Learn more about South Africa with these Instagram accounts

Instagram like counts

Instagram isn’t just about posting pictures of your lunch, or selfies with you and the pug. Like all social networks, it can actually be used as an educational tool.

Here are a few South African accounts illustrating this point.


Follow for: a wealth of information about South Africa’s birds.

Ran by Stellenbosch University lecturer Rousseau Lotter, this account is dedicated to documenting the bevy of bird species prevalent in South Africa. From glossy starlings to doves, to kestrels and spoonbills, this account will help even the novice bird watcher identify their featured subject.


Follow for: mushroom mushroom.

With more than 1100 posts, Justin Williams’ account aims to document the multitude of mushrooms, herbs and fungi just waiting to be picked in South Africa’s gardens. Granted, you really, really shouldn’t simply pick anything and put it in your mouth — seriously — but this account does an excellent job explaining the history and usefulness of the flora and fungi that surround us.


Follow for: knowledge about Table Mountain.

Capetonian hiker Riaan Vorster knows as much about Table Mountain and its hikes as I do about grilled cheese (that is to say a lot). With 485 posts, his account documents the various routes, paths and scrambles up and down South Africa’s most famous mountain.


Follow for: views about the global aviation industry through the eyes of a South African engineer.

There are a slew of South African aviation accounts on Instagram, but @springbok97 has one of the largest follow pools. Working at London’s Gatwick Airport as an aircraft engineer, @springbok97’s gallery is laced with technical images and informative captions of a number of aircraft models.

BOEING MAINTENANCE HANGAR @ LGW – The B787-9 parked next to its “soon-to-be” base maintenance hangar, built and run by @boeing. – The hangar will be big enough to fit 2x B777X’s (with wingtips down) side-by-side or a B787-10 in the right bay and 5 B737-MAX aircraft in the left bay, with a large maintenance apron at the front of the hangar. – This really is going to be a massive operation and one that will bring hundreds of jobs in the near future! – #piloteyes737 #eu_spotters #instagramaviation #megaplane #boeing #boeinghangar #maintenance #aircraftmaintenance #gatwick #gatwickairport #london #hangar #londongatwick #b789 #b787 #dreamliner #b777x #b737 #b737max #aircraft #reflection #trent1000 #rollsroyce #avgeek #avgeeks @gatwickairport @megaplane @instagramaviation @eu_spotters

A post shared by Kyle (@springbok97) on


Follow for: beautiful South African plant life.

From plants that eat animals, to plants that can be eaten by us, @checkmyplants is a highly informative account documenting the country’s flora.

Succulents come in all forms of shapes and sizes, and is it just me, but does this one look like a lady striking a beautiful pose? 😱😍🖤 This beauty is from the @babylonstoren collection and is called Fockea edulis. The name ‘edulis’ indicates the plant is edible, which is why it was known as “Hottentot Bread”. Ernst van Jaarsveld tells me that the stems are edible, fresh or roasted and were used by local San, Koi and pioneer farmers. 🥖 This plant is from Southern Africa, including Namibia and can be found in warmer drier areas, like in dry savannah’s and rockeries. These plants are dioecious, so a male plant and a female plant are needed to produce seeds and their flowers bloom in late summer and are pollinated by fruit flies. Interestingly this plant never goes into complete dormancy and always carries some leaves. This is an easy-to-grow caudiciform plant, and in the wild, the caudex is partially or totally buried. #WHPlight

A post shared by CheckMyPlants (@checkmyplants) on


Follow for: a different understanding about the food you consume every day in South Africa.

Speaking of plants that can be eaten by us, this account takes that idea to the next level. Roushanna Grey’s @veldandsea demonstrates the “alternative lifestyle” that’s possible in South Africa. The account also sheds light on the abundance of “wild food” that lurks on almost every South African’s doorstep.


Follow for: endless proof that South Africa is the most beautiful country on Earth.

While it’s not maintained by the SA government of any legal body, @southafrica does an excellent job in showcasing just how gorgeous the nation is. Snaps are reposted from a number of stellar local photographers and include snaps of wildlife, cityscapes, landscapes and people.

The stunning Magwa Falls in Mboyti. Photo by @graeholliday #ThisIsSouthAfrica

A post shared by SouthAfrica (@southafrica) on

Family first. Photo by @willbl #ThisIsSouthAfrica

A post shared by SouthAfrica (@southafrica) on

Feature image: Memeburn

Andy Walker, former editor


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