How to Experience South Africa as a Lover of Sports and Games
South Africa is a diverse, storied, and culturally rich nation in which games and sports are embedded in everyday life. The cities and towns are so vibrant and intent on having fun, that anyone who comes to visit can quickly immerse themselves in the activities enjoyed by people across the land.
Of course, many people come to South Africa to see the incredible wildlife or explore the most beautiful wine regions of the country, but lovers of sports and games can also find plenty of action to enjoy. Whether you’re into sports, traditional games, modern games, or other forms of entertainment, there’s bound to be an activity in South Africa for you to enjoy.
A sports-crazy nation
While many sports are loved across South Africa, three stand as the nation’s favorites. As is the case in most countries around the world, soccer is one of the most popular sports in South Africa. The nation’s fandom was exemplified in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which South Africa hosted and made one of the most memorable, with the infusion of color, dancing, and, of course, vuvuzelas.
Standing as the current world champions, you can bet that South Africa gets behind the national rugby team whenever they step onto the field. Led by their first black Test captain in 2019, Siya Kolisi, South Africa stormed to World Cup triumph, inspiring the next generation of South African rugby players.
Forever a presence alongside the very best national teams in all formats of the game, the Men’s South African cricket team is always in the mix at major competitions. The Women’s T20 team recently put in a stellar showing Down Under in the World Cup, losing to eventual runaway champions Australia by a mere five runs in the semi-finals.
You can guarantee that, regardless of which sport you see the national teams partake in, the atmosphere is going to be buzzing.
Traditional pastimes, traditions, and good fun
A fine tradition of South Africa that never fails to entertain is that of the braai. While it’s not a game or a sport, per se, people take it so seriously and set up a braai so often that there is somewhat of a competitive nature to braaing. A braai is a South African barbeque for which there is even a national holiday. With most homes set-up to deliver a great braai throughout the summer, people have conveniently placed fridges, bars, and seating areas ready to enjoy the evening – which is where the games come into play.
As you would expect, drinking games are among the most popular of activities of such social gatherings, with the springbok drinking ritual perhaps being the most complicated and bizarre. Based around the pleasant drink of mint liqueur mixed with local Amarula, the drinker must place both hands behind their back, stomp their feet, and drink the shot hands-free.
Getting into the gaming scene
South Africa boasts a bustling gaming scene from the most classic of games to the latest forms of digital gaming. Arcades aren’t as common as they once were in the country, but those that remain have done so by providing an array of exciting titles, old and new. Cape Town is likely South Africa’s best hub for arcade gaming, with the likes of Wonderland and VirtualWorld being the most highly rated.
South Africa is also well-stocked when it comes to perhaps the most classic form of gaming; casino gaming. There are grand casino venues set-up all over the country, but particularly around Johannesburg. The love of this form of entertainment runs deep, which is why so many classy venues have been able to flourish. In a new trend of gaming, though, people are turning to their phones to play casino games while enjoying a sociable evening or a braai.
From the most storied form of gaming to the most modern, South Africans have been jumping into the competitive gaming scene of eSports. Not only does the nation boast some highly-ranked professional gamers, but several big eSports events take place across the country during the year. This year, ACGL tournaments, Telkom VS Gaming, and Mettlestate competitions were all set to take place, with many other smaller competitions also on the calendar.
As you can see, regardless of the types of sports or games that you enjoy, you’ll be able to indulge in the fun whenever you visit South Africa.