Aussies and Saffers share a great deal of commonality

  • 20 January 2015 | Christine Marot
South Africa's Drakensberg mountain range features one of the country's eight World Heritage Sites. Image courtesy of Jono Hey

An estimated 150 000 South Africans live and work in Australia, a country more similar to South Africa than any other, especially when it comes to lifestyle. Australia also ranks as the third most popular country for South Africans living abroad.

It stands to reason then that Australians visiting South Africa for the first time are likely to discover many things that remind them of home, not least of which is that we drive on the same side of the road.

Much like South Africa, down under has a wealth of natural beauty, with beautiful beaches, mountain ranges, national parks and heritage sites. It also has a unique animal kingdom and many destinations that promote adventure sports.

Uluru heritage site in Australia. Image courtesy of CameliaTWU

Wide swathes of open country in which wallabies, kangaroos, wombats and other Australian animals with strange-sounding names are to be found is comparable to the many game reserves, nature reserves, wildlife sanctuaries and national parks South Africa has to offer. An added plus for visitors on the African continent is being able to see the big five (lion, elephant, rhino, leopard and buffalo) and a choice of eight Unesco World Heritage Sites.

Australians also have a penchant for gambling, particularly the pokies (poker machines or fruit machines) at local pubs and horse-racing, so South Africa’s many casinos with their Salon Privee, roulette and one-armed bandits are fair game.

As a general guideline, for we all love to draw comparisons between home and other countries, Durban is most like Brisbane in terms of weather and surfing lifestyle, while Sydney, with its harbour and cosmopolitan feel, is the Australian equivalent of Cape Town.

Like South Africans, Australians are used to long summers with plenty of sunshine and ample opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. They enjoy nothing more than throwing a few “snags on the barbie” and sharing a “slab of coldies”, the South African equivalent of boerewors on the braai washed down with a case of beer.

South African braai. Image courtesy of Jonnyboy2005

Aussie barbie. Image courtesy of Phil Ostroff

Although the humble brew is a favourite tipple, wines produced in the Cape’s vineyards are making inroads, with local merchants offering a selection from estates such as Uitkyk, Tukulu, Allesverloren, Stellenzicht and Saxenburg.

Fruity whites and full-bodied reds, particularly pinotage, are competing with wines produced in Australia, so a winelands tour is a must for Australians visiting the Cape and other lesser-known wine-producing regions.

Sport is another love shared by the two countries, and they often find themselves on opposite sides of the playing field. Rugby, cricket, tennis and bowls are widely enjoyed, with provincial and national teams followed with equal passion.

Think of our beautiful stadiums, sports clubs and popular weekend fixtures as day visits with a difference for your Australian guests.

Then there’s the accent! While Europeans tend to mistake Rainbow Nation South Africans travelling abroad for Aussies or Kiwis, we readily agree with our Australian counterparts that the three accents are vastly different, despite the fact that we all live in the southern hemisphere.

Although the humble brew is a favourite tipple, wines produced in the Cape’s vineyards are making inroads, with local merchants offering a selection from estates such as Uitkyk, Tukulu, Allesverloren, Stellenzicht and Saxenburg.

Fruity whites and full-bodied reds, particularly pinotage, are competing with wines produced in Australia, so a winelands tour is a must for Australians visiting the Cape and other lesser-known wine-producing regions.

Sport is another love shared by the two countries, and they often find themselves on opposite sides of the playing field. Rugby, cricket, tennis and bowls are widely enjoyed, with provincial and national teams followed with equal passion.

Think of our beautiful stadiums, sports clubs and popular weekend fixtures as day visits with a difference for your Australian guests.

Then there’s the accent! While Europeans tend to mistake South Africans travelling abroad for Aussies or Kiwis, we readily agree with our Australian counterparts that the three accents are vastly different, despite the fact that we all live in the southern hemisphere.