Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Welcome to sunny South Africa.

Welcome to sunny South Africa!
Howzit! (Hallo in South African slang)
Today, I am the featured stop at Blogtrotting, a great way to see the world from the convenience of your own home. So join in the fun and visit the world.

To introduce myself my name is Cat and my family and I live in Pretoria in the Gauteng province of South Africa. 
So this is South Africa – as you can see, our coastline resembles a smile, and we'd like to welcome you here. South Africa is a viby and lively mix of cultures and we speak 11 official languages. Most South Africans are at least bilingual. South Africans stem from a wide origin - African, Khoisan, European and Indian and most of us are in some form from mixed origins. Although we are facing the devastation of an AIDS pandemic and the threats of violent crime, most South Africans are building our country towards a positive future.
We live in a country of incredible contrasting beauty - all in the size comparable to Columbia. We have mountains to rival the Alps (The Drakensberg),
cities so beautifully located that they are know as the most scenic in the world (Cape town),
 

incredibly beautiful semi-arid region, often referred to as “God's country” (The Karoo),


natural forests with huge age old trees (the Garden route), - we did a Canopy tour there-
sandstone wonders (Clarins and the Golden gate National Park)
and beautiful of the Lowveld and surrounding area.
Our coastline is rugged and beautiful and as two oceans meet at the tip of Africa, we have two diverse coastlines filled with rugged beauty of the Western cape coastline,

to the calm of the East cape beaches






















and some of the world's most famous surfing spots like Cape St Francis and Jeffreys bay.




























The Natal coast has a beauty of it's own including Durban's surfing spots.
No, we don't actually have lions roaming the city streets, but we have nature pretty close to us. Where I am sitting right now in my office, I can see duiker and blesbok in a tiny reserve inside the city ( but I am probably one of only 200 people that have this honor). We do have a small reserve about 30 minutes drive from home where we live where can see zebra, antelopes, hippo and even rhino. We live a comfortable 1 and a half hours drive from the Pilansberg National Park (big 5 country) and 4 and a half hours drive from the famous Kruger National Park. About a year ago, the Lil Miss and I saw 4 of the Big 5 in one morning in the Kruger National Park.
This year, South Africa is hosting the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup and will have thousands of visitors from around the world in this unique location. Soccer is the most popular sport for South Africans from African origin, while rugby and cricket is predominant in the rest of the population. Believe me, things get quite crazy, especially during the rugby season.
South Africa is also famous for some of our products, for instance, my personal favorite, excellent wines. Want to try some? I would suggest a KWV Merlot, Vergelegen Chardonnay or how would you like some champaigne? Well, technically we are not allowed to call it that, but our Cap Classique wines match the best of French - my personal favorite, Krone Borealis by Twee Jonge Gezellin. At a close second, we produce most of the world's jewellery class diamonds (so you my sport a few on your finger) and produced the biggest diamond ever. By the way, the gold or platinum in your engagement ring and wedding band possibly also comes from here. Our fruit is truly legendary across the world.
Apart from our products above, South Africa also provided the world with the first human heart transplant, the CAT scan, the Bumbo seat and many more. The first space tourist was SA internet Whiz kid Mark Shuttleworth and our golfers Retief Goosen and Ernie Els are legends following on Gary Players footsteps. We have produced 4 Nobel Peace prize winners of which I had the honour to meet two, Madiba (President Nelson Mandela) and the Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
On the entertainment front, we bask in our own little bit of Oscar glory - Charlize Theron won the Oscar for best actress in 2004 while local movie Tsotsi won the best foreign language film in 2006 . Local picture, District 9 was nominated for 4 awards this year, amongst them for best picture. Also worth the see for the story behind South Africa's rainbow nation, see Invictus starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. Our musicians are renowned from Ladismith Black Mambazo to Dave Matthews.
But the tie that binds South Africans, apart from a love of Africa and the outdoors, is the food. Or more particular, the braai.  A feast of meat grilled on open coals and enjoyed by all the cultures. We even have a national braai day on Heritage day, the 25th of September each year. It is a social event that takes place around the country and on a Saturday afternoon your neighbours lamb chops and boerewors ( a spicy beef and venison sausage) will get your taste buds going.
As to our city, Pretoria is the Capital city of South Africa and part of the big metropolitan powerhouse that includes Johannesburg and the surrounding areas. We have and excellent climate - moderate and pleasant throughout the year. Our area is famous for the great Highveld thunderstorms - a spectacular event producing our summer rain season.
Pretoria is known as the Jacaranda city and each year in October our city is transformed into a purple glory. 
We house 5 Universities and a world top 10 Zoo. Pretoria has many lovely outdoor parks and nature areas of which the Faerie Glen nature reserve, the National Botanical Gardens and the Struben Dam are our personal favorites.

I hope you have enjoyed my little tour around my country and my city. We hope to see you in person in South Africa, or failing that, on this blog or one of the other South African bloggers (see my right hand side bar - "Local is lekker"). Cheers!
(If after all this, you want to know more, click on the links in the text in the post to link back to older posts)

As per usual, also playing along with Angie on Wednesdays.

37 comments:

  1. What a lovely tour!

    The jacarandas are blooming here in Texas. This morning was the first I've seen the flowers.

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  2. I love Blogtrotting!! Thanks for the tour:-)

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  3. Cat, what an incredible tour! And Tutu, too!


    Such a stunning place...thank you for the glimpse of its beauty. :)

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  4. Howzit?

    Great post!!! I am proud to say I visited nearly all of those locations, enjoyed the wine and braais, and DMB is my all time fav band. Yay South Africa!!

    Cheers!

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  5. What a beautiful country! I pray I get to come visit you and your country some day.

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  6. Wow, what a rich and diverse culture. I love the purple jacaranda (but purple is my favorite color). Thanks for the great tour of your country. It was very informative.

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  7. WOW! I just LOVED this post and LOVEd getting to know so much about your country. I think I might even have the kids read this post for school to learn a bit as well :)

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  8. OMG I'm speechless. God's country in deed. Thanks so much for sharing. I'm your latest follower.

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  9. I LOVE this post because I love this country of ours...even with all the negatives I don't think there is a place on earth I would rather live.

    That photo of the "Valley of Desolation" in the karoo is just so beautiful.

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  10. What a beautiful Country. Thanks for the tour. I had the opportunity to fly into SA on my way to Tanzania 18 months ago, but took the Europe route instead. Maybe next time. I love Africa and am trying to convince my husband to go for about two years. He is not listening though.

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  11. You are so lucky to live in such a beautiful place! Thank you for the tour! I saw you on SITS and had to visit your site!

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  12. wow! what an amazing post - you should for south african tourism! you met nelson mandela? tell me more!

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  13. Fab-u-lous post Cat!
    (and I have to say I am a wee bit jealous that you have met Mandela!)

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  14. Gosh I had no idea there were 11 official languages in South Africa!

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  15. Cat, that was an awesome tour! Your photos are amazing, and so informative. I've never thought of visiting such a faraway country, but you've inspired me!

    Rev. Desmond Tutu came to Cincinnati years ago and spoke at an event hosted by my mom's employer. She got to meet him, too!

    Have a wonderful day!

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  16. So, what's the best time of the year to visit your wonderful country!

    I loved your tour and all the photos and am especially pleased by the wine recommendations!

    The photo of your son in the header is so captivating -- those eyes!

    Thanks for BlogTrotting.

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  17. Great tour! I have said it before that I definitely want to visit South Africa. It looks like a beautiful place to visit. Great post!

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  18. This is awesome. I'm a bit of a dork. I didn't remember you were from South Africa! I absolutely loved this tour and all the information. Very, very, very well done!

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  19. wow, you got some really nice photos there of SA. If only the people knew that that is just a drop in the bucket of our diverse country

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  20. You are a wonderful tour guide, and that was a beautiful tour of your lovely home country! Thank you!

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  21. What an awesome place in which you live.

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  22. Wow - what a tour guide!

    You did us proud dear Cat!

    Stunning pics btw.

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  23. Visitng from Blogtrotter! What a beuatiful country. I would love to visit someday :)

    We knew some people who moved to Vancouver from South Africa. Oh the stories they told! And those accents! Love the accents :)

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  24. What a fantastic article!

    OK, you mentioned nationalities. I'm admitting my ignorance here by wondering what Khosian is?

    I had no idea that your geography was so diverse!

    I had to take a course on SOuth Africa in college but it mostly covered political/cultural issues so I didn't know about the geography and cool things like first heart transplant, etc.

    Were you born in South Africa? What is your favorite thing about living there? Why do you have the privilege of having an office overlooking a reserve? Just curious.

    Really loved this!

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  25. thanks for the tour! gorgeous, gorgeous scenery. maybe some day i can visit there in real life.

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  26. What a glorious tour! The pictures are gorgeous. I've met quite a few South Africans and they are all such warm people; it might just be the culture. :-)

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  27. That tour was amazing! I want to come visit now.

    Which four of the big 5 did you see on that visit?

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  28. I learned a lot about South Africa today. Can't wait for the World Cup to start and get to see more of the country!

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  29. Howzit to you, too! Some day I'm going to journey down South where you are. Looks like lovely country!

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  30. I'm so glad I stopped by! What a great tour of South Africa - I had no idea the terrain was so varied!

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  31. Cat, that was a fantastic tour! Just like everyone else, now I'm wondering exactly what it would take to talk my husband into a South African vacation! So, so beautiful. Such a varied landscape, from the mountains to the beaches, deserts and forests.

    And I have always wanted to do a canopy tour! Really and truly! They just seem like such an amazing experience.

    So with 11 languages, what is your native tongue? Afrikaan?

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  32. I love blog trotting so much because I get to live for a small moment in your world. This is one place in the world that I would love to visit. You really brought it to life for us.

    Kim
    The Misplaced
    Midwesterner

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  33. That is so great! What beautiful pics of your area!!

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  34. what a great tour! I've read bits and pieces over the past couple years reading your blog but you shared a lot of new things i didn't know!! VERY COOL!

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  35. Wow. Wow. Wow!!!! I have always wanted to visit South Africa but now I am just chomping at the bit! How incredibly beautiful. You must feel so blessed to live there.

    I also have twins! And I think you know Debi at Who Says Eight is Enough. She is a good friend of mine. I remember her speaking so dearly of you during the Tuesday Blog Party last year. I hope you will join us again this year.

    I am hosting Blogtrotting today! I hope you will stop by!

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  36. These pictures are gorgeous! I have always wanted to visit South Africa. I hope someday I can. Until then, thank you for the fabulous virtual tour!
    I'm a twin mom too! Yay for twins!

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