cape town, south africa
South Africa is, perhaps, one of the most beautiful places in the world. The diversity of cultures, people, and scenery make it a top must-see destination.
Some fun facts about S. Africa…
Capital :: Pretoria
Population :: About 50 million people
Currency :: Rand – $1 equals about 6.71 ZAR
Language :: S. Africa has 11 official languages – English, Afrikaans, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swazi, Tswana, Tsonga, Venda, Xhosa, and Zulu.
National Anthem :: The National Anthem of South Africa – click here to read the translation.
We lived in the Mpumulanga province near the city of Nelspruit for about three years . We had much to do at our fingertips but the best part was being only about 20 minutes from Kruger National Park. This was my kid’s favorite part about living there. Who wouldn’t love a safari drive through a park the size of Israel for sightings of Africa’s Big Five? (Click here and here to view and download various printables of African animals.)
Quiz Time! Can you name the five most prized and difficult animals to hunt in Africa, commonly referred to as The Big Five? Answer found here!
S. Africa is a very outdoors culture. Outings to botanical gardens, sipping coffee at outdoor cafes, and frequent braais (pronounced bry), or what we would call BBQ’s, all contribute to this culture who would rather go barefoot than take the time to slip on shoes. My 9 year old loves this and still doesn’t understand why he has to wear shoes to attend American schools!
South Africans love their meat! Borewors, a sausage made with minced beef and spices, is found everywhere in SA. Sauces and chutneys are also very popular. On the dessert menu, you will always find malva pudding, melktart, and rusks (similar to biscotti) for dipping into your coffee. Black Africans love such delicacies as chicken feet and pap, a finely ground maize that looks like mashed potatoes.
As foreigners in a beautiful land, we can’t be mesmerized by our surroundings and forget the 50 million orphans that lie at our doorsteps. Perhaps the sweetest sightings are the ones I’ve seen of my own kiddos loving on a child who has experienced so much pain and loss at such a young age. There is much power in their tender acts of kindness.
There’s so much more that my kids and I would love to share with you about S. Africa. It’s an amazing country with amazing people. A couple of kid’s books on SA we’ve enjoyed include…
Wife, mother, lover of people, photographer, knitter, blogger and world traveler, Jen Price has traveled to dozens of countries, not merely as a tourist, but rolling her sleeves up and going well off the beaten path so that she might get to know the people, learn the culture, and find the heart of the place. In 2005, Jen co-founded Ten Thousand Homes, an organization dedicated to bringing hope and homes to thousands of children orphaned in sub-Saharan Africa. She and her family lived in southern Africa for three years before returning to the USA last year. Jen continues to travel internationally, camera in tow, with more passion than ever to tell the stories of beautiful people the world sometimes forgets. You can check out her stories and photos on her blog, I Believe In Love.
Exploring Geography is a weekly feature at mama smiles, showcasing cities, states, and countries in a child-friendly manner. Email mamasmilesblog at gmail dot com if you are interested in contributing.