Anyone who comes to Africa, regardless of color, country, or faith, feels an irresistible attraction. Because it is raw. Because Africa is calling her children home like a mother. She may be elderly, bewildered, and destitute, but the navel pull remains. I can’t help myself. -John Ryan, One Man’s Africa.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu dubbed South Africa the Rainbow Nation during the first democratic elections following the end of apartheid in 1994. It’s a metaphor for the coming together of South Africa’s many nations – a country with 11 official languages.
It’s an apt name, not just because of the diversity of people here, but also because of the biodiversity. The fluctuating microclimate gives the impression that you are continuously moving into an entirely other planet, all while staying in the same nation.
Let me show you:
Red is for the Karoo
One of my favourite spots in South Africa is the Karoo. This huge forest stretches over many provinces and is teeming with wildlife, undulating slopes, and crimson canyons. Desolation Valley, which has a variety of animals and excellent trekking, is depicted.
Most people would think I’m crazy for preferring this hot, harsh environment than the peace of the beach or the enchantment of the forest, but the huge distance between a fingertip and another person, rather than in sight, is what keeps me going. Another individual, providing a genuine sense of serenity and seclusion that I had never experienced before.
Most people are only passing through, but this is a mistake. The Karoo is a destination in and of itself.
Orange is for Hogsback
It’s a refreshing change to leave the beach and head interior, not far from the coastal road. The air smells of the salty sea and the freshness of the trees. The distant sound of waterfalls and the roar of baboons reminded me that we were still in Africa.
The permaculture farm where I reside (Terra Khaya) is fully off the grid, which provides a great sense of serenity and oneness with nature, as well as a beautiful view from the outdoor shower.
Yellow is for Golden Gate Park
Looking through my images and remembering what it was like to walk in the gorgeous Golden Gate Highlands National Park immediately took me there. While I appreciated the landscapes and green hills, I had several “OMG I’m in Africa now” moments.
It’s certainly one of the most beautiful and natural locations I’ve ever been. There were few people around, but there were lots of wildebeest, zebra, kudu, and springbok. Don’t simply take the Garden Route in South Africa. The middle section was also discovered.
Green is for the Drakensberg Mountains
Every now and again, you come across a statistic in South Africa that is so astounding that you can’t believe everyone talks about it so nonchalantly.”
For example, ‘The beginning of humanity lies north of Johannesburg,’ or ‘You can see all five Big Five in Kruger National Park,’ and notably, ‘If you trek in the Drakensberg amphitheatre, you will witness the world’s second largest waterfall in Johannesburg.
I had no idea it existed until the day before. After a few hours, I came at this lovely location, where Lesotho riders were making peace signals and taking pictures with me. On a typical day in South Africa, everything is enjoyable.
Blue is for the wild coast
Coffee Bay was passed quickly on a road trip to South Africa, but with some time remaining at the end of my second month in the country, I’m thinking about where I truly want to go back, and this location keeps showing up in my thoughts… I was stuck there for another nine days, unable to remove it.
Turn around and go about; it’s simply beautiful and green. The spherical and colourful houses that are typical of the area give it such a distinct appearance. Cows are relaxing on the beach. The water is turbulent, but it is warm enough to swim in. There are cliffs for leaping and swimming holes in the limestone walls.
I know what will be on my bucket list every time I come to Rainbow Nation.
Indigo is for love
Indigo is the most difficult hue in the rainbow to perceive with the naked eye, yet we know it exists.
The same is true of South Africa’s pleasant vibe and inviting demeanour – it’s how you feel.
On our route to the Drakensberg, my road trip companion and I stopped for a BBQ on the street next to the metal hut. The chef was astonished to see us at first, but he quickly warmed up when he discovered we were strangers eager to eat his meal.
Her mother came out, delighted to see international visitors, and took down my email address and encouraged me to stay if I returned to her town. She even resent the invitation a few days later.
I doubt I’ll ever forget it. Neither his friendliness nor his grin.
Purple is for Cape Town sunsets
Cape Town is without a doubt one of the most beautiful cities on the planet. A massive mountain rises from the centre and continues until it reaches the shore and exits the city. The sunsets from the summit of Table Mountain or Camps Bay below are spectacular.
I used to have a hard time answering the question of which nation I preferred to visit the most. They all cater to a certain interest, such as hiking, the beach, or culture. But, I can easily answer this question now: South Africa. Whatever you’re looking for when on vacation, you’re likely to find it there. It truly has everything.
Rainbow Nation, I hope to see you again soon.
Have you been to South Africa? What is your favourite part?