Hot air balloon African Tourism

10 Beautiful truths I share with my American friends about South Africa

When dealing with stereotypes or ignorance about South Africa, I always resort to telling these ten truths about my beautiful country.

Hot air balloon African Tourism

1. The exquisite beauty of my hometown

Oh, Cape Town how I miss you. There is nothing like a scenic visit to Table Mountain or eating delicious seafood while looking at sweeping views of the city and harbor. The first thing I tell, my curious American friends, is how gorgeous and unmatched Cape Town is.

cape town

Side note: I remember going to a quaint café in Cape Town and being served the most scrumptious hot chocolate of my life. The café made the hot chocolate by using a solid ball of chocolate and pouring hot milk over it. I have yet to find such a delight in the USA.

2. No, we don’t have slaves

Many Americans still think we have slaves. While most South Africans do have a lot of help around the house, our domestic workers are paid, respected and treated as part of the family.

The hardest part of leaving South Africa, aside from leaving my family, was leaving behind our incredible domestic worker. She was a second mother to me and we were all devastated to part ways.

3. Underage drinking is accepted in small doses

My friends were always shocked when I would tell them that in South Africa it is extremely common for the waiter to bring a glass of wine for someone underage.

It is an unspoken rule that most parents will give their children a few sips of wine with their dinner. I credit my distaste for binge drinking to my parents for exposing me to alcohol at a young age.

Side Note: The legal drinking age in South Africa is 18.

4. We have the best game reserves and safaris

If you have a hunger for wildlife, South Africa will feed that hunger tenfold. South Africa is home to many national parks and game reserves. Kruger National Park is justifiably the most well-known game reserve in South Africa.

Safari Lodge Ulusaba
Safari Lodge Ulusaba

The Big Five are present and aside from the Big Five, you will be treated to spectacular views and other exciting animal sightings.

5. We had the secure credit card chip before America had it

Recently popular banks in America issued new cards with security chips in them to their customers and stores were forced to put in new card readers.

Americans thought this was so innovative but I remember even as a kid living in South Africa that our bankcards had these chips.

6. The best burgers come from Steers

I recently went to a new burger place and as I bit into my burger I made a comment to my mom that although the burger was great, I have yet to eat a better burger than Steers.

Steers burger
I have no idea why their burgers are so delicious but it’s been at least 13 years since I ate there and I can still remember the distinct taste of a Steers burger.

7. South Africa is not as divided as it may seem

Yes, racial tensions exist but we are called the Rainbow Nation for a reason. When I go on Facebook now and view my friends’ pages I notice that most -if not all- of their pictures show they have a diverse group of friends.

It’s easy to make friends in South Africa's culturally diverse population - Photo by Andy Carter
It’s easy to make friends in South Africa’s culturally diverse population – Photo by Andy Carter

South Africa is truly a melting pot and it’s beautiful to see.

8. South Africans are hard workers

South Africans are not lazy people and we do what it takes to get the job done. We are reliable and respectful. South Africans tend to stay loyal to their employers and do not typically job hop like in America where it is considered very normal to change jobs every couple of years.

9. Sport is a big deal

Much like in America, Sport is crucial to the culture. The main sports in South Africa are Rugby, Soccer and Cricket. South Africans hold the 1995 Rugby World Cup very close to their hearts not only because of the win but also because this was a game that united a very divided nation.

Springbok captain Francois Pienaar (R) receives th

10. South Africa is not what you see on TV

When I first arrived in America I got asked all kinds of crazy questions and I had no understanding why people would ask these questions until one day I stumbled upon a show about South Africa.

The show skipped over the beautiful Johannesburg buildings that line the sky, the breathtaking beaches of Durban, and the thriving people who inhabit the country.

Wilsons wharf Durban
Durban Wilsons wharf – Photo by

Instead, the show only focused on a portion of South Africa – the poverty and crime.

At first I took offense to the misrepresentation of my home country but then I thought about it a bit longer. Like any country, South Africa has its problems, but I know the truth about the beauty of South Africa and that’s all that matters.