I have just returned from a splendid two week holiday with my wife in South Africa.  I was captivated by this wonderful country, from the spectacular Table Top Mountain of Cape Town to seeing the big five and over 100 different types of birds in the game reserves.  I cannot recommend a visit to this country highly enough.

This leads me on to Philately of this historically charged region.  I saw many British style postage boxes harking back to the colonial day’s 0f empire influence and administration.  You could be in the remotest of places and see a British red pillar box or an old colonial post office.

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It was marvellous to see and helped me realise why British Africa is so very popular philatelically.  South Africa pre 1913 was split into various territories including Natal and Transvaal as well as having two separate kingdoms within the territories of Lesotho (Basutoland) and Swaziland.  It’s just a philatelic gold mine for the collector.  You could collect inter-provincial postmarks, where stamps were used across borders or study Boer war postal history or the classic stamps of Cape of Good Hope (the first ever triangular stamps!) or the complex bi–lingual se-tenant stamps of South Africa.

Africa is your oyster!

Having worked with stamps for close to 35 years I have learnt so much about global landmarks and images from these miniature works of art.

My wife wanted to see the Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe), we managed to make this journey and whilst there I thought about the classic Southern Rhodesian designs of 1931/32 depicting this spectacular natural wonder.  I recognised many interesting and unusual birds partly thanks to seeing so many different bird stamps of Africa.  Imagine my delight at seeing a Nightjar sat on a dusty road at night or a superb Pied Kingfisher darting around a river bank. I thank a lifetime of stamps that have opened my mind to this marvellous big world.

Wishing you all the best with what you collect and hopefully this leads you on to your own adventures.