Questions about South Africa

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Aug 27th, 2001, 08:20 AM
  #1
Canadian
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Questions about South Africa

My husband and I live in Canada and are thinking of going on a tour of Zulu and Boer War battlesites in South Africa in March 2001. I'd be glad of comments, both positive and negative, from anyone who has been to South Africa and particularly KwaZulu-Natal. All you hear about South Africa in the news these days is AIDS, violence, human misery. I realize that such things exist the world over and that the media has a tendency to report only bad news. If you honestly think it's risky to go there, tell me. If you think it's a wonderful place to visit, tell me. We want to hear all views. Thanks.
 
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Aug 27th, 2001, 09:04 AM
  #2
Lisa
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I am an ex-South African who has been living in the States for 18 years. We go back frequently to visit and travel and these trips are always incredible. We enjoy them so much and our stories and photos are enjoyed by our American friends that we have been persuaded to take a group of them with us next year.

Admittedly Johannesburg is not too safe but there are wonderful places to visit that are both safer and more interesting. If you are going into more isolated or rural areas where most of the battlefields are, I would feel safer going with an experienced guide/tour than doing it on my own.

Natal/Kwazulu is a beautiful part of the country and there are good game areas as well. I would definitely include a visit to a game reserve as this is always a highlight of our trips.




 
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Aug 27th, 2001, 09:04 AM
  #3
Penelope
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I visited some of those sites a few years back and found them interesting. The countryside is often attractive, too. There is an old mission station where the local people weave rugs, the name of which I will look up and post on this forum. I ordered a rug by choosing certain colors and designs to be considered in its creation (there was none in stock of the dimension [a runner] that I wanted). When I received it, I found an unusual fusion of colors (red and orange) and what looks for all the world like two Gillette double-blades with a large arrow, but I prize the rug. Nobody else in Decatur, Georgia, has anything like it! I would not hesitate to go to RSA; it is a great and spectatularly beautiful country. You might check out yesterday's NY Times travel section (Sunday, Aug. 26). There was a lengthy article on safari camps in RSA, including one along the Natal coast. You can have access to it by going to www.nytimes.com. P
 
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Aug 27th, 2001, 03:25 PM
  #4
Jo
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Having family in SA, and being a frequent visitor - don't hesitate! Very beautiful, lots to do, friendly people. Yes, crime is a problem, but if you are careful it won't be a problem for you.
There is a lot of suffering in Africa, but there is also a lot of happiness. Go - see for yourself!
 
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Aug 27th, 2001, 11:15 PM
  #5
local
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I think if we would not go anywhere if we let the media be our guidance and, although I have been living in SA all my life, I also sometimes get despondent about all the bad news - and there is a lot of it. But then you hear about the school where only 2% of the pupils passed there final exam one year and the next year they had a 98% pass rate because the schoolmaster put some real effort into the school; that the life expectancy is increasing; that illiteracy is decresing; that more pupils are going to school; that 13 rural areas have been earmarked for special developmental attention and, last but not least, that we (only sometimes) play good rugby and, oh yes, Lisa, that SA biltong tastes much better than US beef jerky.

And that we have beautiful country!! I really like to travel and the country never ceases to surprise me.

KwaZulu-Natal is indeed a beautiful area and, depending on how much time you have, a visit to Golden Gate (near Bethlehem), the Drakensberg mountains and even Swaziland is doable.

Enjoy planning your trip!!

 
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Aug 28th, 2001, 08:35 AM
  #6
Canaadian
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Thanks for your helpful and encouraging replies. I think you've all tipped the balance in favour of our going (in March 2002, not 2001, as I accidentally wrote in my original post). Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.
 
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Aug 28th, 2001, 11:29 AM
  #7
Penelope
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The place I mentioned earlier in regard to rugs is the E.L.C. [Evangelical Lutheran Church?] Art and Craft Centre in Rorkes Drift. P
 
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Aug 31st, 2001, 07:55 AM
  #8
Lisa
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Oh yes,Local, the Biltong!!!!!!!! That alone is worth the trip. Jerky-yuk!Not to mention, crunchies, appletizer, yellow cling peaches, litchis, (the fruit that tastes like fruit)The fish - crayfish, snoek, sole, kabeljou

And of course, the prices. Canadian dollars may not go as far as the American dollar, but eating out there is much cheaper for us.
 
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