South Africa comes in at 70, stellar in all that is diversity and exploration.
The scenery is spectacular, wildlife amazing, as people kind as can be, but I find the sense of fear so dominant, it colors much of what I see and do.
Personal Safety: 2
Although it definitely depends on where you go and why, I was reminded by my Bergville pals that personal safety is still a big issue here. You are not free to move about the cabin at your own discretion without seriously looking over your shoulder.
The BazBus is a hit for backpackers, going to all the major stops, and the greyhound and other buses link major cities, as well as a train from Capetown to Joburg.
But, a personal vehicle is the way to go if you aim to explore the untamed.
Cost of Traveling: 2
Africa’s expensive. Safaris cost close to a grand for a week, and a day trip into Kruger, guided, is in the neighborhood of $200. Prices are similar to budget restaurants and hotels in Europe.
Summers are hot and winters are cool, and in-between, there’s enough to tickle your seasonal fancy.
South Africa has something like 27 national languages and infinitely more tribes and native people. It is an anthropologist’s wet dream and a nature lover’s fantasy.
English all the way.
Living Conditions: 4
Housing for the white folks is just like we know it in the West … with a massive security system of protection.
Career Potential: 4
I don’t really know, but I think it’s alright since South Africa remains less rocked by the global recession thanks to its more internalist policies.
There is so much wilderness to explore and so many animals to see, but it’s tough to do it. A total tease, of you will, but with enough foresight, it’s manageable.
ZA definitely has awesome gourmet food, but all in all, I found that the type of food accessible to me at my budget wasn’t particularly healthy.
Yes, there is loads to do, but being able to do it is the major battle. Freedom of movement is severely limited.
Animals/Dog Friendly: 3
Poaching is a big problem, but there’s also a strong level of awareness and doing-something-about-it.
Family Focus: 3
Not too sure, but it seems there’s a mix if individualism and family.
For educated and white women, I think it’s a completely different ball game than for the local black women, relegated to occupying a standing barely above that of property. Here, it felt alright to be a SWF on her own; it didn’t seem to clash with local values.
Communication Technology: 2
For a country as “westernized” as South Africa, I found the access to wifi and the cost of Internet limiting and unpredictable. Contrary to Asian countries, the network is poorly developed and costs an arm and a leg.
Check. Check. Check.
Generally-speaking, people are uber accessible, welcoming, curious and patient with us foreigners
Seeing as how I’ve now been to South Africa twice and plan to come back a third time–in five years, as I told the airline representative–I find it an incredibly cool place to visit.
However, I don’t think I’d want to set up shop here. Between the apparent lack of personal safety and restriction of mobility, I think I would find it a very difficult place to live in.