Things that scream South Africa even when you’re abroad
South Africa, it’s hard to miss when it’s literally self-explanatory on a map. That being said, there are things that make this country unique beyond its languages and history pre and post 1994. To those individuals who have been fortunate to leave the borders of the country, hopefully in a legal way will know that not everything we come into contact with as citizens are universally available.
A perfect example of this is the humble braai. Every meat eating country most likely has one but were the only country to call it by its real name, a braai. Not a barbeque like the rest of the world because we all know that’s the name of a flavour of a spice or a sauce. What’s even worse is that this leisure activity’s partner is known as a sausage across the world and not as boerewors. Which is unfair because viennas are known as viennas if only they were available in the city of Vienna and bratwurst as bratwurst regardless of where you are in the world, and they’re from. We’re always told to support Proudly South African products, but we do that on a regular basis. We might not be Germany or Japan and purchase locally produced cars, but we do have rusks and Rooibos. Two proudly South African products that we enjoy with as much pride as our national rugby team giving Australia a hiding, but if it’s Australia then beating them in everything brings the country together and national joy.
As far as food is concerned, there are what we can call, for lack of a better term, the celebrity foods that everybody knows and associates with South Africa, in the same way, Nelson Mandela is. These include but not limited to Mrs Balls Chutney, Milk tart and most importantly Biltong and wine. But food is not the only thing we’re known for. Thanks to the 2010 World Cup we also introduced the Vuvuzela to the world, but a noise complaint was lodged, and it’s now banned in most places outside our northern borders. The shy Chappies wrapper has educated so many people that call this place home, but the facts stated on its underside have made us famous for other reasons, some of which we don’t appreciate and realise as native South Africans, such as having the world’s longest wine route. 850 km of fermented grape goodness from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, which is a route that should be taken if the N2 reminds you too much of your way to work. We are also home to the second highest waterfall in the world — Tugela Falls at 948 metres.
These are all things that make South Africa, South Africa and this is without mentioning the usual sales material of our country, the tourism and wildlife, Nobel peace prize winners, beaches and lure of natural resources.
Mpumalanga, land of the rising sun, home to the lower part of South Africa’s largest National Park and a University. It does not seem like much but before 2014, the second smallest province in terms of land mass did not have an institution of higher learning, meaning all bachelor degrees and its peers had to be sourced elsewhere. But there is more to do in the mountainous terrain of Mpumalanga littered with forests than trying to find five of the most famous animals.
Mpumalanga Wine Show
Fermented grapes and their intoxicating taste aren’t something exclusively reserved for the Western Cape. The Mpumalanga Wine Show not only brings a change of venue to the typical vista of grapes in the background but makes wine much more accessible for people who find journeying down south just a little too far. With more than 250 types of wine to taste and talk to producers of wine directly.
Please note: No under 18s, Babies or Prams allowed.
When: 5 & 6 April 2019
Cost: R200 at the Door
Address: Emnotweni Arena, Riverside Park Ext 1. Nelspruit
Contact: 011 482 5936
Craft Beer and Gin Festival
Brand South Africa is all about celebrating all that is local and lekker, and this particular festival does just that. Enjoy the goodness that comes from barley, hops, rye and wheat. Then after a day filled with responsible drinking, find a place to lay low and prepare for the next day.
When: 13 April 2019
Address: Eish Secunda, Kiewit St, Lake Umuzi Waterfront, Secunda
Contact: 017 634 5980
Forever Loskop Marathon
Mpumalanga has something for everyone, even those of us who have no interest in alcoholic beverages. The Forever Loskop Marathon hosted in Middleburg is a 50km marathon that meanders through suburbs, Highfield terrain that provides a satisfying crunch underfoot and challenges like no other in the form of the Kranspoort Pass 38km in, where it separates the joggers from the runners.
When: 13 April 2019 (6:00AM)
Address: Loskop Nature Reserve, Damwal Complex, Loskop
Humala River Lodge
Kruger National Park feeling a little to mainstream for you, but still in the mood to see wild animals do their thing? Well then, the Songimvelo Game Reserve is the place to be. Not only does it have countless of amazing animals that are overlooked because of five particular animals but it also happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the world’s oldest rock art. All of this and more can be enjoyed when you book a stay at Humala River Lodge located within the game reserve.
Cost: Dependant on package
Address: Songimvelo Game Reserve
Contact: 010 007 3620
The Thirsty Bartender
Sometimes it’s not about events or festivals or even the wildlife, and more about finding a new place to explore with your friends and party up a storm. As far as nightlife goes, Nelspruit/Mbombela is the place to be. This is it a bias, but a quick google search will bring up all the places to dance up a sweat and chances are, a majority of them are based in the land of the man-made rainforest. Such as the Thirsty bartender.
Cost: Dependant on the event
Address: Chief Mgiyeni Khumalo Drive 11
Contact: 076 674 5536
Demacon MTB Series
The Demacon tours Mpumalanga over February and May, providing a thrilling race each month that builds upon the action of the previous one. Allowing riders and spectators alike to witness the best skill when they face off against the elements. Catch the 3rd leg of the Demacon MTB series in Dullstroom, with luxurious accommodation venues and plenty of things to do in Dullstroom. Proving that there’s more to this town than fish.
When: 27 April 2019
Cost: R60-R250 depending on race