There is a common misconception that South Africa is overflowing with wild animals. This is not so. So, do not expect to see Lions, Giraffe and Elephants on landing at O R Tambo in Johannesburg or Cape Town International Airport. You will be amazed how many people expect this, of course, many South African’s will joke about having a lion in their back garden but only a very few are telling the truth.
Your fancy cameras and mobile phones are like magnets to opportunistic thieves in South Africa. It is easy to flash your tech around and in many cases, it is instinctive but do not do so, instead, be very wary of who is around you at all times and keep the closest of close eyes on every piece of technology.
One of the things that many tourists fail to understand is that tipping your waiter or waitress is the norm in South Africa. Not tipping is seen as impolite and almost an insult and unless the service was diabolical you should not forget to tip.
In the same manner as not showing off your technology, your cash should never be made overly visible. Cash is king among thieves in South Africa and presenting a wallet full of cash can soon see it disappear leaving you penniless. Plastic and mobile app payments are taken nearly everywhere in South Africa, so instead of carrying wads of cash consider other payment options.
Even though you will not find the Big 5 on the runway of the main airport you land at, wild animals are, nonetheless, very much a part of South Africa. Some wild animals can get very close to you, even in the wild and in so-called safer safari type situations. However, the biggest word of advice that can be given is to not touch the animals. Even stray cats may seem tame in the street but if they scratch, you could contract anything from rabies to HIV.
In South Africa, there is such a thing as African time and things tend to go slower. In Cape Town, Capetonians take this to a completely new level of chilled. Don’t be in a rush in South Africa, remain patient and keep cool. Rushing will get you nowhere fast, and plus you are on vacation so what are you hurrying for?
This is the one big thing not to do in South Africa, and game rangers and tour guides frown at this. The horse-like animal with stripes, yes that one, the one that gets chased by lions and leopards. It is a “Zeh-Bra” not a ZEEbra. So please, when in South Africa do not forget and do not get it wrong.
Welcome to South Africa!
The oceans around Cape Town are heavily polluted with a variety of chemicals and pharmaceuticals that are now being found in the flesh of fish being caught. Fish found in waters off Kalk Bay have been found to contain everything from antibiotics and pain killers to cleaning chemicals and other toxic substances with at least 15 different chemical compounds being found in alarming numbers.
It is always good news to hear about declining levels of poaching of any kind. For decades the Niassa Reserve in Mozambique was one of the top spots for illegal elephant ivory poaching. We are elated to report the good news that this once “ivory factory” has not seen a single elephant killed since 2018.
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