There’s been some pain for the Proteas when they’ve toured Sri Lanka, notably in 2004 and 2006 when the batting brilliance of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara as well as the wizardry of spinner Muttiah Muralitharan dominated.
But South Africa have also had some really good times on the Island and go into the Test series, which starts in Galle on Thursday, on the back of having won the previous series there in 2014.
Here are four memorable Proteas moments in Tests in Sri Lanka.
Jonty Rhodes’ gritty maiden Test century
South Africa’s first Test on the Island in August 1993 seemed to be heading towards a defeat after they were set an improbable 365 to win in Moratuwa.
Depressingly, the Proteas had slumped to 92/4 and 138/6 but the hosts didn’t bank on a diminutive, nippy stroke-maker throwing back everything they did at him.
Rhodes was superbly organised in reaching his first Test century off 202 balls, ending with an unbeaten 101 in over four hours at the crease.
He received fine support from the tailenders – spinner Clive Eksteen stonewalling for 89 balls to make just four runs – as South Africa played out for a creditable draw.
Bustling Brett demolishes the Sri Lankan batting
Brett Schultz was never really afforded the opportunity to really take Test cricket by the scruff of the neck due to all his injuries.
But for three wonderful weeks in 1993, the left-arm quick delivered a blitzkrieg that many Sri Lankan observers still say has scarred their national side.
Schultz sent down bullets in claiming a record 20 wickets in the three-Test series but it was his match-winning performance in the second Test in Colombo that stole the show.
On a sluggish pitch, the man from East London was hostile and accurate in claiming match figures of 9/106 as South Africa galloped to a historic win by an innings and 208 runs.
His 5/48 in the first innings featured some wonderful deliveries that went across the right-handers but still managed to cramp them up.
Lance Klusener grows up
Lance Klusener wasn’t particularly pleasing on the eye when he batted but he was mightily effective, gaining cult status as Man-of-the-Tournament in the 1999 World Cup in England.
Yet a year later, he had stated that he wanted to be more of a responsible frontline batsman and “Zulu” certainly delivered.
Thrashed in the first Test at Kandy, South Africa looked vulnerable again in Colombo, crashing to 34/5.
But Klusener was magnificent, playing the spin of Muralitharan expertly to rescue his side with an unbeaten 118 off 220.
He also took 2/34 with his off-cutters as the Proteas completed a magnificent comeback to win by a thrilling seven runs.
Klusener scored 95 in the third Test as well
By 2014, pretty much everyone in world cricket knew that Dale Steyn was the top dog as Test bowler with an already amazing record on the sub-continent.
The Proteas’ series-clinching win in Galle merely served to confirm that.
In a mesmerising display of skill, Steyn gained conventional and reverse swing to brag with match figures of 9/99, the best for any fast bowler at the ground.
And they say Galle is a spinner’s paradise…