Sunday, 10 May 2015

South Africa... Why to GO & Why to AVOID...

   #Random #southafrica

Like any other place, South Africa has its charms and repulsion. It was its charms that attracted me but after living in South Africa for 1.5 years, me & my husband came to realize its not the place we want to live forever. But before we delve into that, lets see some good aspects of South Africa...

Its a beautiful place and Cape Town is just heaven. You might have heard South Africa is beautiful but trust me word the beautiful doesn't do justice to Cape Town. It's just heaven. I loved travelling to CT always and a trip there is the best holiday we ever had. Its like the full package, you have most beautiful beaches, you have mountains and even penguins... On my last trip to CT, I took a moment to take in the last view of this Godly place and if I ever get a chance to visit it, I will surely do so... Also if you do get a chance grab it, and don't forget to do the garden route... its simply mesmerizing...

Awesome wildlife and experiences: SA offers such wildlife experience that you won't get ever especially in India. My favorite part was playing with the cubs and ostrich. I never dreamt that I would touch a lion ever, it was simply the best experience ever.  

There were other good experiences as well like shark cage diving, dolphin shows, feeding giraffe & ostrich with bare hands etc. It was all just perfect. Something that you get to do only once in life. 
For this wonderful experiences, if you get a chance, do go...
And yup... That's a lion shitting right behind OUR CAR -->

Charismatic beaches...: Beaches in CT are very cold, we Indians can't enjoy that water... I tried and had an experience of 1000 needles piercing my feet. It is because CT has Atlantic Ocean and we all know how Atlantic is. However Durban has Indian Ocean and just like us Indians, it's warm :). The beaches in Durban are overly crowded hence you will get best beach experience in places near to Durban like St. Lucia, Margate, Ramsgate etc. They are less commercial and best beach experience ever

Incredible Wine Estates & Wine tasting experiences: Near CT there is a town called Stellenbosch that has the best wine estates. Most wine estates have wine tasting options which allow you to taste various wines. For a nerd like me all wines are same but for others its quite interesting. Also, some farms like the Spier also have small zoo which offer incredible interactive experience with animals. We played with porcupine, eagles and also owls :)  

There are few other good things as well, like traffic, people have amazing traffic sense. Unlike India they follow lane driving, honking (blowing horn) is literally banned. If you honk it means you are shouting on someone. 
Pure tap water. Water is so good that you can drink directly from tap. I can't dream of even cooking with tap water in India
Food options: Very big plus point for Indians, wherever you go you will always find Indian food with a taste of your liking 
Fruits & Vegetables are very good. You can actually pick up an apple and eat it without washing, you will not fall sick (but do please wash it, it's unhygienic by default)
Cleanliness, you will not find a single piece of litter on road and if there is, someone decently will pick it up and throw it in bin. Well, I don't need to comment what happens in India
Air, very pure and fresh. Some benefit of less population and smart people

Reading above it does looks like a perfect place to live, isn't it. But now lets see why we came back... I am not going to add any pics of these experiences so please bear with me...
  • Very high crime rate: We all have read about crimes everywhere, our India is no behind but in Joburg I was terrified. Everyday people being hijacked, murdered. You can't go out in the evening without the fear of being mugged. My friends there have been mugged at gunpoint, some guys once surrounded my car one evening to steal from me. These are terrifying experiences. The extent is so high that they actually have law that if you see any suspicious characters around you while you are at a traffic signal, you can jump it and you don't need to pay the fine
  • Road Rage: Some places of South Africa road rage is very high. Road rage meaning people attacking cars just because of anger. Once a car just honked on another and guy  took out AXE from his trunk and smashed the front mirror of honking car..!
  • Xenophobia: Xenophobia means 'dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries' and its increasing. Its also on internet that South Africans are a little insecure about foreign people coming in and taking their jobs. The crime is not very high against Indians yet, but I wont take a chance in long term
  • Frauds: Very popular. Once a guy, don't know how, swapped my husband's debit card with fake card and stole 6000ZAR (equivalent to 30,000Rs.) Because of these high rate of frauds, banks in South Africa have good insurance policy but still...!
  • No proper public transport: Its very unsafe to travel by train or local taxis. If you don't have a car then your travel is massive expenditure. One cannot afford a cab everyday. Hence, the process of renting a car and self-driving is very popular there. Well, if you don't know how to drive then you are in even bigger problems
  • No good doctors: They have awful process, you have to go through GP, you can't go to a specialist directly. Example, if you broke your leg, you will first go to GP who will examine you and if he/she is not able to fix your leg then you will be recommended to a orthopedic. Its insane. My friend almost fainted in pain once and stupid GP referred her after 2 days of useless checkups and mounting issues...
  • Economy & Exchange rate: We all move out of other country for exposure and earn more money. The view of economists is that South African economy will be 'bearish' for next 5 years i.e. the economy will not improve anytime soon. Hence, all money you earn in Rands will be equivalent to lesser INR or Dollars
  • People: I personally didn't find many South Africans very friendly. Some were fine but most were mean and only within their own circles. I have few friends but they were mainly Indian origin South Africans or Non-South Africans. Usually white South Africans look down upon Indians which is simply unacceptable. Also their own culture is very weird, one of my colleague explained me how his marriage works, he said 'sometimes my wife treats me, sometimes I treat her. When it's her turn I prefer someplace fancy'. Also when I told them for us Indian's it's not 'your or my money', for a family it's our money, their first statement was 'what if you get divorced'. Which brings me to my point, people there are not loyal and most married people (that I knew) were on their 2nd or 3rd marriage. I personally don't want to live in a place where relations hold so little meaning
  • Lack of good company: Well it was problem with us, our office didn't had many Indians and getting social doesn't come very easily to me. Hence, I found this as a big problem because outside work, we got terribly lonely
  • No help at home: We Indians have privilege of having help with cleaning and cooking but that's not so easily possible in South Africa. It is there and most people take it weekly or fortnightly but if you want daily, you need to spend massive fortune
  • Corruption: Well, here just like India, South Africa highly corrupt. You can't go anywhere without a bribe. Police, government officials or say everyone else will try to extract money without any reason. My friend keeps 50ZAR note in his licence, the moment someone stops him he pays 50 indirectly and gets to leave without any hassle. 

These are enough but if I think harder there would be more drawbacks and I would like to stop here.

Statistically, yes there are many Indians living there, as a matter of fact Durban has more Indians than any other place in the world (of course outside India). But to me and to my closest friends, we didn't find it suitable. I am sure there are others who like it, but we don't. For us safety and respect is most important and it lacked severely there.

With this article I know my friends in South Africa will be offended, but it is my honest opinion and for no reason will I ever change it.

However, please don't be scared to go to this magnificent place. If you get a chance to go to South Africa do go for a visit. Its nice for vacation and small change but personally I will not recommend for long term. 

Till then
Take Care.


  1. Really skeptical to visit now...

  2. Dear Vedant, for a short visit its fine. Just be little cautious :)

  3. Very nicely written... beautiful pictures :)

  4. Dear Sona. Thanks for the compliment.
    I am glad people liked it :)


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