I started penning my Wishlist of Keen Traveller years ago, years ago. I’ve scratched off a few destinations and hope that I have the opportunity to cross off a few more. A few days ago, I had received confirmation about my upcoming trip to the Netherlands and couldn’t help but wonder if we should try and squeeze in a few other countries on our European adventure.

I started scouring flights to London, looking up hotels in Berlin, Germany and wondering if my wallet would be able to handle the current exchange rate pity party. Panning my upcoming trip had me thinking, what if I relocated to London? Imagine Christmas shopping at Harrods or walking along River Thames on warmer days? I thought about how other people that have done it, packed up their lives into cardboard boxes and embarked on a new journey up North. Relocating from one province to another was hard enough for me, it had taken me months to unpack all my belongings and get acquainted with my new city, that I could only imagine what an international relocation would feel like. Whenever I’m asked if I would ever relocate, yes the thought has crossed my mind. I would for the right opportunity, but I have to make note that it would be with a heavy heart.

And what would I miss the most about South Africa?

Our people

Nothing beats a friendly Sanibonani in the morning. I have travelled to a few other countries and South Africans are still the friendliest people I have met. It’s in our genuine smiles, the way we often go out of our way to help and our hearty laughs. It’s our dancing traffic cops and singing shop assistants. Our democratic country is built on diversity, our heritage and culture make us a truly unique nation. A country made up eleven charming languages and each is a reminder of how warm South Africans are. We have many, many things to boast on but our people will still remain number 1.

 

Our food

I come from a home where we are very family-orientated and to me that translated best with food. My best memories are around food and South African food tastes like home indeed. From the tinned fish samoosas, my mother would fry, to the putu my granny would cook along beans curry – South African food tastes like home. I have no doubt that my father’s lamb potjie is a strong contender for best in the country.  But its more than eating a comforting bowl of samp, enjoying roasted mielies on the side of the road or indulging in an extra slice of melktart on a Sunday afternoon. It’s savouring the last drops of the Tropika bottle or sharing condensed milk Ouma’s rusks on cold nights.

 

Our natural gems

Each of our nine provinces holds natural beauty, that South Africans may often take for advantage. We have serene coastlines, blessed with lush green plains and have an array of wildlife that is surely the envy of the world. We can have rows of palm trees and sugarcane on one side and the salty sea on the other. I’ve been lucky enough to experience our wildlife firsthand, had close encounters with curious elephants and seen lions laze on roads so casually. I remember our fishing trips down to the Hole In The Wall, Eastern Cape, our sneaky braais on the Ballito beach and even the long road trip to Cape Town that still provided us with amazing views. I often look back at all my holidays and the best still remain proudly South African. It’s getting lost in the bush, winding roads and padkos.

 

Our weather 

I have taken this for granted. Our summers are warm but not overbearing, our winters cold but not bitterly. After travelling to Sydney, Australia last summer, I couldn’t wait to return to a summer that I knew. I have heard from family and friends how cold Europe is in its cooler months and wonder if my experience with Gauteng winter has me qualified for my trip. Grey skies are almost synonymous with London and I can’t imagine hardly ever seeing our perfectly blue sky often. But what about starry nights? I do quite enjoy our views. Our weather is definitely is as warm as our people and it’s easy to see how its a big hit with tourists.

Our heritage sites

We have eight of the world’s heritage sites, EIGHT. Scattered around the country, they all hold important history to South Africa. We have one of the largest estuary’s in Africa, the iSimangaliso Wetland Park which is home to a number of species. The Drakensberg mountain range which expands beyond its natural splendour, with its rock art. And perhaps the substantial site to me is Robben Island, a sign of resilience for all our anti-Apartheid heroes. But it also extends to our culturally significant Bo-Kaap and Constitution Hill. It’s about the heartstrings of South Africa, it’s what connects us.

With all that South Africa is, moving away would be with great sorrow. South Africa is home, South Africa is family. What would you miss the most about South Africa?

Disclaimer: I have collaborated with Travelstart for this post, all views expressed are my own. All images have been procured from Unsplash.

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