[wpspoiler name=”Miriam Makeba performs Pata Pata” open=”true” style=”aatw-video”][/wpspoiler]
In many ways South Africa is a perfect country for an African travel adventure. The main cities are modern and travelers’ facilities are familiar, the transit infrastructure is one of the most reliable in Africa, and you’ll find everything you want to see, from beach resorts to big game safaris, from sizzling urban nightlife to the relative peace of isolated tribal areas. In post-Apartheid South Africa there is no legal segregation; socially, the nation is one of the most liberal and welcoming of difference in the world. What you may not expect is to be traveling in a country that’s still reeling from the repercussions of its past. Crime is more than an annoyance–it’s presence shades almost every daily interaction. This is especially in urban areas where gates and guards and omnipresent armed security don’t exactly make one feel more safe. Racial separation is so deeply ingrained in South African society that complete equality between “white,” “coloured” and “black” South Africans–not just racial equality among groups, but also class equality within groups–will be unlikely to achieve for generations. All of these complexities, as well as the good humor of so many South Africans who you’ll meet along the way, make South Africa fascinating to visit, and also more intense of a travel experience than your usual tourist jaunt.