South African lifestyle

Updated 2014-07-04 09:54

The South African lifestyle is a mixture of different culture into one rainbow nation. One should not find it difficult to adapt.

Tourists and expats come to South Africa in part because they are attracted by the amazing differences in culture across the country. The lifestyles of South Africans reflect the history and mixed heritage of the country, as the description of it as a 'rainbow nation' suggests. The fact that there are 11 different official languages indicates the cultural richness and diversity of the country, and increasing tourism has encouraged different communities to display their lifestyles and encourage tourists to participate in their culture. A relatively new infrastructure and government style means that there is an atmosphere of freshness, fitting with the famously laid-back South Africans.


Although there is a great range of cultural traditions in South Africa, many populations come together in holding 'simplicity' to be one of the basics of life. This can be seen, for example, in the traditional Cape Dutch architecture of buildings in and around Cape Town. Many of these houses are built around a simple alphabet style, taking letters such as H or T as their basis. These houses, while often founded in very simple and straight lines, could be made more elaborate with the use of gables. Spier Wine Farm is one example of this.


Many visitors come to South Africa wanting to view sporting competitions. These can include cricket, rugby or football. South Africa was the host for the 2010 Football World Cup, and was very famously host to the 1995 Rugby World Cup, the basis of the film Invictus. South Africa is, in general, a very sport-centric nation, and people coming here for a sporting event are likely to find the people friendly, enthusiastic and fiercely competitive. There are also single-competitor activities such as horse riding, rock climbing and kite surfing, or even shark cage diving if the tourists are brave enough. Expats moving to South Africa may want to appreciate the range of sports available here.


South African food can be very different, depending upon which part of the country it is being cooked in. There is the traditional South African braai, a kind of barbecue, but there are also mixtures of cultures with Dutch crueler and koeksister, and other favourites such as tomato bredie, lamb stews and the uniquely South African Bunny Chow, sometimes called Kota. There is also a Malay curry traditionally served in some areas of South Africa which will please those with a sense of adventure. Many modern dishes also serve rice and bean dishes which, while not native to South Africa, have become increasingly popular. Irish immigrants in the 1800s have also contributed cabbage and potatoes cooked in butter, now a common dish in South African households. Expats will have to quickly learn to enjoy these different flavours and food combinations.


Expats can participate in a wide range of lifestyles while in South Africa, from sporty and adventurous to more relaxed and epicurean. One thing which all tourists and expats in South Africa should do is experience some of the country's many wines. South Africa is noted for its excellent vineyards, and there are several colonial plantations which are now destinations on the tourist trail.

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