12 noteworthy sounds you’ll never forget after a visit to South Africa
1. A roar that says a thousand words
Hear kitty, kitty
A powerful sound that goes right to the heart and into your bones is the magnificent roar of a lion at &Beyond Phinda Mountain Private Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal. The king of the jungle and apex predator of the wild, this phenomenal feline will leave you mesmerised as their deep-throated epic sound makes his status well known as he proudly claims and protects his territory – a thrilling, captivating sound.
2. The rapture of a raptor
No bait needed
Soar above as you listen to the majestic call of the fish eagle as it swoops over shimmering bodies of water, searching for its prey. One of the most distinctive calls in the wild, this stunning bird tosses its head back and emits an unforgettable sound as it dives into rivers and lakes. A symbol of hope and freedom, it truly is a sight to behold and a superb sound to hear.
3. Nature’s own meditation
The language of the ocean
An immensely powerful sound is the crash of waves in KwaZulu-Natal breaking on the shoreline or at times a gentle flow that melts into the sand. Driven by the immense force of the ocean, the sound ripples over your body in nature’s own meditation. A sight of beauty, the salty spray cascades into the air as the aquamarine waters and white foamy crests rush up to welcome you.
4. ound of a nation united
Vu Vu Voom
A distinctly colourful South African musical instrument shaped like a horn that is proudly blown at sporting events, the vuvuzela is one symbol that certainly unites us as a nation. Meaning ‘making noise’ this blaring sound signals community, passion and a love of loudness.
5. South Africa’s 12th language
Hooting and tooting 24/7
One cannot drive down a street anywhere in Johannesburg without hearing the incessant hooting of a minibus taxi. Be it in the most upmarket residential area or a bustling marketplace, the hoot will always be heard. Along with the hoot, is a very slow crawl as the taxi driver attempts to find passing trade.
6. Music to our ears
Sounds to jive to
Known for our incredibly talented artists, the music that comes out of South Africa is simply astounding. Think names like Prime Circle, The Parlotones, Mango Groove, the late, great Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba, known as Mama Africa, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, the phenomenal harmonies of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, sweet melodies of the Soweto Gospel Choir, Mafikizolo and who can possibly forget Doo Be Doo by the awesome Freshlyground.
7. Meet and meat
Chop en dop
An absolutely irresistible sound is the sizzle of meat on a braai. Your mouth will water as the fat of your lamb chop, pork chop, boerewors, steak or chicken sosatie drips onto the flaming red coals. Usually accompanied by mom’s homemade potato salad, delicious garlic bread and the ever-present mielie on a braai, it’s all washed down with our local beers – followed by a refreshing swim in the pool.
8. Stoke my fire
Come on baby, light my fire
South Africans are incredibly well known for their hospitality and their love of laughter, talking and being together. There is nothing more memorable than friends and family sitting around a blazing fire in the garden or on safari conversing, reminiscing and looking up at the night sky. Be captivated as you stare into the flames that pop, crack and sizzle, emitting uniquely South African sounds that waft on the air.
9. Slang to you, English to us
Ja, Nee – we are cool
Howzit bru, it’s kiff to have you here in South Africa. Come on over for a lekker braai now now and we can have a jol. Just don’t have too much Klippies and Coke otherwise jislaaik you will have a bliksem of a babelaas the next day.
10. These boots were made for stomping
Have boots, will dance
An awesome sound in South Africa is gumboot dancing. Once a way to communicate in the mines, as miners were prohibited from talking to each other, the miners made up a form of toe-tapping dancing, similar to a morse code, called ‘isicathulo’, which in Zulu means gumboots. This dance has now evolved to become an iconic part of our culture. Wearing wellington boots (gumboots) and overalls, dancers slap their gumboots and stomp their feet to express what they want to say. Some of the dancers add bells or bottle caps to enhance the sound – an exhilarating experience.
11. The blessings of rain
Raindrops are falling on my tent
A wonderful sound on safari is the sound of rain on canvas. Gently lulled to sleep by the pitter patter as the water strikes your tent, this really is unforgettable. As Toto sang it best, “I bless the rains down in Africa”.
12. Rolling thunder of Jozi
Thunder, lightning, the way we love it is frightening!
Johannesburg is known for its epic thunderstorms. You’ll first be lulled by the quiet before the storm before seeing the sky darkening, as large puffy clouds billow. Hear the rumble from afar before the crash of rolling thunder explodes above and the heavens open with a deluge of rain.