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Well I did manage to

Well I did manage to survive the bike ride the other day. Its quite pleasant to be back in Britain right now too, especially as the weathers mild, and reflect on the time in South Africa.

Although the only thing that ever gets into the news about South Africa is the violence and problems in the country, we were amazed by how beautiful the countryside was. There was such a vast array of different scenery; mountains, desert, beautiful beaches, and landscapes, that it was hard to compare it to anywhere else Id ever been. Then of course there was the incredible wildlife, much of which we didnt even have time to see. On another trip I really hope to make it up to Kruger National Park where you can find could have gone everywhere that we wanted to go in two weeks.

The people were amazingly friendly too; at least the people who didnt want to mug you, that is. The service in shops and restaurants was terrific, and as well as being very cheap compared to European prices, the food was very good too, even if many South Africans do seem to have a deep love of fried food. Food and drink, as well as many other products lions, zebra, elephants, rhinos, and a whole other world, but there was just no way that we are about one half or one third of their equivalent price in other developed countries, but without a car, we often found that we spent that money on taxis, as quite often it isnt very safe to walk somewhere.

I think that if you look like youre a tourist in South Africa and youre not careful, then you can expect to have problems, although the stories we heard seemed to imply that if you were unlucky and were held up, you would probably be fine if you simply handed over your cash. I suppose its like many places in the world, and in time you learn where you can go and where you cant. It sounds as though being mugged in South Africa would be preferable to being mugged in Scotland, as you would be less likely to be beaten up for the sake of it.

The biggest problem is of course that the extreme poverty that most people live in drives the crime. Car jacking is a problem in Johannesburg and we spoke to one taxi driver whose wife had been car jacked at gunpoint. She was ordered out of her BMW at traffic lights. The assailant could expect to make about 20 from this, and the car would be sold for parts. Lives are cheap in Africa.

If you can be on your guard, then South Africa represents terrific value for money, and a wonderful European environment on the African continent. There is simply so much to see, the climate is fantastic, and the country is so big, that the cost of flying down and the 13-hour flight from Europe is more than compensated for. Its definitely a country that Im looking forward to going back to.

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