I am a born and raised African.
I have lived abroad and travelled around the world, and although I fall in love with every country and culture I get to experience and adopt pieces of them into my lifestyle, the core and heart of me is and always will be African.
Well, Africa is a very special place…
Here are the top five reasons why you cannot help but fall in love with Africa:
Africa, and this may come as a shock to you, is not a country. Africa is a continent, made up of 55 countries. From the Arab influences of Morroco and Egypt in the North, to the English, German and Dutch influences in the South, Africa represents a vast range of people, cultures, and languages. Yet, even more exciting than this is all the different groups known as ‘tribes’ (although this is not a very accurate representation of the people groups, and has been considered a degrading term in recent years) who’s traditions and beliefs go back centuries, and are all diverse from each other.
To give you an idea of the diversity: South Africa alone (which is a country in Africa) has 11 official languages, and many other unofficial languages, and represents one of the most racially mixed, culturally diverse and accepting countries in the world…. and we love it that way! As you walk through the city streets you can virtually feel the vibrancy and diversity in the air.
You will even notice it in the landscape as you travel along; Beautiful forestry landscapes, vast oceans and sandy white beaches, the Karoo dessert, the tropical sunshine coast… and the contrast between the quaint colonial towns, the big cities, and the original African villages. It is all so different, but it is all so beautiful.
Ubuntu is a term that describes the attitude and essence of Africa. It is an ancient African word which means “humanity to others” and “I am what I am because of who we all are”.
In other words, Africa is not just about the individual, it is about all the individuals who make up the greater whole. It is a mindset of community that has been passed down from generation to generation and it is the stark reason why Africa stands out from the rest of the world.
Wherever you go in South Africa, people will be eager to help you out no matter what you need, quick to be your friend, and willing to go out of their way for you – even if you are a complete stranger.
In short, the people in Africa are amazing, and you will never want to leave.
3) THE WILDLIFE
No, we do not have lions roaming around the streets (and yes, we have real paved streets), nor do we ride giraffes or elephants to school. We have game reserves which are huge sections of land dedicated to preserving wildlife that allow the animals to live wild and free without being security threats. You can visit these reserves to see the animals on a safari.
But other than that, we have the most amazing bird life – even in the cities (yes, we have cities). In my garden alone I have counted 50 species of birds in one sitting – birds so beautiful and strange, you would have to see them to believe.
However, with the amazing wildlife, also comes the incredible critter life. Yes, I mean spiders, lizards, bugs, scorpions and snakes. Obviously, these are species whose boarders we cannot control, and so they roam freely.
I have personally caught a puff adder on my property (and let it out again in a safer place for both he and myself) and woken up countless times with strangers in my bed… and by that I mean spiders. Big spiders… the size of my hand (and sometimes bigger).
4) THE FOOD
Because of the glorious combination of having multiple cultures as well as fantastic game, our food is nothing short of a life-changing experience.
If you come to South Africa, some local food items you must try are biltong, Cape Malay curry, Kudu steak, Springbok, steak in general (seriously, we have the best steaks), Hake or Snoek (both local fish), the curry bunnies in Durban, milktart (dessert) and koeksusters (also dessert), and Rooibos tea, among other things.
Also try our cute and unique coffee shops that decorate the coast from Cape Town along the Garden Route to Port Elizabeth.
Outside of South African specialties, the traditional foods of Morocco and Ethiopia (just to name two of my absolute favorites) are unbeatable and the experience involved in trying these foods with friends… well that’s truly priceless.
They say that South Africa (and Africa in general) is the land of possibility… and it is. It truly is.
From the entrepreneurial opportunities, to the well-priced (and quite large and gorgeous) properties, to the potential to truly make a difference in people’s lives through charities and outreach programs… South Africa is alive with possibility.
We also have one of the wealthiest lands in terms of natural resources. Diamonds, gold, chromium, gems…. the list goes on and on. On top of this we are also rich in agriculture and industries such as car manufacturing.
Basically, there is a lot to invest in – both in terms of people and their welfare, and in the economy and country itself.
These are just some of the reasons I love my homeland so much. My hope is that the rest of the world will be able to take a look at Africa and recognize what she has to offer the world.
I truly believe that if you arrive with an open heart, you cannot visit Africa without Africa impacting and changing you for the better.