South Africa. My home country. The land of my birth. One of the most dangerous countries in the world*. Paradise.
Depending on the day, I will probably give you a different description of the land I grew up in. But, now that I live in one of the safest countries in the world, Portugal**, one thing was certain, I was nervous to go back.
Of course, I was excited to see friends and family and real animals. But almost every animal is able to eat or kill you. And I hadn’t seen friends in such a long time that I was not certain that they remembered me. Family may have disowned me. And, thanks to Covid, the number of homeless and unemployed desperate people was even higher than it was when I had last visited. Hijackings, murders, and rape don’t often make the news. But that is only because they are too commonplace to find interesting. Corruption is rampant. As is bribery. And well, let’s just say that I was hovering on the wall of terrified.
I freaked out even more on the day of my flight because it quickly emerged that, flying through Angola, I needed a Covid test. Here I was thinking that those days were long gone… What if I was positive?
I tried at least to make my attitude such. I boarded the flight and braced myself for what came next, because I had no idea what else to do!
But I touched down (only a few hours later than planned) and suddenly there was peace. There were also smiling family waiting at the airport to meet me. And suddenly I wasn’t afraid anymore.
In Portugal I had been afraid to drive cars, seeing as the country was so safe, it was one of the only things that could injure you. In south Africa, I jumped into the driver’s seat on the other side (left) of the road and managed to swerve both the plethora of potholes and the hijackers.
In Portugal I was afraid of the rocks and the other surfers. But in South Africa, despite the sharks and the busy waters, there seemed to be a complete lack of fear.
And so it continued. Placing myself in a dangerous place, somehow swallowed all my fears and got my heart beating for life instead! It is flipping good to be alive!
Six weeks vanished all too quickly and so much happened that it all seems like a distant blur, but I’ll share some of the highlights here, just because you should probably go visit South Africa too!
1) South Africa is home to some of the nicest people on the planet.
2) There are enough mountains that you can climb a different one every day.
3) The surf is exceptional. (And the sharks are currently deemed friendlier than the seals)
4) The waters are beautiful and while some of them are cold, they offer so many adventures that you need to plan ample time for sailing, kayaking, swimming, cliff jumping, wading and chilling.
5) We have REAL animals. And while most of them are dangerous, you can still admire them from a distance.
6) Being a pretty big country, there are lots of exquisite road trips you can enjoy. Can I suggest taking your mother along for company?
7) There is so much adventure waiting to be had, the hardest part is trying to work out how to fit it all in. Suicide Gorge, was probably my favourite.
8) There are some exceptionally beautiful trails and roads for cycling, and while we don’t have much resembling cycle paths, the rush of and cliffs make the whole experience even more thrilling.
9) Being a land with 11 official languages, there is more than enough culture to absorb and enjoy.
10) Don’t even get me started on the nature!
11 – 6097) The food, the vibe, the beats, the smiles, the goodness, the light…
South Africa is a land full of colour and the heartbeat of the nation is one that you want to dance to. We are a rainbow people and a land abundant in goodness (even if there seems to be a big lack in electricity.)
The world is large, and there are many places to visit, but make sure you put South Africa somewhere near the top of your list.
As to my fears? They did eventually return, but only because I was afraid that I was making the wrong decision about returning to Portugal. But, if you read my last post, the secret to fully living, is to being exactly where you are, because that is where you are meant to be. Every day is an adventure, but you have to be open to it.
*Currently listed as 6th most dangerous country (https://wisevoter.com/country-rankings/most-dangerous-countries-in-the-world/)
** Currently listed as 6th safest country in the world (https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/safest-countries-in-the-world)