When you come to #MeetSouthAfrica, you will inadvertently end up on some of our infatuating beaches. The Indian and Atlantic Ocean glistening in the sun will hold your gaze for hours and the soft white sand that will warm your buttocks, will have you coming back for more year after year.
But when one goes to the beach, you do not simply just allow your toes to touch the sand, look left and look right, stare at the water and then say “Okay I’ve been to the beach! Let’s go home!” Oh NO!
You throw open your towel and stretch yourself out on the sun baked sand. You get a cool beverage or sneakily drink a cold cider from your satchel. You lay there slow-roasting like a Sunday spit-braai, steadily turning now and again to get that even tan on all sides. You might play a game of beach bats with a friend running around a slightly flaunting you beach body you worked on all winter. Then you walk to the cool water and let your toes feel the way first. While you wet your hands and arms, your friends playfully splash you from behind. Then you run off after them and dive in head first! Next up is the baking-game on the crispy towel again… out comes the cider, cue some plans for shenanigans or a rocking pub crawl this evening and smack in some sun-burnt shoulders.
NOW THAT’S A DAY AT THE BEACH MAN! And traveling… is exactly the same!
One cannot simply drive through a country, snapping some pictures, slapping it on Instagram and send it home saying ‘wow it’s beautiful here’ (said in a lame voice). You can’t go hiking just to see the lush forests of the Garden Route. One does not drive all the way to the Wild Coast just to say you were there and brag with the wild parties you had with the same old friends… And you definitely do not just spend 30 minutes wolfing down your dinner at a quaint restaurant while complaining that the service was too slow. And when you only talk in your mother tongue and barely give more than the odd wave to a local, it’s sadly simple…
YOU HAVEN’T LEFT YOUR COUNTRY YET!!
You roll in the grass on your morning #hiking trail. You jump into the VERY refreshing water of the Cape Town beaches. You make sand angels on the beach and get sand everywhere. You run down the dune like a happy dog who hasn’t been to beach all week. You randomly dive into some bushes on your way home after a night out. You chat to the friendly guys at the petrol stations and ask where they are from. You order starters and enjoy a few drinks before ordering food at the cool and cozy restaurant for dinner. You tip the waiters and bar staff. You tip well.
You take your time traveling. You stop off at random places next to the road and walk a few meters into the veld or bush while watching out for ostriches. You learn the local tongue and how to say funny things like ‘maphuta’ ‘enkosi wena’ or ‘slet-sappie’. You ask the bar staff what they are doing over the weekend and join them for a fire on the beach at Afrovibe Backpackers in South Africa’s own Slow Town. You get lost in the streets of the Maboneng Precinct while staying at Curiosity Backpackers. You switch off your phone for a few days and cheer the local rugby team.
This way you will open doors to authentic, original and once in a lifetime occasions. You will EXPERIENCE a country with its ups and downs and how the local people conquer their challenges.
And this way, you will truly #MeetSouthAfrica. The best and most beautiful country in the world!
So jump in the deep end and get wet! Here or in any country you want to.