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South Africans in Germany

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Sport

Sport in Germany

Swimming options

Private swimming pools are not so popular in Germany, but there are good public swimming options available.

  • Public swimming pools / Öffentliche Schimmbäder / Freibad
  • Freiseitparks like Europapark
  • Baggersee (Man-made lakes)
  • Lakes
  • The ocean / Nordsee or Ostsee

Rules for swimming in Lakes

  1. Never dive/jump into a lake without knowing the depth of the water first. Many lakes are quite shallow, especially near the shore.
  2. Bring a sun umbrella or some form of shelter, and of course sunscreen.
  3. Bring swimming shoes or flip-flops, to avoid stepping on broken glass or other sharp objects that may be there.
  4. Don’t stay in the water too long. Children sometimes don’t realise how cold they are and lakes may remain quite cool, even in summer. 
  5. Bring plenty of towels to dry off after your swim. 
  6. Bring warm clothes for after your swim
  7. Bring a picnic, some lakes have benches and tables, but not all do, so bring a big blanket to sit on. Toilets are often available near the lakes. Food stalls sometimes have ice cream or snacks. Just be careful, sweets, drinks, beer, etc. attract insects (bees and wasps) 
  8.  Most facilities will allow smoking and alcoholic drinks, check for signs prohibiting.
  9. Some lakes do have currents and undertows – don’t overestimate your ability, stay close to shore if you are not a strong swimmer.
  10. Careful with floating mattresses, toys, etc. Water toys do not keep children as safe as watchful eyes!
  11. Be careful with your alcohol intake.
  12. WATCH YOUR KIDS – many lakes do not have lifeguards patrolling the area. Your kids are your own responsibility!
  13. In an emergency call the national emergency number –  112

Tidbits to know

  • Nude sunbathing is allowed in some areas around lakes Look out for FKK (Freie Körper Kultur) Zone.
  • At public pools swimwear is obligatory
  • Freibad does not mean for free
  • Sommerbad means it is only open in the summer
  • Bring coins with to public pools to make use of the lockers
  • Some public pool facilities have hair dryers that you can use (not free)
  • You are expected to shower before and after using a public pool
  • Wear swimming shoes or flip flops at the pool
  • Public pools are mostly overcrowded. Opt for indoor pools in summer if you only want to swim
  • Some areas in pools are restricted to those who cannot swim, for example children still learning to swim
  • No toys are allowed in public pools
  • Food and drinks can be bought at most public pools
  • The ground of the grass areas around lakes are usually a bit damp, so if you take a picnic blanket make sure it is lined. (Picknickdecke Wasserdicht)

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What are the legal options

Pubs and restaurants

If you would like to watch it with others, consider visiting an Irish pub in your town, they usually have a television with a subscription to sports channels. It is a good idea to confirm with them what games they will be showing on that day. 
If you are close to Bielefeld, there is a South African Restaurant called Howzit, they show most of the major games. In Berlin, visit Outer Africa

Pay channels

  • WOW TV (old Sky Ticket)
  • Dazn
  • Willow TV for Cricket
  • Amazon Prime
  • Rugbypass.tv – we mention them here for reference only. According to their website “You can enjoy live and free access to all Rugby World Cup games on RugbyPass TV if you’re located in the following countries: Albania, Bulgaria, China, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Malta, Mongolia, Myanmar, Slovakia, South Korea, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Vietnam.”
  • More than sports – this article in in German but shows how to legally watch the More than sports channel
If you are lucky ZDF will show some major international games but it is in German.

Apps

Websites/Streaming

The following sites seem to offer legal streaming, please refer to their disclaimers. You are responsible for your own legal clarifications. No liability accepted.

  • Ran.de has some live streams but mostly 7’S
  • sanzaarrugby.tv– they show mostly Southern Hemisphere games. According to their website “Sanzaar rugby matches are only available in countries where rights to watch your content is available” According to Inverleigh Media,  Germany is on their list of countries.
  • URC TV –  United Rugby Championships. According to their website, there are no limitations for Germany
  • Youtube channels
  • Rugby Deutschland
  • Sport.de
  • A great website with fixtures and results is Rugby365.com

Radio Stations

You can listen to most games on radio stations. 

Radio Stations and Playlists

Most South African radio stations have a streaming option, another option is to download apps with a selection of radio stations. Here are some suggestions  

Resources on the web

Events

Forums and Groups

We have a sports Forum on our website.
Registered users can also access the Rugby and cricket groups

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The entire cycling scene in Germany took some getting used to when I arrived here. In South Africa its sort of all kitted out serious health fanatics on bikes, and few other people ever use a bike after you’ve left school. However, the scene in Germany is significantly different.
A survey on the frequency of bicycle usage in Germany 2017-2020 found that in 2020, 9.8 percent of the German population hopped on a bike daily, while 17.1 percent did so several days a week.
Cycling is both a popular way to commute as well as a recreational activity.

Furthermore, the vast variety of bikes available here makes cycling the perfect way to get some sort of exercise, even if you’re not a serious athlete.
This includes road bikes, racing bikes, commuting bikes, e-bikes, mountain bikes, tandems and even family bikes (those with trailers for dogs or children).
Just in the e-bike category you’ve got a wide choice of road, touring, light touring, commute, mountain or (again) family e-bikes.

I bought a so-called Light-Tourer e-bike in July 2019, and with this discovered an entire new perspective of living and traveling in Germany.
In 24 months I’ve cycled more than 5000 of leisure training kilometres and incidentally found a very fulfilling ‘hobby’.
There are more than 200 cycle roads (that’s long-distance routes criss-crossing the country) besides all the normal cycle lanes in and around towns and cities.
So what better way to spend Saturdays than to hop on your bike, head off on an exploring trip of a new valley or nature area or countryside where you are bound to find a ‘biergarten’ to refuel and get plenty of photo opportunities of the stunning German countryside or ancient towns? As we got fitter and fitter I realised why an e-bike is such a good choice. It enables you to travel further while still providing adequate sweat and pulse to get you fitter.

 

I haven’t yet participated in cycle races in Germany, as I just enjoy the traveling and exploring part of it.
Funnily though, Germany’s official cycling took quite a knock due to doping scandals after 2012, which means in competitive events, its more the serious athletes that participate than in South Africa where there are many ‘social’ cycle races to participate in. But the social individual cycling opportunities on dedicated cycle paths (thus no shoulder rubbing with cars, or worse, taxis) more than make up.
Don’t feel offended when you are easily overtaken by a small grey-haired lady on a bike on a steep incline while you’re sweating your way up – she probably just has more experience and a stronger e-bike.

The two most common cycling apps I’m aware of is Kamoot and Strava, while Google maps also enable decent cycle routes.
Most fitness trackers link with these apps and keep good statistics of your cycling expeditions, which adds to the enjoyment.

Go get a bike, a decent padded pair of shorts since cycling in that area is a contact sport and Google some nice cycle paths in your area to explore. Oh, and report on your adventures on South Africans in Germany.

Some other useful apps:

Routing: 

Renting bikes

In most cities you can rent a bicycle, just do a search.