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12 Inspiration Tips To Get You Excited About Your Trip to South Africa

With its compelling history, breathtaking scenery and passionate people, it's no surprise that South Africa has acted as the inspiration for countless movies, books, songs over the years. Tourlane's Travel Experts help you get into the mood and has curated a list of things you should read, watch, listen to and even eat before your departure to South Africa. Enjoy!

Top 5 Movies You Should Watch Before Going To South Africa

1. Mandela, Long walk to freedom (2013)

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is a South African film based on Long Walk to Freedom, the 1994 autobiography by Nelson Mandela, a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and politician. It is a chronicle of Nelson Mandela’s life journey from his childhood in a rural village as he comes of age, education and 27 years in prison before becoming President and working to rebuild the country’s once segregated society. . Idris Elba stars as Nelson Mandela, Naomie Harris stars as Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

2. Zulu (2013)

Based on the program for biological and chemicals weapons of the South African apartheid regime (Project coast) and the book “Zulu” by author Caryl Férey. The film was chosen as the 2013 Cannes film festival closing film

3. Tsotsi (2005)

Tsotsi (which means “thug” in township patois) is a 2005 film directed by Gavin Hood. The film is an adaptation of the novel Tsotsi, by Athol Fugardis. Set in Soweto, one of South Africa’s notoriously crime-ridden townships just outside of Johannesburg. The story is based on Tsotsi, the name of the central character, an orphan, played by Presley Chweneyagae who steals a car only to discover a baby in the back seat and inadvertently ends up having to look after the young baby which brings about a change in him that couldn’t be foreseen.

The film won the 2005 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film in 2006.

4. Out Of Africa

If you are planning an East African safari and you want to get in the mood, this is a good movie to watch. The scenery is spectacular, the acting is great (Meryl Streep and Robert Redford) and it’s very romantic. This movie has proved to be one of Kenya’s most effective marketing tools.

5. The Last King of Scotland (2006)

The Last King of Scotland is a movie about the memoir of a fictional Scottish doctor named Nicholas Garrigan (James McAvoy), who worked in Uganda and finds himself unwittingly picked as the personal physician to one of the world’s most brutal dictators, Idi Amin. Forest Whitaker plays Idi Amin and he won a best acting Oscar for his incredible performance. This award-winning 1998 novel by Giles Foden was filmed in Uganda and is worth watching just to get a feel of the countryside and places. Of course Uganda is now at peace and Idi Amin and his equally brutal successor, Milton Obote, are distant memories.

Top 5 Books You Should Watch Before Going To South Africa

1. A History of South Africa (1998) By Frank Welsh

Frank Welsh’s A History of South Africa is a vividly written, definitive guide to South Africa’s turbulent past. The narrative is structured around several pivotal events, such as the Dutch settlers’ decision to rely on imported slaves and the Union of South Africa in 1910, which paved the way for apartheid. The book also debunks many of the most common myths about South Africa.

2. Burger’s Daughter (1979) by Nadine Gordimer

Burger’s Daughter is one of many great novels written by literary treasure, Nadine Gordimer (1923—2014), who won South Africa’s first Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991. Set in the mid 1970s, the political and historical novel follows the life of Rosa Burger, as she comes to terms with her father Lionel Burger’s legacy as an anti-apartheid activist in the South African Communist Party.

3. Cry, The Beloved Country (1948) by Alan Paton

Cry, The Beloved Country is one of South Africa’s most critically acclaimed novels, written by author and anti-apartheid activist, Alan Patton (1903—1988). The bestseller is a heart-wrenching story about Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo and his son, Absalom, set against the background of racial injustice before apartheid was legalized. It is a must-read for its multi-layered themes of loss, hope and faith.

4. Jock of the Bushveld (1907) by Sir James Percy Fitzpatrick

Jock of the Bushveld is a much-loved children’s classic based on the life of Percy Fitzpatrick and his faithful dog, Jock, who accompanied him on his travels as a transport rider during the South African Gold Rush. Rudyard Kipling, a friend of Fitzpatrick, encouraged him to write a book after hearing him recount his adventures as bedtime stories to his four children. Since 1907, this lively novel has been translated into many languages, with over 100 editions printed. If you’re visiting the Kruger National Park on your South African trip, look out for the Jock of the Bushveld commemorative plaques that have been erected along Percy and Jock’s original routes.

5. Long Walk to Freedom (1995), by Nelson Mandela

Long Walk to Freedom is the riveting autobiography of the iconic South African president, Nelson Mandela. The book profiles his early life, coming of age, education and 27 years in prison (where he wrote part of his autobiography in secret). A compelling read, it paints a vivid picture of the extraordinary life of hardship and fortitude lead by Mandela on his quest for freedom in South Africa. In 1995, A Long Walk to Freedom won the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award and has been published in numerous languages.

Hungry? Discover the South African flavours at home with this full menu recipe!


Slightly Sweet, flaky and crusty with a succulent filling. These beef Pie  are just incredible. A flaky, buttery crust surrounding the most amazing, fragrant beef filling!

Main Dish

Never tried Chakalaka? You’re missing out. Chakalaka is a traditional South African vegetable relish that tastes amazing served with bread, stews, meat and more. Learn how to easily make it 


This custard pie with a sweet pastry crust is a South African favorite, especially at tea time. With a flaky crust and topped with a generous dusting of cinnamon, this tart is creamy and luxurious — a traditional sweet pie South Africans love. Serve it after dinner or as a teatime treat!

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