The ultimate braaing holiday MzansiBride

Winona Griggs

My Amazing Braai Adventure

Nine is such a cool number. Cats even have nine lives! And you know what else? When you take a week off work, nine is the magical number of days you get to enjoy – that’s like having your cake and eating it too! And speaking of magic, did you know that South Africa has nine provinces? With all of this in mind, I decided to embark on an epic adventure – the National Braai Tour!

On the very first day of my adventure, I found myself gathered around a half-barrel braai drum with the famous band Fokofpolisiekar, the incredible Jack Parow, and even a whole TV crew. Can you imagine? We were braaing at this awesome pub called Ridgeback Village in Pretoria. They had big-screen TVs everywhere, so we didn’t miss a single second of the action.

On the second day, I took a short drive to Brits in the North West. It wasn’t your typical braai spot, but I had a hunch that most old age homes in the country would let you braai for the residents if you asked. And I was right! I had a great time braaing with the folks at the Rusoord Old Age Home.

After Brits, I headed to Bela-Bela, Limpopo. It was a leisurely 90-minute drive. Once there, I stopped by Camo Meat, a specialized butchery that sells venison. It was my first time seeing a shop like that! I got some supplies and then we made our way to Mbizi Lodge, a place just outside town where we could braai and relax.

Since I had braaied with the elderly at the old age home, I thought it would be fun to braai with some kids too. So on the fourth day, I cooked up some boerewors rolls for 90 kids at a kindergarten in Witbank, Mpumalanga. They were thrilled, and it brought me so much joy to see their happy faces!

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My fifth stop on this adventure took me to the Griquas rugby team’s braai at the GWK stadium in Kimberley, Northern Cape. Let me tell you, the braai was absolutely amazing! The only downside was the incredibly long seven-hour drive from Witbank to Kimberley. Trust me, if you’re planning a similar trip, I would recommend skipping Kimberley and heading straight to Parys from Mpumalanga. You can still check off the Northern Cape box by visiting Sutherland on day eight or nine of your tour.

Parys, located in the Free State, is surprisingly beautiful considering its close proximity to some less picturesque areas of Gauteng. One standout attraction in Parys is Olympia Butchery, which is truly one of the best butcheries I have ever come across in South Africa. One of the things that sets it apart is the personalized service provided by the owner. I highly recommend spending a night along the banks of the Vaal River – during my visit, I stayed at the lovely SunWa River Lodge.

On day seven, instead of embarking on a long road trip, I decided to take a different route. I hopped on a budget flight from Johannesburg to Durban, which only took 90 minutes. Before arriving in Durban, I received a special tip from a local barbecue expert about a Halaal butchery called Continental Butchery. This place was known for its amazing spicy braai meat. When I arrived, I found out that the butchery was closed between 12pm and 2pm for the owners to attend mosque. Despite waiting in the rain for an hour, it was well worth it.

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After my time in Durban, I made my way to Port Elizabeth Airport. It’s a small airport, but I found it to be quite charming. From there, I rented a car and drove to Crossways Country Kitchen, which is located on the Cape Town side of Van Stadens Bridge. On day eight, I had the pleasure of cooking with Trevor Steyn, a talented chef who had trained with the renowned Gordon Ramsay.

On my final day of this adventure, I took a flight to Cape Town and decided to end my tour with a township braai at a popular spot called Mzoli’s in Gugulethu. Every time I visit this place, I always order the same delicious items: lamb chops, boerewors, pap, and chakalaka. And when you’re sitting in Gugulethu, enjoying your meal, don’t forget to order a quart of beer and savor the moment a little longer, pretending that it’s not time to go back to the office the next day.

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