Photo: Christian Keller
When you decide to take a gap year, there are so many choices on offer of places to go and things to see. A gap year is a chance for you to understand more about yourself, your professional and personal interests, and create memories that will last a lifetime!
Many gap year students choose to explore Australia and Southeast Asia, but have you considered South Africa?
Here are four reasons you should visit South Africa on your gap year.
The Food and Drink is World Famous
Many of the famous New World wines that are drunk across the world are from South Africa. These are mainly produced in the Western Cape, which has a Mediterranean climate ideal for growing vines.
When visiting the Western Cape, you’ll have access to a multiplicity of vineyards and wine tastings where you’ll be able to educate yourself on the winemaking process, and explore your personal interest in wine.
Photo: Loren Kerns
World-renowned food is also a key reason to head to South Africa. The braai (a South African barbeque) is one of the most famous ways to prepare food.
Typically, meals prepared in this fashion are centered around meat and lots of hearty braai sandwiches. Your tastebuds will be in heaven.
Definitely try boerewors (a type of sausage) and roosterkoek (a traditional bread) to eat together with your braai meat.
The Wildlife is Unbelievable
South Africa is home to more than 20 national parks, housing a complete range of wildlife: from the humble dung beetle to the magnificent African elephant.
There is a range of ethical safari trips that can take you on a hunt to spot the Big 5 (lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo). Or you can even go one better and volunteer in animal conservation.
At GVI, there are numerous programs focused on protecting these species. GVI participants work to map habitats, collect essential data, and help to empower local communities in preserving these environments.
Tracking big cats in South Africa during your gap year will be an amazing story to tell. It will also give you a chance to develop essential skills and learn more about your professional ambitions.
South Africa is Magnificently Diverse
South Africa is known for being a melting pot of cultures and languages: with 11 official languages and a population of 56 million.
It is one of the most diverse countries in the world, encompassing a blend of cultures. These embrace traditional practices and modern-day influences in a variety of ways, and are often expressed through fashion, music, art and food.
Volunteering in South Africa during your gap year is an ideal opportunity to integrate into local culture, and experience the diversity of this Sub-Saharan gem.
There are numerous projects to get involved in
No matter what your interests are, there is a project to match your personal development goals. Whether you are interested in wildlife conservation, community development, working with children, women’s empowerment, healthcare, or even sports – there is a volunteering opportunity for you to take up.
All GVI programs guarantee a unique and impactful experience. As you integrate into life in South Africa, you will grow and learn more about yourself. Most importantly however, you will make a lasting impact.