South Africans love to have a Braai (BBQ)
There is nothing better then enjoying a traditional South African braai. It is usually done on a wood burning fire outside. The men traditionally are in charge of cooking the meat whilst drinking several beers whilst the women prepare yummy salads like potatoe salad, carrot & orange salad, coleslew, noodle salad, rice salad curried with peaches & a tossed salad which could contain fruiit.
The sausage is called borewors which is a spicied sausage coiled into a round. Sosaties are cubes of meat & vegetables on a stick. Chops & chicken are also pretty common. People do fish in tin foil (although I'm not a lover of fish)
South Africans make a day of having a braai & the goodness is in the eating - hungry just typing this
Tweede Nuwe Jaar
Traditionally the 2nd January has been an unofficial holiday in Cape Town. (no where else in South Africa is "Tweede Nuwe Jaar" celebrated.
With its origin apparently as a holiday for slaves during the early days of the Cape of Good Hope, the tradition continues today and is celebrated by troops of colourful minstrels or "coons" as they were more commonly known.
Supermarkets in Cape Town practices
I think a charge was introduced as a result of Cape Town trying to reduce roadside rubbish at first but of course it is also very enviromentally friendly.
There is a nominal charge per thin plastic bag added to your grocery bill. Or alternatively you can purchase a green bag which is a strong fabric bag for life currently Pick n Pay charge R5 per bag with a percentage going to enviromental projects.
The main supermarkets in Cape Town are Pick n Pay & Checkers (Shoprite) which equate to Sainsburys / Tesco (UK). Woolworths in SA is effectively a Marks & Spencer store.
In Centuary City where you pay for parking the supermarkets will stamp your parking card giving you an hour free when you purchase just one thing.
Shopping at the supermarket for picnic items & wine can save you an enormous amount on lunches out. We often take a picnic when we visit Kirstenbosch botanical gardens. They sell ready made salads & pies as well. You may also find wine is cheaper to buy at a supermarket then even on the wine farms & certainly cheaper then at the airport.
The Cape Coons
Every Year the Cape Coons march in the streets of Cape , I guess here you`ll get to see all the local people here.
I have collected some info on them which you can checkout for interest sake.
Coon Carnival CEO Mr. Melvyn Mathews (picture at left) of the Hip Hop All Stars (previously The Penny Pinchers All Stars) who was responsible for the organisation of the 2003 road march confirmed this view. “This carnival is getting big and big sponsors are starting to throw good money at us and we cannot afford the image of gangsterism to ruin the coon carnival... It’s now become one of Cape Town’s major tourist attraction’s and we (the minstrels board and the city of Cape Town) are working very hard at improving our image so we can even take on the Rio Carnival... Yes we had problems in the past, you even photographed some of them. But if you look at this years carnival then you can see that we are succeeding and that with our big plans for 2004 we’re taking this to a higher level, never seen before” said Mathews.
Melvyn Mathews (54) is an authority on the Cape Town Coon carnival and has been a part of it since he was two years old. For more information, Mathews can be contacted in Cape Town at telephone numbers +27 83 733 8522 or +27 21 593 1888
The Noon Gun
The daily firing of Cape Town's historic Noon Gun. Situated high up on Signal Hill's, Lion Battery, it has a clear view of the sea as well as the city below. There are actually two guns performing this ancient ritual of announcing 12 o' clock to the Mother City, alternating between them every other day, with the 2nd on standby in case the duty gun fails to fire.
The terrain is now open to the public to see the daily firing of the noon gun, this particular gun has been replaced by a similar one, the two now standing side by side.
Soon after the English occupation of the Cape in 1795, the Dutch guns were removed from Imhoff Battery at the Castle and replaced by the latest English 18 pounders.
A time signal has been fired by one of these guns since 1806.
With the advent of the "galvanic telegraph" it became possible to trigger a gun remotely and since 1864 the noon gun has been accurately fired from the master clock of the oldest timekeeper in the country, the South African Astronomical Observatory as it is still being fired today.
As Cape Town developed and grew, the noise of the gun became too loud and violent for the city centre and the guns were moved up to signal hill's Lion Battery from where they are still fired today. The first signal fired from here was on the 4th of August 1902. These same guns are still in use today and the 2 guns used are the oldest guns in daily use in the world.
- Historical Travel
Tipping in Cape Town
As regards to Restaurants tipping is considered appropriate anything from 10%, service charge may be added into bills if stated on the menu for larger parties. Waitrons do not earn a high basic wage & do rely on tips preferable to be left in cash rather then on the card.
Tipping at bars seems to have become mandatory, for example if you order 2 drinks at total cost R25 patrons give a R2 tip on the saucer once change is returned. Of course it can get a bit silly if you are at a bar for a while so at the end of the evening you may wish to leave the bar staff a tip.
There are a lot of car guards around in Cape Town whose job it is to watch your vehicle whilst it is parked. I personally feel at night time they add extra security & a feeling of safety - Of course don't give a tip if you feel threatened, although this is usually not the case the guards are pleasent enough although there is competition & squabbling between who looked after the car. I do however feel justified in not giving a tip in a normal supermarket car park where parking is free unless they have helped find a parking spot in a crowded area or loaded your bags in etc.
Do be careful not to flaunt your cash or wallet when giving tips in the open, coins are usually sufficient.
Biltong and Droe wors
The best delicasy for most South African's are biltong and droe wors (dried sausage) Biltong and Droe wors is sold in nearly all supermarkets, most malls and sometimes even on fleamarkets. You get various varieties from beef to venison. Best for me is the beef followed by the kudu biltong.
QUICK BILTONG RECIPE
So, it is Wednesday and you are on your way home from work. You remember that the guys are coming over to your place on Saturday to watch sport on the box, and you decide to treat them with some homemade Biltong. You pop in at your local butcher for some good quality fresh meat, Silverside (London Broil), Topside, Steak or such, now:
2 kg good quality meat
Biltong spice (available from Biltongmakers-see our home page)
Slice the meat into suitable strips, making sure that there some thin strips for those who like their Biltong a bit dry.
Place the meat in a tray.
Sprinkle 100 grams of dry Biltong spice (available from “Biltongmakers”) evenly over all sides off the meat.
Protect the meat against flies and leave for 3-4 hours.
Dry the meat with some paper towels and hang in the Biltong Maker (or a dry, drafty area).
Meets the Cape Malays
their humour, their traditions, their foods
for those who know "old adderley" street and the flowers vendors, the witty biting remarks;
the removal of District 6 and others to lands too far away, took away the original heart and soul of Ou Kaapstad.
on my last trip in 2009, walking along Adderly Street and the CBD area, the flower sellers were not with the quick wits and comments indelilble in my mind from the early 80's and even 60's
Bo Kaap below Signal Hill has a touch, but not as intense as before. It remains colourful, and the emergence of B&Bs are a positive sign.
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
Signage so funny it poses a safety hazard!
Hmmm ... maybe this one should be under 'Warnings and Dangers', because the first time I saw it, I was behind the wheel and was laughing so hard that I almost drove off the road!
This sign is for an ostrich farm off the R27 just north of Cape Town, where they indeed breed ostrich - if you choose to put a smutty spin on this (as, of course, I did myself), then that's your problem!
Apologies for the picture quality, but we were going fast ... and in case you're jumping to the logical conclusion ... no, I wasn't driving this time!
Almost like Flemish and Dutch
The local language is different from English and is called Afrikaans. This language is a mixture of Dutch and English. For Flemish and Dutch people it is easy to understand and seems to be the only region in the world where beneath Belgium and Holland this language is spoken. So al signs are in both languages and to us it is rather funny that we understand both languages.
There's the Cape doctor and there's also Cape coma
Capetonians are fiercely proud of their easygoing image, openly laughing at their more frenetic fellow South Africans from the north and shrugging off admonitions of being afflicted by what has widely become known as the ‘Cape coma’. It usually shows when someone uses "hectic" to describe styles or colours or just anything sticking out of the regular...;-))
IF you are a Reiki practitioner visiting our city or just having moved here and looking for a group where you can practise your Reiki and learn a bit every time, why not join our Reiki group. We get together once a month at the Spinnery in Durbanville where we do group healing as well as universe and distant healing. Give Suzi a ring if you are interested and she will provide you with more information
Parking and Paying
When parking on the street there were people (wearing vests) who expected money to watch over your car. They would help you park, even though you do not need it, then they would stand by your car waiting to be paid.
We at times paid them and at times we did not. You could tell when you did not pay them; they would be a little upset. This was hard to get used to, to always have some one wanting money to park on the street. At times we did not have any cash. We never knew how much we were supposed to pay, so we just guessed.
Load Shedding, well that's become quite a buzz word in Cape Town and the rest of South Africa recently. Our national energy supplier ESKOM has tried to blame this on the rapid develoment of the economy, locals blame it on ESKOM'S inefficiency but actually the real reason is that us locals care so much for this planet that we are prepared to go without electricity for extended periods to make this a better place to live.
Besides that, the hidden agenda is to market Cape Town (and the rest of South Africa) as a romantic destination where everone dines by candle light.
Purchase a mobile or a SIM Card
Despite what we had read beforehand, we found it impossible to rent a cell/mobile phone while we were in country (wanted to have one for emergencies/convenience while driving the garden route). So we ended up purchasing one rather inexpensively. We bought a nokia model for about $40 US and a prepaid plan for another $20. It came with about 30 minutes airtime which was more than enough. Again- we bought it for security. Went to the local Vodafone in Greenpoint not far from the rental car pickups.
- Road Trip