For this week's Travel Tuesday we will visit South Africa. South Africa is a large and richly diverse country with borders on the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Culturally, modern South Africa shows itself as a unique country with parts from distinct African tribes and various European settlers. For those who dream of an African safari, the Kruger National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the continent.

There are many things travelers and curious folk can learn about South Africa by reading through the country profile in Global Road Warrior. Listed below are 5 more quick facts to get you started.

  • Languages: "South Africa has 11 official languages: Zulu (spoken by 22 percent of the population), Xhosa (16 percent), Afrikaans (13 percent), English (9 percent), Sepedi (9 percent), Setswana (8 percent), Sotho (7 percent), Xitsonga (4 percent), Swazi (2 percent), Tschivenḓa, (2 percent), and Ndebele (2 percent)."
  • Business Workweek: "Shops are generally open from 8:30pm to 1pm on Saturdays. Legal restrictions on trading hours have recently been rescinded to increase employment. Consequently, an increasing number of shops in the major cities are now open Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings."
  • Sports: "The sunny climate throughout the year is ideal for outdoor sports and physical activities. Among professional sports, rugby is the king, with players being paid a fortune in salaries. Other popular sports are soccer, cricket, tennis, badminton, squash, field hockey, golf, horse racing, sailing, surfing, cycling, and running. Traditionally, soccer has been the favorite with the black community while the white community or the Afrikaners preferred cricket and rugby. South Africa has world-class soccer, cricket, and rugby teams."
  • Currency: South Africa uses the Rand, which is divided into banknotes of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 and coins of 1, 2 and 5. The Rand is divided into cents with coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50. "The production of the 2c & 1c coins ceased in 2002 but they remain legal tender."
  • Communications: Postal Service: "The South African Post Office (SAPO) offers a wide variety of services in addition to mail and parcel delivery. SAPO operates a savings bank in each post office location, called Postbank. Some branches of the post office also allow services such as motor vehicle registration renewal.
    Postal service is efficient and reliable. SAPO estimates that in 2010, 96 percent of mail was delivered on time. Airmail takes five to twelve days to reach the US and seven days to Europe. Surface mail takes four to eight weeks."

    Language Learners: Xhosa and Afrikaans are available through Pronunciator.

    Music Lovers: Visit our Freegal music service to explore more music options from South African music artists.

    Recipe Corner: For an example South African recipe, try Butternut Soup.

    "A winter favorite in South Africa, the main ingredient of this soup is the butternut, a type of winter squash having a bell-like shape, an edible yellow or orange flesh, and a distinctive flavor. The soup serves as a great starter before roast beef or lamb. Chopped parsley, paprika or cayenne pepper, or a few shreds of orange rind may be used as garnish. Adding a dash of curry powder to the sautéing onions lends it a bite."

    Recipe Serving: Serves 6

    Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) butter
  • 1 medium-sized onion
  • 2 lb (900 g) butternut, peeled, seeded, and cubed
  • 3 cups (720 ml) chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 cup (240 ml) cream
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper, freshly ground

  • Instructions
  • Melt butter in a saucepan and sauté the onion for 3 minutes.
  • Add the butternut squash, stock, and cinnamon, bring to boil, and simmer for 25 minutes.
  • Purée the cooked mixture in a food processor and return to heat, then add cream and seasoning. Heat for a minute longer, add garnishes, and serve immediately.