harmonies and dance – and not just at church. We sing and dance when we’re happy, we sing and dance when we’re sad, we sing and dance when we’re angry and protesting.

Zulu Dancers

7. Freedom. We’re not over regulated and we CAN walk across a room with a drink in hand, we can take our leftover food home in a “doggie bag” without breaking health and safety regulations and we’re not subjected to announcements to be careful on the steps at the railway station because there’s a light shower and they might be slippery. Visitors from overseas definitely feel this freedom! Sometimes, though, it may seem too lax, like being in the traffic with taxis driving on the pavements and pushing in at the robots, where a different “F” word might be tempting.

8. Finally, flying into southern Africa and looking down onto sometimes dry and brown bushveld, there’s not a soul that doesn’t get touched when they are here by the sense of space, the vastness of the sky, the horizon that stretches forever and the magnificent sunrises and sunsets that give us a unique sense of place and of belonging.

sunset glow over the Lebombo Mountains

Now take a deep breath, let go of the hassles of the day and drop me a line if you feel the need to take a break from city life.  To a place where you can count a million stars and get into the rhythm of nature and I’ll recommend a bush lodge home at Swaziland’s Royal Jozini Big 6, where you can also add a fishing or game spotting boat charter.