Culture & Traditions

10 Hidden Secrets about culture of South Africa

Whether you prefer exploring new places, meeting interesting new people, or trying out new activities, South Africa has it all. This beautiful country is famous for its exotic wildlife and rich history of struggles, as well as its climate, which keeps the weather warm even in the winter. South Africa is the perfect country for adventure seekers, with plenty of unique activities like safari or even shark cage diving, if you want to try something extreme. The cuisine of South Africa is also fascinating, as it mixes influences from all around the world and has some of the best meat dishes in all the world, often using unusual ingredients. This African country is usually skipped by tourists, who are often scared of the different cultures and extreme climate, but South Africa actually has a lot of charm and we guarantee that you won't regret your visit. To help you find your way around South Africa, we have prepared this list of 10 Hidden Secrets about culture of South Africa, through which we want to tell you about some of the less obvious features of this gorgeous country.

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One of the biggest attractions of South Africa is its wildlife, which includes many animals you will not see anywhere else in the world outside of a zoo. The five most important animals of South Africa are called the “Big Five” and include elephants, buffalos, leopards, lions, and rhinos. These animals have been selected because of their power and strength, as they were considered the most difficult to hunt. However, the Big Five is not everything South Africa has to offer in terms of animals. You can find animals both huge and tiny, and there are over eight hundred different species of birds living around the country. One of the most popular sights among the South African plains are ostriches, but you can also spot cranes, sunbirds, and kingfishers.

Henk PretoriusHenk Pretorius

The climate in South Africa is actually quite diverse, with the south-west of the country resembling Mediterranean climate, and the north-east being more subtropical. The central plateau of South Africa is actually quite temperate, so you don’t have to worry about excessive heat during summer. There is even a small region in the north-west where you can spot a true desert climate. However, most of the country is still very warm and sunny, with rather chilly nights. Temperatures often exceed 30ºC, so always remember to wear sunscreen and sunglasses. Also, make sure to drink a lot of water for your own safety, so that you do not get dehydrated. Do not expect any snow during the winter, as the temperatures usually stay positive.

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One of the more fascinating things about South Africa culture and traditions is the South African cuisine, which combines the prehistoric cuisine of the indigenous people of Africa with inventions brought by colonization. Dutch, Indian, and French influences can be seen all around the place when it comes to food. One of the most popular South African dishes is Biltong, which is thin-sliced dried meat, usually beef or game. The slices of meat are cured in vinegar and spices, then hung for a long time to dry. You may also be surprised to find curry as one of the national dishes of South Africa, which is very popular in Cape Town, as Dutch and French settlers brought more and more Indonesians and Indians to the country.

Richard Moross/FlickrRichard Moross/Flickr

While South Africa does not attract as many tourists every year as countries like Spain do, it also has gorgeous sandy beaches which are just waiting to be explored. Moreover, since there are way fewer tourists around, you don’t have to worry about crowds of people taking your spot from you. If you happen to be visiting Cape Town, make sure to check out the local urban beaches, which are regarded as some of the best in the entire world. Moreover, there is a special little beach called the Boulders Beach, which features a colony of endangered African penguins which have settled there. You will find many more beaches along the coastline of South Africa, as almost all of it is filled with golden sand and surrounded by warm waters.

Cox & KingsCox & Kings

South Africa is one of the best places in the world to spot a whale in its natural habitat, which is a common pastime, connecting to South Africa culture and traditions. You don’t even have to rent a boat or go on a cruise, as South Africa is one of the few places where you can watch whales from the coast and still get a good view. If you happen to have your place of accommodation by the coast, you may even get to see whales from your hotel window! Whales are most easily spotted between the months of June and November, which give you a large window to witness these beautiful beasts. If you get lucky, you might even get to see them jumping in the water! The best spots for watching wales are located among the west and east coasts, and there are plenty of scenic observational spots, with the Hermanus Whale Festival ranking top 1 in the country.

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South Africa has some of the oldest origins among all civilizations in the world, with the first humans believed to inhabit the lands over 100,000 years ago. The European exploration of South Africa began around the 13th century when Portugal tried to discover an alternative to the famous Silk Road that could lead them to China. They mapped the continent around the 15th century, and in the 17th century, the Dutch East India Company founded its first trading post in Cape Town. However, South Africa culture and traditions are also filled with a history of mourning, as after the invasion of the Cape Colony in the late 18th century led to mass migrations of people. Moreover, the rich resources of the country, including diamonds and gold, were often exploited by colonizers, leading to a history of oppression.

Jenman SafarisJenman Safaris

Most of South Africa is covered in gorgeous plains of grasslands flat plateaus, but you will also find some forests and mountain ranges in the region. Some of the highest peaks of South Africa are located in the eastern region of the country, with some parts of the Dragon's Mountain reaching as high as eleven thousand feet high. These mountains also feature their own country within a country, Lesotho, which is inhabited mostly by mountaineers. The mountain is also one of the primary sources of water for South Africa since there is not much underground water found around the plateaus. For truly stunning scenery, make sure to visit the Lisbon Falls in Mpumalanga, which is one of the highest waterfalls in all of the country.

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While South Africa is usually affordable and you can get easily get around on a tight budget, there are plenty of attractions for people willing to splurge on their vacation. One of such luxuries is the famous Blue Train, which is a train route which covers almost a thousand miles between Pretoria and Cape Town. The scenic route takes 27 hours to finish with only one stop in-between. Meals, drinks, and even cigars are included in the price, so you may enjoy the sprawling landscapes in comfort. The train servers always prepare a wide selection of the best African wines, and you can explore the historic city of Kimberley during one of the stops, which hosts one of the most famous diamond mines in the world. While the trip is definitely a memorable experience, it will cost you around 800 pounds for the ticket.

Eranga Jayawardenaap ImagesEranga Jayawardenaap Images

South Africa brings together people from a whole range of different cultural backgrounds, but they all come together for their love of sports. One of the most popular sports in South Africa is cricket, which has a long history among South Africa culture and traditions. One of the most stunning cricket grounds in the world can be spotted in Cape Town. Africans also enjoy rugby, but soccer is the true number one sport in the country. Actually, many players from international clubs have South African origins! If you’re looking for something unusual and fascinating, make sure to visit the Legends Golf Course in Cape Town, at which to reach one of the holes you will need to use a helicopter!

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When you think about sophisticated wines, you probably most usually think about either France or Italy, but South Africa is actually one of the leading countries in the world when it comes to wine production. There are over two hundred vineyards and wine cellars around Cape Town, with plenty more, sprinkled all around the country. There are many wine tasting tours which can help you discover the tastes of South Africa, and you may even find a special event at one of the many museums, which combines wine tasting with education!

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