We arrived in Durban, the place in which the books said bunny chow was a must. I still had no clue what it was. The words amused my tongue and ideas danced around my brain. A quick google search would of course resolve everything, but I liked the idea of not knowing. So, I would follow the clear instructions given in the guidebooks – find it and eat it.
That damp day in Durban, my mum and I made our way to Victoria Market. There, in a shop where we bought some lovely paintings and souvenirs, I asked the shop owner where I should have bunny chow. Without hesitation she said at The Oriental. The best and only place we should have it.
We found ourselves on public transportation for the first time in the country. Yay, food adventures! 🙂 Upon alighting the bus we dashed through the rain. Wet streets and wet feet took us to what I was surprised to find was the food court of a shopping mall. Really?
Lots of people were milling around the spot we needed to go to. That relieved me. By the time of ordering we knew what the bewitchingly named bunny chow was. Your chosen portion size of a bread loaf, hollowed out and filled with delicious curry. The hollowed bit was served on the side and used for dipping. We ordered quarter loaves. My mum got mutton and I went for the beef. The taste explosion was worth the wait. Worth the hunt. Worth the enigmatic anticipation.
The spices married perfectly, the meat was tender and the way the bread soaked up the curry was as though these two were always meant to be together. I still have daydreams about this meal. If you’re ever in Durban, it is hands down a must!
Have you ever tried it? Have you ever made it? What did you think?
~~~The Wandering Pier
It was an early rise for my mum and I. We needed to check out and have a quick breakfast before running some errands in Plettenberg Bay. With the car fueled up, some more Rand in our pockets and our postcards at the beginning of their journeys across the globe, we set out for Cape Agulhas.
In our reading and research, Cape Agulhas came up a few times. It is the most southerly point of Africa and the point where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic. We agreed that it was a must. With only one day to get there, the race was on.
The drive was spectacular. Like with all of our previous journeys making our way across South Africa, every bit of scenery was breathtaking. You feel like you’re driving through a painting or continuously browsing through the best postcard shop there ever was.
The dipping sun and its gloriously golden hue, told me that we were fast running out of time. I looked at how much further we had to go and calculated that we could make it by sunset, if I drove a bit faster and we made zero stops.
As the sun continued to lower critically close to the horizon, we neared our destination. By then, I knew we would make it. We rolled into the car park with perfect timing. The view was yet another that stole my breath away. We and the other handful of people that were there stood entranced by the sky and watched as the sun left us for another land far away.
We checked out some information on a board nearby, before making our way down to the water. I had to dip my feet in and stand where the Indian Ocean officially meets the Atlantic. They were equally freezing!
My mum and I marveled at where we were and truly soaked in the experience. We lingered a while longer, looking at the changing colours of the stunning sky.
When the show was over, we reluctantly made our way back to the car. It was an incredible day, with the best ending one could ask for, two Trinis sitting at the tip of Africa.
~~~The Wandering Pier
This experience was surprisingly and sorely disappointing. For all who know and love Nando’s, you may know what it’s like to go without it for a while. Alternatively, you maybe be able to relate to when one of those Nando’s pangs hits you.
I am for sure a Nando’s lover. When my ticket to South Africa was booked, it was one of the first things that came to mind, no lie. The Mecca, the motherland, the birthplace. So when my mum and I stopped in there on that faithful day, I felt nothing but delight. Until the food came.
The side dishes were of course different from what we have in England, which was fine. There were also less options on the menu, for example no halloumi cheese, red pepper dip or sweet potato mash, among others. With a heavy sigh, I was also willing to accept that. I knew it would be different. I chose wedges with my set meal, since we don’t have it in England and I ordered sides of spinach and coleslaw.
The entire meal was mediocre at best. Unfortunately matching what a couple friends had said, though I had refused to believe it. The chicken lacked that flame grilled taste you expect from Nando’s. The reason you’d choose going to Nando’s over some other chicken joint. To be fair, I could stop my little review right there. In fact, I will. Drops mic.
I’ve recently learned that Nando’s has finally reached the states. Rejoice, American peoples! I’m heading to the US next and if I’m anywhere near one I’ll be all over it like some Wild Herb sauce. Not counting South Africa, January was my last fix. Not sure how much longer I can go on. Nando’s lover problems.
My friends had planned a little surprise trip to Stellenbosch prior to my arrival in Cape Town. When I got there, they told me all about it and it’s fantastic wine farms. I was delighted. I’d always wanted to go wine tasting and wine tasting specifically at a vineyard was actually on my bucket list.
After an early morning surf with them, back at my accommodation, my mum and I got ready. Their friend also joined us and we drove about an hour to Stellenbosch. As we entered the wine country we were hit with yet more spectacular views of the landscape of South Africa. The sky was pristine blue and the rolling green hills unfolded before us, giving way to jaw dropping scenery.
As we pulled up at the first farm, I was brimming with excitement. It was finally happening. We walked pass rows of grapes, toward the entrance. We couldn’t help but try a few. Naughty. Don’t do that. On the inside we were greeted by some friendly, knowledgeable staff. They gave us menus and told us the breakdown of their tasting process. If I remember correctly, we could try three white, three rosé and three red of our choice.
We made our way to the seating area outside, under the shade of a tree and began. My friends had been there before, so they were able to share some knowledge on the wine tasting process. They also had a very helpful wine book with them. We made our way down the menu with pleasure.
My mum was starting to lag a bit, since she isn’t really a drinker, but always a good sport. After chatting at length, taking photos and learning about the various wines there, we realised we would only have enough time to go to one more wine farm.
Again, we rolled up to a gorgeous vineyard and entered a stunning, well kept older building. Dark woods and stately furniture inside handsomely matched the outside. We paid, got our wine lists, settled down outside and began. My mum was able to handle one more tasting before bowing out. Which was a bonus for my friend! Mum then moved to seating at the end of the deck, seeking a more panoramic view while we finished up.
On our last couple of glasses of tart, dry reds, one thought unanimously descended upon us- food. At the end, we turned away from each other and focused on the view before us. The lowering sun, coupled with the unique rock formations of the mountain in front of us created some interesting shadows. Rows of perfectly lined grapevines surrounded us and peacocks paraded around vying for our attention.
On the drive into the town, we were met with fantastic architecture everywhere. It was quaint and fairly quiet in comparison to Cape Town. We ate lunch in a venue that had overhanging vines, chunky wooden country style furniture and a roaming cat. The food was well enjoyed. On the drive home we stopped for ice cream. This rounded it off as a perfect Sunday for me- beach, wine, ice cream and a long drive. Perfection.
~~~The Wandering Pier
A few years ago I tried surfing. It was in Bournemouth, England that I went for a lesson. It was fun, but pretty challenging without any waves. Nonetheless I got some basic pointers that could only really be built upon with practice.
Fast forward to South Africa, 2014. After an early departure from Cape Agulhas, my mum and I arrived in Cape Town by 9am. Later that evening, after reuniting with a couple of South African friends Estie and Peter, who I met in Korea, they invited me to go surfing the next morning. For me the only catch was the 7am start. I told them I’d let them know.
After some debate with myself that night, I decided it wasn’t often that the opportunity to start my Sunday with an early morning surf came along. I would go.
It indeed turned out to be such an awesome way to start my day. The sun was shining gloriously, causing the blue waters to dazzle. That alone was enough reason to be there. Attempting to surf was a little tough, but with a great set of instructions from my friend Estie, I was on my way. I didn’t stand up in the end, but I had so much fun trying. The couple of waves that I did catch gave me the rush I needed to keep trying. I could totally see why surfers sit out there on their boards for ages, waiting to catch the perfect wave. It is so worth it.
~~~The Wandering Pier