South Africa is an amazing country that is very diverse, appealing to so many different people with all the possible hobbies from sunbathing nude on beaches to skiing, there is definitely a full range of activities to experience.
Coming from South Africa I have been spoilt with endless opportunities and experiences. Being able to explore Europe for the last few years I have had the opportunity to see how lucky I truly am to live in an amazing country. Even if there are unstable times, all countries seem to be having their own difficulties at the moment. England is rich in history, walking down the streets, seeing stone buildings, mossed fences, antique shops and popping into every charity shop I have the opportunity to collect guidebooks where I would like to visit soon or have already been to. I have found these guidebooks very repetitive.
European guidebooks are often street maps, where to eat and local sites all often compactible in a nice sized handbook. South Africa on the other hand, there is too much to see and do. Ranging from wine farms, restaurants to animals that a small guidebook wont do it justice.
There are few wine guides that take you all around South Africa showing you the best, hidden and the average Joe vineyards to visit. I am no wine connoisseur and have very little to no interest in drinking wine but the art and atmosphere of vineyards is just spectacular. Some of my personal favorites include Muratie, Lovane Boutique wines and Speir. Speir has changed over the years to be more for overseas visitors and lost its more local touch and is sliding down my list out of personal preferences but still an amazing experience and packed full of many things to see and do other than wine tasting.
Roads, well South Africa is not short of them! With many routes to choose from that are well documented for fantastic holidays, pick one and follow your road maps, there are plenty road side stalls, shops, fuel stations and unusual sights and activities to be seen. Some of the fun routes include The garden route, with fabulous beach style getaways and plenty of outdoor activities that will take an average of 5 days to take it all in. The Waterberg meander, this is not a well known nor a popular choice for many visitors as it lacks diversity in things to see and do, being primarily about game viewing, a good 5 days is recommended for this route. Wild coast, carries on from The garden route with the coast line, a rich cultural experience. Route 62 is something suitable for visitors in Cape Town for a short stay as its shows off the Cape winelands and lovely karoo farms. Panorama route is for the adventurous, with outstanding game viewing opportunities alongside amazing natural sites for easy leisurely activities and for the ones who enjoy a little more active lifestyle.
Wildlife, this could be a long topic, but I’ll try keep it short, South Africa has so much worth seeing there is a guide book on every topic. There are some guide books for those that are not big enthusiasts who just want to know the basics to get by whilst others crave information and what to know as much as possible. One of my favorites for simplicity is from Sasol, the series of books from the First field guide books selection.
- Spiders and scorpions of Southern Africa
- Wildflowers of Southern Africa
- Trees of Southern Africa
- Snakes and other reptiles of Southern Africa
- Insects of Southern Africa
- Butterflies and moths of Southern Africa
- Common birds of Southern Africa
- Grasses of Southern Africa
- Mushrooms of Southern Africa
- Fishes of Southern Africa
- Mammals of Southern Africa
For the enthusiasts and ones in the wildlife careers, some books that take you far deeper and open up doors to so much wildlife you wouldn’t have dreamed of seeing.
- Butterflies of South Africa
- Insects of South Africa
- Tracks and signs
- Frogs and amphibians of Africa
- Mammals of Southern Africa
- Trees of Southern Africa
- Two oceans guide
- Birds nests and eggs
South Africa has a fascinating geosphere, not just dirty muddy soil but also rich in beautiful gemstones ranging from quartz to diamonds, looking up instead of down, the night sky is a kaleidoscope of stars, constellations and plenty of other intriguing things to see in the milky way which only takes a beautiful clear night to enjoy.
- Rock and minerals of southern Africa
- Sasol first guide to gemstones
- Sky watching
- Night sky guide 2019
History does play a big part in understanding where we have come from, accomplished and the legacies all comes together to help understand everyone’s culture and enrich ourselves to be more understanding and more humble people. South Africa often lacks visual history compared to most countries being fairly new to western society. To find history in South Africa it’s often an active search that makes you truly appreciate the full extent of it like taking long hikes to view rock art from local tribes that is very poorly understood today.
Today we find most information on the internet, taking photos and leaving them on our phones that often break and all that was taken gets lost in the clouds. Maybe we should be making books of our own, especially on those happy days we take a much-needed holiday. It is sometimes easy for things to be forgotten overtime, keeping a travel journal, photo album or publishing your own photo book with stories can be a great idea to keep things we do today as a great memory for tomorrow.