Our adventure in South Africa officially comes to an end today. Who knew 12 months could go by so fast? But what an incredible year it was! We visited a total of 12 countries, 16 UNESCO world heritage sites, saw some old friends and made some great new ones.
It is really difficult to choose the best parts of the last year, but here were some of the highlights for me:
- Walking along the remote Wild Coast of South Africa.
- Celebrating the marriage of friends at our old stomping grounds in St Andrews, Scotland.
- Drinking wine and taking in the scenery of Stellenbosch, South Africa’s wine country.
- Driving through the dunes of Mozambique.
- Being in awe of the incredible landscapes of the Drakensburg at Golden Gate Highlands National Park.
- Feeling tiny and overwhelmed by the vast deserts of Southern Namibia.
- Being surrounded by thousands of Elephants in the wilds of Zimbabwe.
- Sleeping under the stars in the Makgadigadi Pans of Botswana.
- Surviving an off-road mountain drive in Lesotho.
- Exploring the West Coast of Australia.
After all of that travelling, we are ready to get back to the states for some home cooking, holiday celebrations, and much-needed family time. As much fun as I had here, there are a few things about living in South Africa that I am not going to miss:
Living behind walls: Safety is important, but when everyone is separated by 8-foot walls and electric fencing, it can start to feel a bit like a prison.
The Drivers: I am so excited to not fear for my life every time I get behind the wheel of a car. It’s exhausting always worrying if I am going to hit a pedestrian or be killed by a taxi.
Power Outages, Service Strikes and Violent Protests: We got very spoiled growing up in the first world.
Those gripes aside, there is so much more that I am going to miss about this place. To name just a few:
The Places: South Africa is such a varied and beautiful country. With gorgeous beaches, mountains and savannahs, it has a little of everything. It’s amazing to be able to drive a couple of hours one direction and see a lion, or a few hours the other direction and encounter a beautiful canyon. It was constantly awe-inspiring.
The Prices: It is going to be hard to adjust to American prices after paying $25 for a three-course dinner or $20 for an hour massage. Maybe having a couple of sources of income will help 🙂
The People: It is so humbling to be surrounded by such need and yet see so much joy and charity in the hearts of people. South Africans are a beautiful and happy people. We met so many wonderful humans and made some fantastic friends that I hope we keep for life.
I have enjoyed every day of our short year here, and I know Southern Africa will always have a special place in my heart. Our upcoming adventures may be a little less exotic – finding jobs, settling into a home – but are exciting nonetheless. And we have no intention to ever stop exploring.
Goodbye South Africa, I am sure we will see you again someday!