Any tips/advice for maximizing the experience of South Africa?

Hello friends,

I am a young traveller planning on going to South Africa for the first time for work experience in the next year.
I want to ask if any of you have any tips on how to make the most of a trip there?
What are the differences in mentality between Canadian/American people and South Africans? How do you go abouts to meet new people? Where are the cool, laid-back areas? What are some things to do and/or avoid? What would you advise to someone going there for the first time?
I am very interested in the country and hopefully maybe some of you guys know some things about it!


Hi Angiepangie,

Welcome to Expat-Blog :)

Feel free to browse through the discussions on Everyday life in South Africa as it might contain some information you are seeking :)

Thank you

Expat-blog Team

Hi Angie

I have a few apartments here at my house in Stellenbosch which I rent out for short or longer terms and we often have students from abroad.  Previously we lived in Cape Town.  All I can say is that Stellenbosch is one of the nicest towns in South Africa - to me the nicest.  Because it is a university town there are many local and international students and I find the people extremely friendly here.

Martie de Beer

Hi Angie

It all depends what you're interested in. If you're interested in seeing the Big 5 animals (Elephants, Lions etc) then you'll want to visit a game reserve like Kruger National Park. If you like hiking, then you can't lose with a trip down the Knysna or Plettenberg Bay area in the Western Cape, with stacks of hiking trails. If you want to do the regular tourist thing, you'll go to Cape Town and take the cable car up to the top of Table Mountain. If you care about history, you'll spend your time in museums. Any one of those activities could take up a whole holiday.

My advice would be to fly in at Johannesburg, rent a car and then drive down to a quaint town like Graaff Reinet for an overnight, then spend some time down at the coast in Knysna, then drive up the N2 to Cape Town, and just fly out from Cape Town afterwards. You'll get to take in a mix of Johannesburg's urban bustle (although watch out for the crime - no wandering around the streets at night!) with old architecture and natural beauty down south. If you head down to Knysna, take a trip on a ferry on the Knysna Lagoon (always one leaving from the Knysna Waterfront) - can't be beaten for something different!

Good luck :)

Hi Angie, once in Cape Town, call me or email and I will show you around. Mike.

South Africans and Americans are very different animals.  The differences in humour are most obvious.  Americans are generally more closed toward strangers.

If you ask a South African whether one should turn left or right at the robot, he will tell you.  Ask an American the same thing and he will think you are a crazy foreigner.