Going Global – Destination South Africa

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to take a class during my time off in August. Why on earth would I use my vacation for a summer class post-graduation? Well it just so happened to take place in South Africa…

This stunning and complex country surprised me in so many ways. If you are looking for your next global conference location or vacation destination, here are three simple reasons to head to South Africa.

#1. Beautiful Landscapes

South Africa really has everything. The first seven days our group stayed in Johannesburg, surrounded by brown hills and grasslands. For week two we flew to Cape Town, which could not have been more different, greeting us with rain, beaches, mountains and forests.

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#2. Flora & Fauna

Being there in winter, the Cape’s wet season, we were able to enjoy colorful daisies, king protea (South Africa’s national flower), and native calla lilies growing wild. Even if you’re not an animal lover, you cannot help but love South Africa’s creatures. I had the opportunity to go on a safari – you will never be able to return to a zoo after seeing zebras, elephants, rhinos, and so many more African animals roaming free. While the safari was beautiful, I must admit I absolutely fell in love with the animal life found outside of Cape Town. We saw penguins that would just waddle up to you, islands full of seals, and groups of whales that came close enough to the cliffs in Hermanus for us to see them from land.

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#3. Diversity

South Africa’s long, complex history, and painful recent past has so much to teach any visitor. With large immigrations from the Netherlands, Britain, India and other African countries, a South African, like an American, can be any race or religion. If you are interested in educating yourself when you visit, the Apartheid Museum, the District Six Museum and the Slave Lodge have a lot to offer. The picture on the left is the Nizamiye Masjid – a new mosque in Midrand, outside of Johannesburg, which was modeled after the famous blue mosque in Istanbul, Turkey and is the largest mosque in the Southern Hemisphere. Islam is just one of many religions practiced by South Africans. The image on the right is from a jazz bar in the crypt of the oldest cathedral in southern Africa, St. Georges Cathedral. From vineyards to hiking to pottery shops, there is so much to do, see and learn in South Africa.

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This is just a small taste of my trip. If my snapshots were not enough to make you fall in love with this country, you’ll have to go see it for yourself!

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