Tired of postcards and T-shirts? Me too, I have plenty! Any time we go to another country we try to find a piece of that country’s traditions and culture to bring home with us. Check out the five uniquely South African contenders to bring home from your travels.

Pinotage Wine

The grape that is only grown in South Africa is the infamous pinotage. If you do any time in Constantia or in the wine regions of Stellenbosch or Franschhoek, you will come across Pinotage. Similar to a pinot noir, this red wine is delightful and one of a kind to the region. If you visit the vineyards you will often come across a more diverse selection of different vintages. When we stayed at Boschendahl we were able to pick up a 2009 vintage (in 2021) and enjoyed it with our final date night in Cape Town before departure. What you will notice upon your return to the USA (or wherever home is) that there is an enormous lack of South African wine. Given shipping and the availability of other wines, South African wine is limited to 4 or 5 options in my local wine shop. Safe yourself the heartbreak and take back a few bottles of your favorite vineyards while you’re there.

Beaded Animals

There is tradition in South Africa of creating animals and other figures out of beads and telephone wire. These miniature works of art often come from townships and are produced by women entrepreneurs. During our time in Cape Town towards the end of our trip, we strolled around the V&A Waterfront Watershed and fell in love with a particular vendor’s Springbok bust. With the springbok as the national animal, it was a perfect souvenir for us! Also, if you’ve never seen a springbok “pronk” you are in for a delightful treat.

A New Skill Like Surfing or Cage Diving

Is this one cheating? I don’t think so! South Africa has a beautiful extensive coastline with many water sports, namely surfing and cage diving. There are opportunities right outside of Cape Town to get up close and personal with sharks that live near the coast. Many seaside communities along the Garden Route offer surfing, namely Port Elizabeth or Gqeberha is where we saw the most surfers. If you have a wild hair, partaking in the sea sports in South Africa is one of a kind.

Pictures Of / With Animals

There is an abundance of opportunities to take pictures of animals across the nation of South Africa. From the safari in Northeastern South Africa (57 Waterberg for the win!), down to the animal sanctuaries and aquatic centers in the South, there is an enormous range of the animal kingdom that calls South Africa home. You can take pictures of big 5 animals and more on Safari, and when you cruise through the garden route you will find the Monkeyland’s Monkey & Bird Sanctuary, Knysna Elephant Sanctuary, Beach Penguins at Boulder’s Beach, free range wild ostrich near Cape of Good Hope and seals sunbathing along the coast.

Biltong Jerky

Technically this shouldn’t have made it through customs, but don’t tell the US Customs Office! Biltong is South Africa’s beef jerky. The reason you can’t technically import it is because the curing process doesn’t use any preservatives or fillers. Just the delicious spice combination and air dry. This souvenir is best eaten before your departing flight due to the restrictions. We were able to snag a bag near Boulder’s Beach on the way back from Cape of Good Hope. A convenience store was advertising on the window and a quick stop later we ended up with nearly 5 pounds of it!

What did you bring home from your trip to South Africa? Would love to hear anything I missed!

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Posted by:Allie

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