With its diverse landscapes and rich heritage, any season in South Africa is filled with a world of discovery, but summer is a particularly interesting time to study abroad there. You get everything you could want out of an excursion in Africa, without the heat.
Here are a few of the many reasons why summer is a fantastic time to study abroad in South Africa.
A Cool Summer
Want to study abroad in summer while beating the heat? Oddly enough, South Africa winters occur during our summers, so the weather is not too hot, not too cold. Take a break from the scorching temperatures back home, trading the heatwaves for pleasantly mild days and cool evenings. South Africa in summer like a sweet spot for people who love the outdoors but don’t like getting sweaty to enjoy it.
The mild South African temperatures during this time of year are an outdoor lover’s delight. Hiking trails pepper the surrounding landscape and lead to treasures such as the beautiful small missionary town of Pniël, the Instagram-worthy mountains of the Dwarsriver valley, or the Pniël Silver mine caves. How’s your balance? In Stellenbosch they offer efoil lessons! Think of it like an electric-powered surfboard, and their coaches guarantee to have you riding waves within an hour no matter your skill level. Plus, there’s a whole other world of adventures waiting for you in the country’s capital, Cape Town, which is just a short train ride away!
Diverse, Intricate Culture
Fun fact: South African art includes the oldest art objects in the world, discovered in a cave and dated 75,000 years ago. From there, South Africa’s history has been complicated and fraught, but out of turmoil a unique melting pot of cultures emerged. Art, music, entertainment, and cuisine in South Africa are a fascinating and eclectic mix of Zulu, Afrikaner trekboers, and European cultures, particularly the Dutch and English. You can learn all about how these cultures intersect at places like District Six Musuem, dedicated to the colonial displacement and subsequent resistance of 60,000 residents who lived there in the seventies. Because our summer months are technically winter in South Africa, historical places like this and other attractions should have less crowds.
South Africa is home to some of our planet’s most admired creatures. We’re talking lions, elephants, giraffes, and cheetahs — the GOATs! Your classroom could be the South African savannah in these animals’ natural habitat. With the weather being a little chillier, it should entice the animals to come out of their shady hiding spots. Just make sure not to drop your phone out of the 4WD vehicle!
Symphony of Flavors
Just like its art, South African cuisine is influenced by diverse cultures. In the warmer months, South Africans indulge in a braai, their version of barbecue. During the colder months, family and friends gather at a park or someone’s home, bringing meat, typically boerewors (sausage), and sosaties (skewered lamb) and a side dish. Then there’s the iconic bobotie, a baked dish with spiced minced meat and eggs. And for dessert? Koesister, a Cape Malay pastry that has a cake-like texture, is sprinkled with coconut and tastes like a spicy dumpling. When you spend your summer break doing a study abroad program in South Africa, all of these new culinary experiences will be at your fingertips!
Wine and Walk
If you’re fascinated by wine production and culture, be prepared to be wowed by South Africa’s vineyards, particularly in Stellenbosch, the primary location for viticulture research in the country. The country’s climate combined with Stellenbosch’s location at the foot of the Cape Fold Mountain range makes it a very favorable place for winemaking. You can experience a variety of wines, including the Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon, considered internationally as a fine wine, by taking a crisp walk down The Stellenbosch Wine Route.
If you’re looking for a laid-back summer that’s cool and full of vibrant art, landscapes and food, consider a study abroad program in South Africa.
AIFS Abroad, we offer incredible program options in Stellenbosch, just 31 miles from South Africa’s capital city of Cape Town, which is easily accessible by train. This university town is famous for its oak tree-lined streets and Stellenbosch University — one of South Africa’s finest. If you’re looking for a place to satisfy your intellectual curiosity as well as your taste buds, try Stellenbosch in summer for your study abroad experience.