The Republic of South Africa is the southern most country on the African continent, and completely surrounds the kingdom of Lesoto. It includes a wide variety of cultures, and with 11 official languages, it has more than any other country. It is often called the Rainbow Nation because of it’s diversity, and is considered by the world bank to be newly industrialized. If you are interested in traveling to South Africa, using a VPN is advisable.
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Despite the issues of other African nations, South Africa remains one of the few to not experience a government overthrow. In fact, they have had peaceful elections since 1910. However, most of the black South Africans were disenfranchised until 1994. Though the country is 80% black African, a practice of segregation between blacks and whites, called apartheid, was enforced from 1948 to 1994. The country is now considered a middle power, and maintains significant regional influence.
In regards to online usage, almost half of the population has fixed line service. That said, the South African market is over-saturated with mobile phones and data plans, representing 140 subscriptions per 100 users. Internet speeds are good there, and many residents are able to download and stream content online. Having that kind of access may lead to other problems as well, though. In a survey of over 4000 tech-savvy users, it was revealed that 55% of them engaged in some form of online piracy in the last year. The most common reasons used were convenience, and lack of market availability.
Now, we will investigate some good reasons to use a VPN while in South Africa. Instead of following the model of the US or UK, the country has a data protection act that more closely resembles the policies of the EU. In other words, if the government is going to collect your data, they need to have a good reason as well as a warrant. That does not mean you should throw caution to the wind and perform online activities freely. There are plenty of people that would take the opportunity to steal your data, unless you use a VPN.
A VPN will create a secure and encrypted connection to a server that may be located in another country. By doing this, specific data is not displayed, but potential thieves would only see the encrypted data traffic. Whether you live in South Africa or are just visiting, you owe it to yourself to take any precautions you can. Using one will keep your communications confidential.
Earlier, we mentioned market availability. Because you may connect to a server in a different country, the VPN will help you unblock access to programming that is available to other countries. An example of this is with the global streaming service, Netflix. Libraries of content are different for every region. Under normal circumstances, you would be limited to the region you are currently in. By using a VPN however, you may gain access to any region you wish to use, and the one with the largest library is the US. The same would be true if you wanted to watch a BBC show, or streaming content from any other site. If you decide to connect to a server in the US, you can also gain access to streaming services like Hulu and Pandora. Another benefit of using a VPN is to gain access to government blocked websites. Currently, there are a few sites that are blocked due to subject matter.
As you can see, there are some definite benefits to using a VPN, especially while in South Africa. To review them, a VPN service will protect your privacy by creating a secure connection, and help you unblock access to content around the world. If you are going to stream content, you will want to choose a provider with fast servers and a large network. In the table above, we list the ones we feel are the best overall choices. That is based on speed, security, locations, and price. Really, we know you will be happy with any of the options we mention. South Africa may be a beautiful country with quite a bit of diversity, but you won’t want to use the internet there without using a VPN.