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South Africa’s top hobbies: Exploring popular pastimes in the country

Cooking, reading, gaming…these are all on the agenda for some people, not to mention the country’s absolute adoration of certain sports.

South Africa is a culturally varied land. People from loads of different backgrounds mix in this country, and there are some varied hobbies as a result. The country boasts some amazing weather plus stunning locations, and all of this helps to give people a lot of different options when they’re looking for things to do with their time. 

Cooking, reading, gaming…these are all on the agenda for some people, not to mention the country’s absolute adoration of certain sports (it is definitely a sporty country).

Gaming
Around 1/3rd of South Africans responded to a recent survey saying that gaming was one of their favorite things to do. And this is not surprising amid the fact that even today, there is a significant interest in the new gaming consoles coming out in 2024, meaning that people still enjoy various types of games, from video gaming to online casinos. 

Casino gaming has grown significantly in recent years, too, and this is partially due to the choices that players have in terms of different games and the way they can play. Online slots have seen an absolute revolution in terms of the number of games that are out there for people to play and the fact that there are more ways to pay and access games. 

Slot themes have gone stratospheric in terms of choices, people can play so many different kinds of games now, not to mention table games and other options. Statistics suggest there’ll be further growth in this industry over the coming years.

Players of slot games will also have noted the fact that it is now much easier to access these games online even in more rural areas, partially due to the growth in mobile signal and 4G and 5G networks all around the country.

Similarly, there are games that people can access on their mobile, as varied as strategy games and word games. People who don’t consider themselves console gamers may well still play things like word games on their phones, or even some of the board game adaptations we’re seeing launch all the time. Gaming doesn’t necessarily mean playing on an Xbox or Playstation, there are loads of ways people engage. 

Wildlife and the great outdoors

People travel from all over the globe for South Africa’s unbelievable wildlife and scenery, so it makes sense that the locals enjoy it too.

Some 38% of responses to a recent survey said that they enjoyed outdoor activities, which could include wildlife-based hobbies. Birding or ‘twitching’ is one of these popular hobbies, as South Africa sees some of the most incredible migratory birds. 

Hiking is huge, with trails that range from simple and achievable walks to challenging climbs. Of course, routes like the Table Mountain in Cape Town and the Drakensberg Mountains attract locals and tourists, offering some of the most stunning views in all of Africa.

Cycling is another outdoor hobby that lots of locals love, South Africa hosts numerous cycling events, including the renowned Cape Town Cycle Tour. Road cycling and mountain biking are both options and enthusiasts can enjoy scenic coastal routes or rugged mountain trails, making cycling in SA a hugely popular hobby. 

Cricket and other sports

Cricketing superstars may come from South Africa. Ever heard of AB De Villiers? 

The South Africa team is virtually a mainstay at all of the major international T20s and is one of the top test-playing teams. They’re currently competing in the World Cup which is being hosted in America and the West Indies, and have made a really promising start. Cricket clubs around the country mean that even amateurs can get involved and test their luck swinging the bat. 

Cricket is not the only sport in the country. Rugby, in particular, is almost a national obsession. The Springboks, South Africa’s national rugby team, have won a lot of trophies, they have a great history and their matches draw passionate fans. Winning the World Cup in 2023 will have done the sport no harm in terms of its popularity, either! Plenty of people take part in this sport as well as watching it on television in SA.

Cooking and baking

We couldn’t ignore the number one choice on surveys. Some 50% of South Africans questioned said they love cooking and baking and consider it a hobby rather than just a necessity. 

Barbecues are massive (well, this makes sense in a country with beautiful weather and some stunning beaches) but there are also a lot of people who take the culinary arts really seriously. 

Conclusion

Our list already shows how varied some of these hobbies can be. Not every South African can be easily stereotyped here, and there are lots of different sports and hobbies that are growing. In another 10 or 20 years, the hobbies could even be different still. For now, people in Africa’s southernmost country are into a lot of outdoor activities and enjoying the stunning country, plus some other activities such as gaming and even cooking and baking to keep them amused. 

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