What a Country, Henk Visagie’s House – Pretoria, South Africa

What makes this country so very appealing to me?

Just but a few minutes after landing I am reminded of a few of these things:

Weather – Here it is the middle of the southern hemisphere winter and when I land at 5PM, the sun is just starting its descent but the mass of people in the international arrivals hall are dressed just in their shirtsleeves. Johannesburg is a mile high in elevation (just like our Denver, ”Mile High” city) so it is cool once the sun goes down but not cold by US standards for a city at such altitude. Temperatures during the day in Johannesburg will be about 70 degrees F and most days will be full of sun. The sun shines here in what seems like a never ending cycle, yet the temperature never gets too cold or too hot and there is little humidity. South Africans will tell you it gets cold and hot but believe me, for a European or even an American the weather here is exceptionally mild. In summer it gets to be 80 degrees or higher but the humidity is missing. Best sign of good weather is a pool party being held in late August, or the same as late February for us in the northern hemisphere. Read More

Civilization – Everyone likes to knock civilization and the stresses of modern life but one needs to only come to South Africa to appreciate buying from well stocked shelves, first class medical care , driving a car, on well maintained highways – just being able to see things work. Travelers want rustic but South Africa has an attractive combination between third world natural attractions and first world amenities. Try it, you’ll like it.

People – The quality of life here is good versus the rest of Africa – very good – so a more relaxed citizenry offers a more relaxed exposure to visitors. The blacks and whites both have a long standing investment in one another’s culture and it shows.

On this last note on “People” it is easy for me to morph into the role of local more readily. My friend Henk and his family make my arrival into the country one of ease. Staying at his house or at the house of Annalize and Johan Oosthuizen make way for a seamless arrival onto a continent separated by an ocean and the equator. While I am a long way from the home where I pay a mortgage, upon arrival, I am greeted in such a way by these people that this temporary destination has become equally, or dare I say, a more comfortable place to exist.

Upon arrival at Henk’s we step next door to his cousin’s house where Angel, Louis and their families are watching on TV the Free State Cheetahs host a rugby match in Bloemfontein. Lamb chops, and rashers have been grilled are ready for consumption and the inviting nature of the mass of people allows me to easily drop into a chair, enjoy the top class grilling skills of my hosts and partake upon watching the match — all quite relaxing and immediate.

All in all a good place to visit and live. The day after my arrival Henk fired up the braai and we feasted in on some boerewors, rashers and lamb chops while his children spent some time in the pool. Yes, it is late winter here but the temperatures have rested in the mid 70’s by day.