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TRAVEL THE WORLD – With Louis on a paintball world tour Vol. 2
Wednesday November 22, 2023

We already introduced you to the paintball globetrotter Louis in the last issue. He told us about his career and how he experienced tournament paintball in many parts of the world. After we made a stopover in Australia in the first article of this year, today we're going to Africa in the second part. Looking forward to seeing what Louis experienced on site…

After I reported on my paintball experiences in Australia last time, my wife and I wanted to go to Africa next. – But where exactly should we go? It is not always easy to find an opportunity to play paintball in other countries. Especially if the countries you have chosen are not quite as rich as Germany, Australia or Thailand. Fortunately, Africa has many countries, so we just had to find one where you can play paintball in some way. After a little research, I found out that South Africa had fielded a national team in NXL Europe a few years ago. The player names were also stored and so contact could be established relatively easily via Facebook. In the meantime, our travel planning was already a bit advanced, so we already knew that we should start with Capetown (Cape Town) and that we wanted to skip Johannisburg completely. Unfortunately, most paintballers in Africa are located around Johannisburg, but one player from the women's national team was found who had her team and field near Capetown. So our little road trip through South Africa was planned.

The first step is always to Frankfurt. For a change, we took the plane directly to Cape Town without changing trains. A beautiful town whose center is nestled in the valley between Signal Hill, Lion's Head and Table Mountain. With an apartment in a high-rise building near the town hall and a car, you can reach almost all destinations in the city within half an hour. In general, as a tourist, it is best to avoid public transport, especially at night. Capetown has a beautiful waterfront where you can shop well and eat exceptionally well in the evening. A tip from me at this point is to try the local fish called Kingklip in one of the numerous restaurants. Then a digestive walk along the waterfront and off to bed.

If you wake up the next day and the weather is good, you should definitely hike up Table Mountain. A simply impressive view awaits you up there. It's quite unusual for us to stand at almost 1000m and yet be so close to the sea. But there are also many other super interesting places to discover: Robben Island, the famous Boulders Beach and its penguins, Cape of Good Hope and Muizenberg. The hinterland is mainly dominated by wine country. Popular tourist destinations, as excellent wine can be tasted in numerous wineries and of course can be ordered home by the pallet. You wouldn't expect a paintball field here amidst all the vines and facilities of the surrounding wine cooperatives. And yet right there in a small valley surrounded by vines stood a container and a paintball field that only really had a net on one side.

We weren't the first and were of course immediately identified by our rental car, no one gets lost here by chance. During the change, I get to answer a lot of questions while my wife takes photos. Everyone is interested in how someone came up with the idea of vacationing in South Africa of all places and then also wanting to play tournament paintball there. We, on the other hand, like to ask what paintball is like here, how it is organized and just want to get an insight into everyday paintball life. The place on which the field was set up sloped slightly down on the Tippi side, so that it was much more difficult for the snakers to get into the snake, as they had to run slightly uphill on this side. But it was exceptionally good. Almost completely without nets on the sides, the field feels unusually open. When the vines are still full of grapes, you probably have the hottest background you can imagine for paintball photos.

We didn't have enough players for a full five-on-five. The last event had just ended and not all of the players were motivated to get back on the field, so both teams started with only four players each. I was allowed to take over the snake with my pink marker and initially stayed in the back due to the slightly raised snake and the quite high grass. With 10 bps and a layout already familiar to the locals, we had fun and changed the teams' players every now and then. During the breaks, people usually talk about paintball experience abroad and many players also plan to go to Europe or the USA to shoot. At this point we were invited to a small restaurant for dinner. For me personally, those are always the best moments when you sit together over a beer after a great day of paintball, exchange ideas and get to know the players better.

From here we continued inland towards Oudtshoorn. Here you can take a highly recommended Meerkat Adventure Tour, where you wait at the meerkats' burrows early in the morning and watch the animals slowly get up impressively close up during the sunrise. There are also ostrich farms where you can see the huge birds up close. At lunchtime, the restaurants also serve ostrich steak.

Our route continues over the spectacular Swartberg Pass into the Little Karoo, a semi-desert landscape in the plateaus of South Africa. From there it is not far to the Addo National Park. We drove through this for three days in our little car and saw impressive animals: zebras, warthogs, buffaloes, elephants, antelopes and, with a bit of luck, you can also see leopards and lions. We were particularly impressed by the elephants, which are easily twice as big as their Asian colleagues. Our journey takes us further to the Tsitsikamma National Park, over the Bloukrans Bridge back down to the water in a much wetter climate. The destination was Cape Agulhas, the southernmost point in Africa. So it went more or less along the coast via Plettenberg Bay, Wilderness and the De Hoop Nature. With photo evidence in our luggage we go to the whale town of Hermanus, because the whale festival was taking place here to coincide with our arrival. At this time of year, whales often come into the bay, announced loudly by a permanent whale screamer. Along the picturesque cliff path you can occasionally see a whale jumping out of the water. Really gigantic animals. After an impressive and educational three weeks, we return to the airport via Chapman's Peak Drive, the most beautiful coastal road in the world. The African SARPL has a well-established league structure that spans the entire year. With a total of four match days per year, the league offers players the opportunity to compete in the 5-man format and, for our standards, relatively often in the 3-man format.


Paintball in South Africa is based on the classic rules of the NXL (National Xball League) and uses similar layouts with the same bunkers. It also shoots at 10 fps. The nice thing about South African paintball, however, is that all of the tournament fields, without exception, are on grass and, due to the weather and climate, they can be played on practically all year round.

Tournament paintball is not as widespread in South Africa as woodland-style paintball. If you want to go to a paintball field in Cape Town and play on a classic paintball field with tournament bunkers and corresponding teams, you will hardly find what you are looking for. Although there are numerous playing fields, there are only a few that are suitable for tournament players, but they are designed more for woodland players and rentals. The majority of the paintball scene in South Africa is white and has the financial means to afford the sport. This is important to mention because the country still struggles with a significant gap between rich and poor. In addition, one must remember that apartheid only ended in 1994, which of course also left its cultural and social mark on society. Among other things, there are still many slums on the outskirts of large cities and a high level of crime. Despite these historical challenges, it is very gratifying to see that the community is very diverse and racism is not tolerated. Rather, players from different backgrounds come together and share their passion and enthusiasm for this beautiful sport.

From a legal perspective, purchasing and playing with a paintball marker in South Africa is not a problem as long as you are of legal age of 18. However, young people under the age of 18 are allowed to play paintball under adult supervision and there are no specific restrictions. I think it's nice that there are legal regulations that enable the safe practice of paintball sports for all age groups.

This was our second post in the series “on a paintball world trip with Louis”. We'll continue in the next issue, because Louis played paintball in many other places on his journey around the globe and has a lot to report. Stay tuned…

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