Cape Town - If you’ve ever driven from Lambert’s Bay to Lake St Lucia (or anywhere in between), chances are you’ve come across one or two iconic South African characters.
South Africans are as different from each other as night and day but there are a few characteristics that define us.
South Africans are loud and friendly – genuinely friendly. They’re the ones who will strike up a conversation with the locals in any country they visit. And whenever they come across tourists on their own turf, they’re equally as warm-hearted.
Here are 7 typical South Africans you’ll come across:
1. The 'Weskus' Fisherman
The Weskus (West Coast) fisherman makes a living off the sea. There may not be as true a fisherman in the world as the one you find on the Weskus. They know about seasons, the moods of the ocean, the fish and when they ‘run’, and they are one with their fishing vessels.
Perhaps the most beautiful sight on the West Coast is seeing fishing vessels being pushed out to sea early in the morning by their skippers.
READ: Luxury road tripping up the West Coast
2. The Karoo Farmer
Karoo farmers are one with the Earth; they have big bellies and even bigger hearts. They can be quite intimidating (at least in appearance) but they are actually kind and loving.
It's amazing to see them in their natural habitat – farming. These guys are like artists and there is a certain poetry in the way they understand and respect nature.
You're bound to find a few farmers in Blissful Barrydale
3. The Surfer
South African surfers speak their own language. They live for the tide - and contrary to popular belief, they'll get up at 5am to catch the perfect wave. The Muizenberg, Cape Town surfer, for example, can be under cover... See that suit-clad lad at your Monday morning business meeting? If he lives near the coast chances are there is a sun-tanned surfer underneath aching to the hit the waves after work.
ALSO READ: The ultimate A-Z guide for learning Surfrican
4. The other tourists
With South Africa being a major tourist destination, expect to meet people of all cultures. If you’re in popular cities like Cape Town, Durban or Johannesburg, you’re likely to meet more foreigners than South Africans on your roadtrip. Take this as a warning: NEVER try to gossip about other people in your home language – there's a high probability they’ll understand what you’re saying!
ALSO READ: 10 of the worst types of travellers – which one are you?
5. The car guard
Where there's a parking lot you'll find a local car guard. They're prolific in South Africa though not many tourist are aware of this profession. Seeing a good car guard operate can be mesmerizing – they produce short sharp whistles that can help even the poshest of soccer moms parallel park a Mercedes-Benz GL500 AMG in one smooth sweep.
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6. The game ranger
Most tourist headed for South Africa are keen to experience a safari trip. It’s one of the biggest draw cards to SA. Due to the popular demand for safari comes the necessity for game rangers. Game rangers are charismatic and well-spoken and can entertain the toughest (read: ignorant) of clients. You’ll identify them in a crowd as the hat-wearing blokes dressed in shades of khaki, with a pair of binoculars close by.
ALSO READ: 9 Bush salutes to game rangers on #WorldRangerDay
7. The traffic-light salesperson
The future of the South African economy lies in its entrepreneurs. You don’t have to look far to find them. Traffic intersections are where you'll craftspeople selling local wares from beautiful bead-work, models created from wire and indigenous flowers created from recycled shopping bags. In Johannesburg, you can even learn to speak Zulu with the famous Traffic Light Teacher...
ALSO READ: Is Jozi's 'Traffic Light Teacher' the coolest entrepreneur ever?