South Africa is one of world cricket’s most stunning theatres, and England are heading there this winter! To help get you in the mood for one of the most eagerly awaited tours of our calendar, take a look at our ten-point guide to the country’s biggest pulling points, in no particular order.
South Africa is an incredible tour destination, and you have to experience it to be able to truly appreciate it. What better excuse than a Barmy Army tour?
South Africa boasts a number of beautiful Test venues, both in terms of the in-stadium experience and the surroundings. You’ll have a hard task finding a more picturesque international sporting venue than Cape Town’s Newlands; world famous Table Mountain overlooks the ground and is impossible to miss from almost every corner. Close proximity to the Castle Lager brewery ensures this is one ground that’ll never run dry!
Keep an eye out for Barmy Army updates in the build up to the series, too. We are hoping to secure a fixture at Newlands on “Day Six” of the New Year Test … imagine playing for The Barmy Army at the world’s most beautiful cricket ground!
South African summers are known for their fair weather, with average summer temperatures generally sitting at around 30 Celsius. Apart from the occasional sudden thunderstorm on the High Veld in Johannesburg, you’ll likely stay dry, too, with the average annual rainfall at around 460mm (compares with the global average of around 860mm). Anyone eager to escape the bleak midwinter of England’s green and pleasant land should seriously consider ticking South Africa off their bucket list.
Located at the foot of the African continent, South Africa is comprised of a wide range of eco systems. Whether you prefer the beach, the city, or the savannah, there’s something there to please everyone. Cape Town and Johannesburg could easily be in different countries, while every national park offers something unique to that location.
We could have reserved our beach talk for the previous section, but felt they deserved their own section. If you’re a fan of blue seas and white sands, then South Africa is an excellent, safe option. It’s important to carry out some research before you dive in, simply because there are so many untouched beaches in the country. Also, be prepared for a cold sea off Cape Town; there is nothing between it and Antarctica!
Despite what you may have heard about the country’s rougher areas, South Africans are among the friendliest people in the world. They’re more than happy to tell you where the best places to eat, drink, and be merry are, and they're big fans of The Barmy Army too! If you're travelling with us you'll be sure to receive a true South African welcome. You’ll have the chance to meet loads of friendly locals, but also to spend plenty of time with like-minded cricket lovers.
6) Food … and wine!
Local cuisine in South Africa is nothing short of epic. Food-wise, expect a plethora of stunning sea food, succulent steaks of beef and game, curries and local African dishes will keep you busy for weeks, and we would strongly recommend blagging an invite to an Afrikaner Braai (barbecue). As for the wine, you’ll just have to try it…
South Africa’s abundance of incredible wildlife is breathtaking. As a global safari destination, the country receives millions of visitors every year, desperate for a glimpse of a lion in its natural habitat. It’s not just big cats that reside in the safari zones, either. The rest of the “Big Five” – elephant, buffalo, rhino, and countless more exotic species are within touching distance, and we're working closely with South African Tourism to direct English travellers towards the best safari's the country has to offer.
Kevin Pietersen has spoken at length about his work in South Africa to save the rhino. Booking onto a Kruger National Park Safari will certainly help the efforts of the South African government to counter the constant threat of poachers.
If you steer clear of long-haul flights because you can’t deal with jet lag, then fear not! Sure, the flight will take around eleven hours, but you’ll be flying straight down. A time difference of only two hours makes a pleasant change from our usual bashes down to the Southern Hemisphere!
9) Exchange rates
South Africa’s currency is the rand, and you’ll get just over 19 rand for one English pound. While currency rates are all relative, you will generally find that your English money goes a long way. That means you’ll either save money or be able to live a lavish lifestyle while you’re visiting, depending on your approach to saving and dispensable income.
10) Cricketing prestige
We’ve spoken throughout primarily about South Africa as a country, but it is worth pointing out that a high-quality Test series in South Africa is almost guaranteed. The Proteas are an exceptionally competitive side and have some of World Cricket’s greatest talents at their disposal. Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada charge in from either end, while Hashim Amla strokes the ball around in the middle. Best of all, England have a magnificent touring record in SA having not lost a series since 1999!
Get in touch
South Africa is a truly beautiful country, and you have the chance to experience it for yourself this winter. To find out more about booking a place on the tour, head over to the Barmy Travel website.
We are proud to be working with the Tourism Board for South Africa to ensure our trip to the beautiful country is safe, embraces the local culture and has a positive effect on local business and conservation. Visit www.southafrica.netfor more information.