Johnny’s Guide to South Africa

Never in a million years did I think I would ever venture to anywhere in Africa.  It wasn't even on my bucket list.  But after seeing the country first hand, I'm glad I went, and want to see more.  

Everything  you've heard about the country is true. It’s dangerous, full of crime, hard to travel through, you shouldn't stop at red lights after dark, and there is a huge racial divide unlike anywhere else in the world.  However, it’s also one of the coolest countries I've ever visited, and South Africans are some of the most genuine, warm, and friendly people on the planet. Here is my guide to South Africa.

Things to do in S. Africa

The country is huge so I can only speak of what I've seen so far. But flying into Johannesburg is a good starting point as there are tons of wild life sanctuaries within a few hours drive, and Cape Town is just a short flight away.  

Near Jo'burg as the locals call it, is the Lion Park with the Cheetah Walk, the Rhino Lion Park with an excellent game drive, as well as the Cheetah Rehabilitation Center that we visited.

Safaris and Game Drives:

The animals I was most looking forward to seeing was the Rhinos and Lions, but it turned out that the Cheetahs, Bucks and Wild Dogs were the most interesting to see.  Just an hour and a half away from the city is the Cheetah Walk at the Lion Park and it was an incredible, must do experience.  We combined the walk with the guided safari and highly recommend it over the self-drive, which Larissa and I explain in detail why in episode 60 of the Travel Like a Boss Podcast.  

The best safari was at the Rhino Lion park as it was much bigger and even though you aren't guaranteed to see all of the animals since they roam free on a huge plot of land, we saw a ton. It was the perfect balance of being in the wild without having to spend hours hoping to see something which is the case in big game reserves like Kruger National Park.  

The only safari I wouldn't recommends the Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Center. I'm glad it’s around as it supports a good cause, but it was poorly run and was my least favorite of the parks. Overall however, I would still go to any of the parks again in a heartbeat as I had the time of my life. Next time I’m in S. Africa however, I will be sure to go to some of the larger, over night game parks such as Kruger.  But as a first trip, it was very affordable to go for the day to these and 1/10th of the price of going over night.

Three Minute Video: Highlights of S. Africa

Wine Tasting in S. Africa

Along with the Safaris the Wine Tasting in South Africa was my other favorite thing. I’ve never been a big wine drinker, but South Africa has some of the best wine in the world and near where we stayed in Cape Town were some of the best wineries in the country. If I could do it again, I would have went to a different winery every day that I was in Cape Town, that’s how much I enjoyed it.  Best of all, it was dirt cheap.  

We did a wine tasting at Spier which is the best vineyard in the country and for six wines paired with chocolate it was less than $7US. Imagine spending the entire afternoon, touring the grounds, learning about the wine, and having six half glasses of incredible wine for about a dollar a glass.  It was incredible. In fact, we enjoyed it so much, we went back the next day and took advantage of their picnic option in which we rented blankets, and put together our own basket of cheese, quiches, pies, and wine, all for less than $30 for the day. 

What to eat in S. Africa

If you’re a fan of steaks, BBQ and ribs, you’ll love the food in S. Africa.  What’s funny is that instead of the Paleo and Bulletproof diet being popular, a smart doctor branded the diet the Banting diet after his own name and is so popular that a ton of restaurants have a Banting diet menu, or at least a low carb menu. 

If you want to know more about the traditional S. African foods, listen to the episode with Larissa as she does a better job explaining what those are.  In this episode we also talk about what else we did on our trip, and the outcome of our 30 Day New Store Challenge.

Listen to the episode here: Episode 60 

I hope everyone enjoyed this guide and that it has encouraged some of you to check out S. Africa or at least put it on your bucket list of places to visit one day.  I really enjoyed my time there and look forward to going back again next year.  Until then, keep in touch, and follow the journey.

Resources Mentioned in this post:

Lion Park + Cheetah Walk:

Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve

Wine Tasting in Cape Town:

Warm Regards,


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