IT IS GOOD TO GET OUT

It is widely believed that travelling – whether locally or abroad – is good for us for all sorts of reasons. While I have been abroad a few times, most of our travels have been around South Africa – and we haven’t even scratched the surface of places to experience for the first time. Mention ‘travel’ and one or other ‘exotic’ location seems to spring to mind. There is a tendency to overlook what our home environment has to offer (forgetting that other people make the effort to come and explore our ‘home ground’) and to plan a trip much further afield.  Looking through my archives, I have chosen five nearby destinations and one further away to show how travelling can expose us to new things, and provide an opportunity to experience different parts of the country and ways of doing things.

Not even ten kilometres from our town we can enjoy completely different scenery as we drive along the Beaumont Valley road and on towards Bathurst. This is a wonderful place to see aloes blooming en masse during the winter, to view vegetables being grown under irrigation on a vast scale, and to see dairy farms close up.  Along the way one comes across this interesting vegetation on the steeply sloping, semi-arid, river valleys.

This Albany Thicket is comprised of dense impenetrable vegetation dominated by spiny, often succulent, trees and shrubs such as Spekboom (Portulacaria afra) and Euphorbia bothae.  Just over half an hour away is the interesting hamlet of Bathurst situated on the left bank of the Kowie River. It was founded in 1820 and still boasts some very old buildings. Among these is St. John’s Anglican Church, which is the oldest unaltered Anglican church in South Africa. This is a part of its tower.

Nearly 98 kilometres from home is the world-famous Addo Elephant National Park – an easy distance if we want to visit it for only a day. How can I not show you one of the hundreds of elephants one can see there? This one is standing on the edge of the Hapoor Waterhole.

Now, travelling a little further is the second oldest city in South Africa, Port Elizabeth (the name of which has recently been changed to Gqeberha). Here is where we go for medical reasons and to shop for items not available in our neck of the woods. There are so many interesting parks and places of historical interest to see there that I will highlight an unusual one, the bronze Sacramento canon at Schoenmakerskop.

A brief history of it can be read on this plaque.

Travelling just over 750 kilometres from home along the N1 takes us to the seaside fishing village of Arniston, established over two hundred years ago. There are numerous holiday homes hugging the shoreline and the hills above, alongside which is the Kassiesbaai Fishing Village, where the local fishing community live in a range of cottages built in a similar style to this one.

One really does not have to travel far in order to ‘recharge’, to experience new things, to meet interesting people, try out new foods, or to learn about the history of one’s country. There is no doubt that travelling is good for you!

45 thoughts on “IT IS GOOD TO GET OUT

  1. I cannot even begin to express how this post makes me feel. Africa was my first vacation, way back then when my grandma was still alive. It was cheap, only $500 to Tunis and I loved it. Years later I came back, and back, and back again as a translator. Every time they asked if I wanted to go to Africa, I had my things packed before they could change their minds. What an interesting continent it is. So much joy, right beside poverty. So much color, so much noise and smells I didn’t know were existing. I am really glad I found you.
    “forgetting that other people make the effort to come and explore our ‘home ground’” that is so true.

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  2. If I were a traveler, I would put South Africa at the top of my list. However, I am a homebody, so attractions close to home are definitely my thing. But, dang! We don’t have elephants.

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  3. If I were less nervous on our ridiculously dangerous roads and had more trust in local drivers I would LOVE to use every opportunity to explore more and more of this country! But as it stands….I’ll not be seeing much more if it than I already have, I’m afraid.

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  4. Broadens the mind, for sure. It is interesting that we thirst for foreign and exotic lands before our own territory. The US is vast and I’ve visited very little of it, even in my own northeastern region. Like ‘Acres of Diamonds!’

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  5. You know with us you are preaching to the choir, Anne! 😀
    There’s still so much more of this country that I would love to visit. But then there are also all those familiar places that keep calling us back! So much to see and so little time!

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  6. Pingback: This week’s small pleasures #266 – Thistles and Kiwis

  7. I enjoy the wonders of home and our country. International travel is also what keeps me grounded, appreciative of others. My hope is to be able to visit South Africa some day.

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    • I hope that you are able to visit our beautiful country one day. There is so much to see that once you are here you will realise that more than one trip will be necessary 🙂

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  8. Lovely post Anne, and I agree, we should not take wonderful places for granted just because they are local! I also agree that it is good to explore closer to home – what we find there is of course incredibly exotic to visitors from afar 🙂

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    • The current pandemic has ‘forced’ many of us to look closer to home … I find great joy in simply driving 30km into the countryside around here – something I would not have contemplated before – and am often astounded by what there is to see in terms of nature.

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  9. I love to travel yet there are several state here I have never set foot in. I really should try to get to the states I haven’t seen.

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  10. Thank you for sharing this, Anne. I have never really travelled in the Eastern Cape, only to PE and Plettenberg Bay for holidays, and that was a long time ago. These days we do day trips only and we find so many interesting things right on our doorstep.

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