South Africa, let’s get high, shall we?

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The small white paper is in front of you.

Like a blast from the past your last trip hits you; you remember how it’s done.

It all starts with one layer of the best local gold you can get your hands on. You spread everything evenly and then add another layer to improve the joint mix and neatly tuck everything together in a forward-roll motion.

Finding the right balance comes with time. Practice makes perfect; you will hone your own craft when you go on more trips, get more hits, and experience more highs. There are countless opinions on the different ways of rollin’ – different strokes for different folks – but the most essential thing to remember is that your creation should be uniquely tailored to your own taste.

And then, when it is all done and everything is in line, you light that baby up and start puffing, passing and trippin’ through South Africa.

Because let’s face it, there’s no high like a South African high and there’s no trip like a South African trip.

Possible roads and plans are carefully selected and scribbled down on a piece of paper; you throw a little bit of this and that into the mix for balance. Sightseeing here, a bit of adventure, culture, rest and relaxation there; uniquely tailored to your own travelling taste. With experience comes your own unique style of rolling; for the best trip you leave no stone unturned, you do what you can with what you have.

“It’s only recreational,” you shout but deep down you know the truth because you have a secret stash of white papers in the sock drawer with future plans scribbled all over it; a trip with your friend Mary, a weekend away with your friend, Jane.

You feel the need to green out more often over the peaks of the Drakensberg, trough the valleys of the Tsitsikamma forest. You know it’s high time to sit next to the pot of culture and fulfill your munchies with local homegrown treats. There’s this uncontrollable need to blaze from one province to the next; a desire to zone out on adrenalin with a saturated bungee jumping high and a hope to hit up a surfboard with a pipe. High season has started; the Durban masala poison is lit and your bunny chow is on fire. You geek out on environmental grass and keep cruisin’ the shores with happiness by your side and laughter by your other side.

As high as a kite on South Africa you start a debate, “Is best better than better? Or is better better than best?”

And you realise, not to be blunt, that South Africa is better than better and better than best; the cherry on top.

You hit the books and come to a conclusion that it has been *scientifically proven that these highs – often referred to as a more natural type of euphoria as opposed to the effects of other substances – have long-lasting benefits to improve moods; it also cultivates a sense of appreciation and nurtures the inherent need to conserve the environment.

Puff, puff, pass.

You take another hit and read up on the *studies which have shown that these highs are usually brought on by natural locations throughout South Africa oozing with the sight and smell of fauna, flora and landscapes uninterrupted, lacking man-made structures.

Puff, puff, pass.

You find comfort that there are no known side effects and health implications but you are aware that there have been reported cases of severe withdrawal after users halted the use of and the interaction with the aforementioned locations.

Puff, puff, pass.

You know to nip it in the bud will be impossible as *medical research has shown that in order to prevent withdrawal users should ease themselves back into the man-made environment (commonly referred to as cities) and it is vital to have a plan of action on hand that addresses the question of how, where and when the next hit will come from.

Puff, puff, pass.

You grab another piece of paper and add some of the best local gold experiences; you spread everything evenly over a few days and then add another layer of South Africa’s diversity to improve the trip; it’s just what the doctor ordered, your next hit is sorted. And before you know it, it will be time for puffing, passing and trippin’ through South Africa again.

Puff, puff, pass.

And you thought the Western Cape High Court only recently passed a ruling to legalise getting high at home?

Highs have been up for grabs all along…

South Africa is one major high, South Africa is one major hit.

(The mention of *studies, medical research and everything that was scientifically proved are all made-up facts which derived from a natural South African high).

high; Somerset East South Africa

This was written for, and appeared first in, Traveller24.

7 South African spots that get me high (time and again)

Gamkaskloof

It must be the peace and quiet, the fact that there is zero signal, no electricity and a pretty gnarly road to get there that gets me every time.

Puff, puff, pass; read this:

Gamkaskloof: Going off the grid.
Snowy Swartberg Pass.

Addo

Elephants. Nature. Just 30 minutes from my house. What more can I ask for?

Puff, puff, pass; read this:

Another WOW in Addo: Nyahti Rest Camp.
Addo Elephant National Park – a party in South Africa.

The Karoo

When it comes to favourites I can’t even differentiate between the Big and Little Karoo, let alone favourite towns. I’ve never been in the Karoo without getting a high from the Karoo.

Puff, puff, pass; read this:

Cheetah Tracking on foot.
Beyond Nieu Bethesda’s Owl House.
Through the Streets of Jansenville.
Meet the meerkats of Oudtshoorn.

Tsitsikamma (and other parts of the Garden Route)

As a childhood favourite the waves and coastal forest of Tsitsikamma have been getting me high since I was two weeks old (Tip to parents: you got to start early).

Puff, puff, pass; read this:

Make some time for Tsitsikamma Tranquility.
Let the Garden Route WOW you.
7 Lekker Camp Sites in the Garden Route.

Gamtoos

Of course. As I mentioned in a previous place, it is my “happy place” (the whole valley, from Patensie straight through to the coast).

Puff, puff, pass; read this:

Gamtoos Valley, just drive.
X marks the spot: Patensie.
Where is your happy place.

Wild Coast

The Wild Coast high is a completely different type of high compared to the rest of South Africa. It’s a high that is still being discovered.

Puff, puff, pass; read this:

Getting a taste of the Wild Coast.
Hluleka Nature Reserve.

Kruger National Park

This one needs no explanation.

Puff, puff, pass; read this:

Getting high in Kruger.
The Big Five – Kruger National Park.