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Glimpses of South Africa

South Africa

RoverTreks — A nighttime view of Strand & Gordon's Bay from Somerset West
RoverTreks — A nighttime view of Strand & Gordon’s Bay from Somerset West

In a word: Wow! Some of the imagery seems to be taken straight out of Jurassic Park.

Why go? To see the sights, go on a Safari, go to the beach or engage other outdoor activities or engage the culture. Our pix reflect that: landscapes and animals for the most part.

South Africa
South Africa

We spent 3 months there in 2015 and were honored to visit this beautiful country.

Here’s the pro’s and the con’s.

Pro’s

Visually stunning. The confluence of sea, sky, and landscape are akin to Greece, but greener. Perhaps the difference is Greece is a peninsula with a collection of islands. The inland areas of South Africa are more diverse away from the Cape — deserts, plains, mountains and bush.

A view of Table Mountain in the distance
A view of Table Mountain in the distance
A view of the Cape from Chapman's Peak
A view of the Cape from Chapman’s Peak

Climate. During the high season (December-February) temperatures span 75-90 degrees. Even during the winter, temps will be in the 70’s during the day. Cool breezes blow day and night because of the proximity to two oceans. But the area has micro-climates: it can be hot on one side of a mountain and cool on the opposite side. There’s no need for A/C here. This is a relief from our time in Southeast Asia. But we had a record 108° day here during our stay — an all time high.

RoverTreks — Addo National Elephant Park (Zebras)
RoverTreks — Addo National Elephant Park (Zebras)

Pace. Life is pretty easy here. The people are friendly. You won’t see the “edge-i-ness” so prominent in some western countries.

Street Art @ Cape Town
Street Art @ Cape Town

Healthcare: first world and inexpensive. The total cost for X-Rays, Sonogram, an exam and treatment? $173. The total cost for an hour visit with an orthopedic surgeon: $32! Rotator cuff surgery is about $5000 cash. The cost in the States is $60,000 for the same procedure before the “insurance markdown”! An MRI: $932 cash — about the same as the States.

Houses: much cheaper than in the U.S (probably because the country is going “downhill” economically — see the cons below).

Bloubergstrand Beach
Bloubergstrand Beach

Outdoor activities: motorcycling (BMW’s and Harley’s are all over the place here), hangliding, kite surfing, boating, SCUBA, snorkeling, cage diving — the list is endless.

Rentals: lodging is reasonable in the off season — outta sight in the high season!  We rented a 2-bedroom $400 per night penthouse apartment at a hotel with panoramic views of the ocean for about $50 per night off season.  You have to know where and how to look.  We’ll talk about that on this site later on as we expand.

Cons:

Load shedding (power brownouts): This stems from Governmental inefficiency, corruption, and desire to accommodate poor migrants from all over Africa in this rainbow nation. This won’t bother most travelers. But those sticking around for a while will tire of it.

Internet: Wired? Horrible. A state run business controls everything. Wireless 4-G is the way to go @ $86 for 20GB. We spent a bit less than $400 for 3 months of data packages.

Food: can be tasteless at many restaurants. You have to know where to go.  We had some good luck using Trip Advisor.  See our reviews there.

Government: We rarely talk about Governments in our blogging.  But the dissatisfaction with the Zuma Government is so widespread that it’s worth a mention here.  Those of all races we talked to had few, if any, positive comments about present Government leaders.  How will this impact you as a tourist?  You’re likely not to notice it unless you stay for extended periods.  Then some of the negatives we cite here will become glaring.

— Tom @ RoverTreks

 

 

 

Tom @ RoverTreks
Tom @ RoverTrekshttps://rovertreks.com
Writer, futurist, and NASA Advanced Technology Programs Executive (ret.), Tom Talleur connects the past, present and future to inspire audiences and action. His writings and commentary in print, radio and television media span an array of topics, including technology security, history, culture, space, travel, public policy, law, and the future. Media appearances span television, radio, and dozens of print and online publications over the past 25 years. See TomTalleur.com for more information.

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