Before leaving for my trip, I did some research and learned that brunch hasn’t quite caught on in South Africa, save for a few upscale places in Johannesburg. Unfortunately, we 1. didn’t spend much time in Joburg and 2. traveled and ate on a very meager budget, so brunch never made it onto the itinerary.
Instead of brunch stories, here are a few of our other food experiences:
- We spent four days in Kruger National Park doing self-guided game drives. Because the best times to see the animals are in the early morning and late afternoon, we wanted to make the most of our time and hit the pavement at 6am right as the park gates opened and the sun prepared to rise. Thus, a nice sit-down breakfast was not really an option. Instead, we opted for a bootleg breakfast of a box of All-Bran (the best option at the park store) and a bag of bananas. The only way to transform the dry, cardboard bits of bran into something resembling edible food was to wash it down with a banana–giving birth to our (trademark pending) Branana Breakfast. Warning: do not eat this at home.
- Every single one of the books and websites I read about Durban listed “bunny chow” as one of the things not to be missed. Bunny Chow, a local specialty originating from Durban’s large Indian population, is a hollowed out loaf (or quarter or half) of bread filled with curry. America may have our bread bowls for chili, but the Bunny Chows we ate took the bread bowl concept to a whole new level of deliciousness. I may have to recreate this one at home!
- Goat is a chewy meat. Not bad, but chewy.
All in all, the food in South Africa was fine, but nothing to write home about. More of note were the wild animals and the soccer. Both of which exceeded our expectations.
- While driving around the national park, my brother and I stumbled upon a fight between two elephants. As if the fight itself and their proximity to our car wasn’t scary enough, one of them decided we were too close and started to run after our car as we slowly put the car in reverse. Most frightening experience of my life. But also one of the coolest. In retrospect.
- We took one guided drive and the guide took the car off the marked road and got us within 10 feet of 5 lionesses, 3 cubs, and a lion.
- We saw giraffes and monkeys having sex.
- We saw Switzerland beat Spain 1-0. SO much fun! There were lots of unhappy (and shocked) Spanish fans that day.
- We showed up at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg decked in our USA gear but without tickets and managed to find 2 tickets (at less than face value) to watch the US come back from a 2-0 first-half deficit to tie Slovenia. No comment on the terrible officiating. I bought my first ever USA flag, which is now proudly displayed in my cubicle.
Pictures to come!