Traveling in South Africa

02 Jan 2019

Is this week’s parsha the first time the Torah mentions an itinerary? דרך שלשת ימים נלך במדבר, “A trip of three days we shall take in the wilderness…” (Shemot 8:23) Interestingly, the Maharal, in Netzach Yisroel, uses this verse as a proof text that a journey is not considered a “far” one, unless it is at least three days long.

Well, if you are thinking of taking a journey in the wilderness, you might want to set aside more than three days, especially if you are going to South Africa.

South Africa, a country which has had a tumultuous history, has now developed into an enticing tourist destination. For the Orthodox traveler it is a particularly attractive destination, because of the availability of kosher food and shuls. A client and his friend took a South Africa trip last summer, and I’ll share some of their itinerary with you. (For a customized itinerary, call or email us – now is a good time to book flight and hotel stays for the summer.)

Johannesburg has a large Orthodox population, and there are quite a few kosher restaurants and delis, as well as shuls and shiurim. But this particular pair of travelers was planning on being on the road for a few days, so they arranged with a local butcher and deli to deliver two days’ worth of food to O. R. Tambo International Airport, Africa’s busiest airport.

From there, they flew immediately to Port Elizabeth and then drove to Cape Town (which also has a historic Jewish community). I recommend this (admittedly, not short) drive – it is a beautifully scenic drive along the Garden Route, with many attractions along the way. That’s what these travelers did – they drove along the Garden Route, making stops as they went.

But I would not recommend their first activity to most of my clients. It is something that you could not pay me enough to do. They loved it, though, so here goes: About two hours out of Port Elizabeth is the Bloukrans Bridge – an arch bridge with an incredible view over the Bloukrans River. The Bloukrans Bridge is the 68th highest bridge in the world. And about halfway across, is the Bloukrans Bridge Bungy – the highest bungee jumping from a bridge in the world. All I can say is, better you than me! (For people like me, there is also an opportunity for a more staid walking tour across the bridge.)

Not far from the Bloukrans Bridge is a kid-friendly destination – Monkeyland, a free-roaming primate sanctuary, where you can get up close to over 700 monkeys, of all different species.

Follow the scenic Garden Route for another two hours or so, and you’ll be able to go ostrich riding at Chandelier Game Lodge and Ostrich Show Farm, where you can also see buffalo and giraffes up close. (You may want to pay special attention to the ostriches – they’re coming up in Daf Yomi pretty soon.)

If you continue the drive to Cape Town, you should eventually head to Sea Point, which is where a lot of the Orthodox community is concentrated. You can daven in Ohr Somayach or Chabad, and replenish your food supplies.

Get a good night’s sleep in a local hotel and think about visiting Chapman’s Peak the next morning. Only about 45 minutes out of Cape Town, you’ll have some beautiful views on Chapman’s Peak Drive, with the mountain on one side and the ocean on the other. It’s a great place to make a barbecue, too, though in South Africa they call that a braai.

But that brings us to next week’s parsha – the Korban Pesach was essentially grilled on a spit, sort of a Jewish barbecue, right?

I hope to bring you more of these adventurers’ itinerary in coming weeks. In the meantime, if you would like to book a trip to South Africa – or anywhere else – email us at

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.