Q. What do you know about south africa? worth seeing? I’m interested in Port Elizabeth up the coast to Durban. I heard there are quaint towns up the coast and that the area has the best of both worlds of Africa… coast, beautiful beaches on one side, and huge game reserves and animals on the other side. Obviously it looks like a huge area and distance between the two. but worth going? cheap? expensive? How’s the crime? Just wondering. a friend of mine wants to go to the area to swim with great whites. and then also to see the big 5. When you have time, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
A. I just watched a news report yesterday evening that said your city, Ryan, is now the murder capital of the world, with more than one homicide per day (468/month). That exceeds any rate in any South African city. Crime is very relative. I’m sure you know how to avoid getting bumped off in Chicago…
The coast east of Port Elizabeth to Durban is nicknamed the Wild Coast and has some of the most spectacular beach and country on the continent, and it reminds me very, very much of the coastline just north of San Francisco from Tomales Bay up to Mendocino. Mostly these are not good beaches for swimming, and the great whites are generally west, not east of Port Elizabeth. Much of the beach is rocky and cliff rock, so spectacular scenery but not good sand beaching. As for game, I know of only one game reserve, Kwando, that has any reputation in this area, and it pales in comparison to some of the other reserves much further east of Durban (Phinda, Hluhluwe and Umfolozi). It’s also very windy and in the hottest of times, cold. Just like San Fran. For more swimmable and sandy beaches you need to go further, east of Durban. Remember as for game, there is nothing you’re going to find anywhere in southern Africa that achieves a tenth of what we just saw in East Africa. And another rejoinder about “big game” in the south. Much of it is on private reserves that are hard to distinguish as such, but what that means is that all the animals have been trucked in, many are fed as in zoos and to some extent many are just like San Diego’s Wild Animal park. The way to tell in South Africa is to use the official South African site: http://www.sanparks.org/