By Zara Lewis
If you’re an Aussie who’s never travelled further west than Perth, South Africa can be quite a challenge for you. However, if you pay close attention to these following tips, your South African adventure will be unforgettable in all the right ways!
You should visit your doctor a few months before you start your South African adventure. They will ensure you’re in good health and that all your vaccinations are up to date. It’s important to do this early, so you can get your follow-up dose. The most common vaccines you need when visiting South Africa are those for yellow fever, typhoid and hepatitis. Malaria is also quite widespread in Africa, so you might also want to protect yourself from this mosquito-transmitted disease.
Bring cold cash
Even though you can find ATMs all over South Africa, it’s very smart to bring some cold cash, especially US dollars. It can often be quite hard to exchange Australian dollars, so load up on Benjamins before you depart. Plus, the locals gladly trade with US dollars, so you can usually get a good price if you have some with you. Additionally, make sure to inform your bank that you’re travelling to Africa, otherwise, you risk getting cut off!
As you probably know, Africa is very hot, so don’t waste space on too many cold-weather items. Instead, fill your bag (opt for the one without wheels, because rough South African streets can be real suitcase nightmares) with comfy cargo pants and t-shirts. However, make sure to pack at least one pair of long pants and long-sleeve shirts for safaris. Also, if you want to charge your camera and phone, make sure to get an adaptor. You can get these at Go Travel and they will last you for a long time. This type of plug is also used in India, Nepal, Lesotho and several other African countries, so don’t misplace it once you finish your South African adventure! Additionally, pack a few toiletries and disinfectants and go all in with sunscreen.
Africa is full of different adrenaline-fueled adventures you can try if you’re brave enough. So, if you’re a fan of extreme sports, feel free to try out what South Africa has to offer. For instance, those who love to live on the edge should definitely try Africa’s highest bungee jump at Bloukandry Bridge. It’s 216 meters high and everyone who took a leap of faith from there said they will never forget that unique feeling. If only the thought of that makes you sweat, you can try something tamer but still exciting—zip lining! Head to the Garden Route for a beginner experience or go to Durban for a more adrenaline-filled adventure.
Don’t forget safaris
You simply can’t leave South Africa without going on a safari! This African country will offer you many great safari options with a huge possibility of seeing the Big 5 (lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffalos) but also many other amazing animals! The best thing is that these safari trips are totally animal-friendly and provide people with reliable, low-impact holidays.
Dive with sharks
South Africa is not all about land animals—it has amazing marine tourism, too! Nowhere in the world will you see Great Whites this big and this close to your cage. This exciting adventure will let you get familiar with these misunderstood giants and even help their conservation! It’s another must-have South African experience.
But stay cautious at times
Even though you shouldn’t go to South Africa expecting to have any troubles, it’s always good to be prepared. For instance, if you see any political demonstrations, it’s always better to turn the other way. Also, make sure not to go on casual strolls without knowing where you’re going. In Cape Town and Johannesburg, bad and good neighborhoods are often next to each other, so be careful.
Open your mind
No matter what you read in guidebooks and blogs, make sure to take everything that is too generalized with a grain of salt. Also, don’t hesitate to relax and open your mind to new experiences. Most of the locals will be happy to share their Africa with you!
Now that you’re completely prepared and know what to bring and expect, don’t hesitate to start your South African adventure! It’s bound to be a very exciting and eye-opening experience, especially after you’ve seen the sunset over the Kruger National Park!