The term "The Bush" to most South Africans (at least in this area) is synonymous to South Africa. To spend the day in "the bush" is a very romantic occasion. I would say that they feel "at home" in the bush. When a South African is living abroad, "the bush" is something they will speak of fondly and express that that is what they miss the most about home.
Since being in South Africa "the bush" has also become very special to me. When I have been back in Canada for an extended period of time, the first thing I want to do when I get back to South Africa is head to "the bush".
When someone in South Africa says they are "headed to the bush this weekend", they are basically saying that they are heading somewhere up north in South Africa to a game reserve, game park or possibly just the Kruger. The area that we live in in South Africa is considered part of "the bush". When I picture "the bush", I am either drinking a sundowner on the veranda of a thatch chalet listening to hippos down by the river, I am stopped in a really hot bakkie while impalas cross the road or I am laying in bed in a tented camp listening to the sounds of the frogs down by the river. To each person who has experienced "the bush", a different very distinct memory or feeling is evoked when it is spoken of.
This term is also used quite commonly in other countries like Australia, New Zealand and interestingly enough in Canada after doing some research. In Canada la brousse has been used by the french Canadians to describe communities that are unreachable by regular roads.
Roger and I headed to "the bush" last weekend, and of course had a fabulous time. There is nothing more relaxing then drinking some wine on the veranda while making a braai and listening to the wilderness around you.