Your guide to ‘South Africanism’

South Africa has become a second home to me and after many visits I have acquired a unique ’South Africanism’.

So before stepping foot in such a remarkably diverse country, here are a few local hints to help you discover how lekker biltong is, how to use your vuvuzela and what to do if you’re invited to the veld to brai some Boerewors by an oke who pulls up at the robot in his bakkie saying howzit and to bring your bru and will see you now now.

‘Eish what a language

Just like Australia, South Africa has its own unique, unusual and somewhat entertaining slang. Derived from a melting pot of 11 official languages, ‘South Africanism’ mixes it up with a seductive menu of words and phrases drawn from the various languages.

Ag – (Pronounced like the ach in German) – can preceded any sentence for various effects
Bakkie – (Pronounced ‘buck-key’) – a utility / pick-up truck or Tupperware container
Baie dankie – thanks a lot; thank you very much
Biltong – dried, seasoned meat, similar to jerky
Boer – Afrikaans word for farmer
Boerewors (boerie) – spicy South African farmers’ sausage
Boetie (Pronounced ‘Boet – tea’) – South African Afrikaans for little brother; this can also be used as a nickname.
Bokkie – a small buck, or affectionate name for a female (my bokkie)
Bra – Afrikaans word for male friend – “dude” in English
Bru – male friend
Braai – a BBQ
Droë wors (Pronounce ‘oë’ as an ‘ooa’) – dried sausage, similar to biltong
Eish! (Pronounced ‘aysh’) – a phrase of exclamation eg. Eish! I am so tired
Howzit – how’s it going? How are you?
Just now – interchangeable meanings which could be ‘just now’, ‘tomorrow or perhaps ‘never’
Kombi – a minivan
Lekker – great / tasty
Now now – Meaning in a little bit, a bit later (not to be confused with Just now)
Oke (Pronounced ‘oak’) – a guy / bloke
Robot – traffic light
Shabeen – A local drinking establishment ( Wandi’s Shabeen is most famous in Soweto township)
Shame – A response for just about anything, and is normally added to the sentence ‘Ag shame man’
Veld – bush / grassland
Vuvuzela (Pronounced ‘Voo’ – ‘voo’ – ‘ze’ – ‘la’ ) – Setswana for a stadium horn, used by football fans during matches in South Africa

Out in the veld

South Africa is home to some of the world’s most popular wildlife, including the famous “big five” and since wildlife safaris are South Africa’s most popular tourist activity, you may find it helpful to know some interesting facts about the animals that call South Africa home.

The big five consist of buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and rhinoceros and were given this name, not because of their massive sizes, but because of how difficult and dangerous it was to hunt them down. However, the amazing array of wildlife species goes beyond the big five and to sound like a seasoned safari expert, these terms may assist.

Antelope: A herd of antelope
Ant: A colony or An army of ants
Baboons: A troop of baboons
Buffalo: A herd of buffalo
Buck: A brace or clash of bucks
Crocodile: A float of crocodiles
Elephant: A herd of elephants
Giraffe: A tower or journey of giraffes/giraffe
Heron: A hedge of herons
Hippo: A pod or bloat of hippopotamuses /hippopotami
Leopard: A leap (leep) of leopards
Lion: A pride of lions
Monkey: A troop of monkeys
Owls: A parliament of owls
Rhino: A crash or herd of rhinos
Stork: A mustering of storks
Warthog A Sounder of warthog
Zebra: A dazzle of zebras

A kaleidoscope of quirks

More than just the wildlife and landscape, South Africa has  some pretty interesting title and interesting facts you may not have known.

  1. Table  Mountain in Cape Town is believed to be one of the oldest mountains in the  world and one of the planet’s 12 main energy centres, radiating magnetic,  electric or spiritual energy.
  2. The  Cape Floral Kingdom is one of the world’s six floral kingdoms – and the only  one which is wholly contained within a single country.
  3. South  Africa is now the only country in the world to have hosted the Soccer, Cricket  and Rugby World Cup!
  4. Some  countries have deserts; some have subtropical forests, right? South Africa has:  deserts, wetlands, grasslands, bush, subtropical forests, mountains and  escarpments.
  5. South  Africa’s Cape Winelands have around 560 wineries and 4 400 primary producers. Included  in the Cape Winelands region is Route 62, considered the longest wine route in  the world. That alone is good reason to visit South Africa if you haven’t yet  been!
  6. Not  a wine fan? What about beer? South African brewery SABMiller ranks – by volume  – as the largest brewing company in the world. Saffers love their beer…but the  real reason the brewery is so big? SABMiller also supplies up to 50% of China’s  beer.
  7. And  after all that wine and beer, nothing beats a hangover better than water.  South Africa’s drinking water is rated 3rd  best in the world for being “safe and ready to drink”.
  8. South  Africa is the only country in the entire world that has voluntarily abandoned  its nuclear weapons programme.
  9. South  Africa is extremely rich in mining and minerals and considered the world’s  leader with nearly 90% of all the platinum metals on earth and around 41% of the  entire world’s Gold!
  10. The  world’s largest themed resort hotel in the world – The Palace of the Lost City  – is found in South Africa. Surrounding the Palace is a 25 hectare manmade  botanical jungle with almost 2 million plants, trees and shrubs.
  11. South  Africa is home to the oldest meteor scar in the world – the Vredefort Dome in a  town called Parys. The site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  12. The  oldest remains of modern humans were found in South Africa and are well over  160,000 years old.
  13. The  Karoo region in the Western Cape is home to some of the best fossils of early  dinosaurs. In fact, it is estimated that some 80% of the mammalian fossils  found to date were found in the Karoo.
  14. There  are more than 2000 shipwrecks off the South African coast, most dating back at  least 500 years.
  15. South  Africa is home to the highest commercial bungi jump in the world at 710 feet.
  16. General  Motors South Africa is the only place outside of the USA to build the Hummer  H3!
  17. Despite  the country’s status as a democratic republic, the Province of KwaZulu-Natal  has a monarchy, specially provided for by the Constitution. Goodwill Zwelithini  kaBhekuzulu is the King of the Zulu Nation, has 27 kids and 6 wives and lives,  literally, like a King!
  18. SA  has three capital cities: Pretoria is the Executive Capital, Cape Town the  Legislative Capital and Bloemfontein the judicial Capital.
  19. South  Africa is the only place to have two Nobel Peace Prize winners lived on the  same street.  Both Nelson Mandela and  Archbishop Desmond Tutu had houses on Vilakazi Street in Soweto
  20. The  South African Rovos Rail is considered the most luxurious train in the world.

Taking time out at Tadrai Island

I am told at Tadrai Island ‘I deserve to live the dream’. That is a concept I am looking forward to as I board my helicopter for transfers out to Fiji’s newest five star resort.

On-board the Island Hopper chopper, the view over the reef and islands below are breath-taking and does not do the postcards I have seen prior justice.  Just 15 minutes later my pilot Jane puts me down on Tadrai Island Resort, located on picturesque Mana Island in the Mamanuca Group.

I am instantly at peace in the tranquility of my own private paradise that I will call home for the next few days.   Over the next few days I find myself living the dream that is Tadrai.  It starts by waking to the sound of waves gently caressing the shore.  With only five bures at Tadrai Island Resort, the level of intimacy is like none other I have experienced.  My bure sits at the water’s edge, immaculate in design but harmonious with the surrounding landscapes.  A plunge pool off the deck beckons a refreshing dip to escape the tropical heat.

TadraiThere is no time here so I head off to breakfast at leisure.  As the resort is all inclusive, I linger over my selection of activities for the day, before coming up with an itinerary I felt would really throw me into the concept of living the dream.

I start with a morning sail on the catamaran.  We push off from the shore and the water quickly changes from crystal clear to deep turquoise.  My co-captain asks where I would like to visit and I scan the nearby islands until my eyes set upon a sand bar in the literally middle of nowhere.  Sailing to bar takes only 15 minutes and has a feeling of complete isolation and peacefulness.  With a full day ahead we head back to island for some lunch.

Lunch was served not at any set time but when you want to eat. That seems to be the way of life here at Tadrai. Everything revolves around you, which was a feeling I was easily getting used to.  A satisfied appetite meant I was fuelled for my next activity.  One of the staff members take my flipper and snorkel sizes and off we head back to the boat.

Travelling out to a reef about two kilometres from the resort, I am still mesmerised by the colour of the water and what lies beneath.  It is like looking into a pristine kept aquarium.  Dropping anchor, the second crew member stayed in the boat as we drop of the edge to discover the world below.  With the abundance of wildlife around the local crew member soon gets to work with the traditional spear and within minutes he has caught enough food for the local village.  I could have stayed out there for hours, however the tides were changing and it was time to return back.

photo-3 KarryOn

On the boat ride back, I am told there is a village on the island, and just a short walk to visit.  Not wanting to miss an opportunity to mingle with the local Fijian’s, it was time to go see the local community.  Walking along the manicured pathway and over the hill I entered the village.  Being a Saturday, it was full of kids running, playing and just being kids. With the familiar sound of Bula welcomes mixed with laughter, the kids showed me amongst the typical local accommodations.  It seemed to be a fitting end to what was an amazing day.

Whilst walking back to Tadrai Island Resort, I came to the crest of the hill just in time to see the setting sun lay its weary rays a top the shimmering water.  It was the perfect time to wander back and see what wonderment the Tadrai chef will prepared for the night’s dinner.

Greeted by the familiar sounds of the Fijian voices singing to the strumming of the acoustic guitar cocktails are offered before the thought had even entered my head.  Island dream being a fitting name to today’s experience, it was prepared and put in front of me once again losing myself to Tadrai.

Dinner was announced by a menu being placed in my hand.  Degustation, now that was something I was willing to sink my teeth into.  Dish after dish the food comes out prepared like true culinary artistry, and flavours that are out of this world.  I am exhausted with overwhelming bliss, so decide to retire to the bure.photo-2 KarryOn

On entering the air conditioned bure I noticed the staff have come in like ghosts of the night.  On a quick inspection I notice the bar fridge has been restocked, bed turned down a thorough clean of the bure. Entering the bathroom I could not help but notice the bath has been drawn, petals added and Fijian Pure bath milk had been mixed in, filling the room with a sweet coconut scent oh so familiar to Fiji.

I lied there fresh and relaxed, in total awe of the day.  As I shuffled to very front of my memory in the knowing it will be a day I will recall over and over again only to refresh my body and my soul of my Tadrai experience.

Bathe with Bali’s Elephants

At some point on your travels to South East Asia you are bound to ride an elephant.

It is a strange experience being perched so high on these slow moving and sometimes temperamental animals.  However at Bali’s Elephant Safari Park & Lodge they take the elephant experience a step further, allowing you to jump in the water with the elephants for a spot of bath time.

Yes, you can actually bathe with them.  An experience the elephants seem to enjoy just as much as their bath-time buddies.  It is at first a little daunting, sitting bare back on the elephants as they slowly saunter into the cool waters.  However any nervous feelings soon leave as the playful elephants begin splashing about, showering you with bursts of water from their trunks.  It is a very playful and unique experience that goes beyond the simple elephant joy ride.

The Elephant Safari Park is located just 20 minutes north of Ubud and 75minutes north of Ngurah Rai Airport in the historic village of Taro. Covering 3.5 hectares, the Park offers a world exclusive experience to interact, feed, ride, observe, learn, play and stay with 30 beautiful Sumatran elephants.  These are one of the rarest and endangered species of elephants left in the world today.  The Elephant Arena displays three daily Elephant Talent shows and there is time to interact with the elephants at the feeding and petting area.  Guests can visit the park for the day and experience the elephants, including day visitors off a number of cruise boats that stop in Bali.

For a more extended experience, the Elephant Safari Park has its very own lodge.  Elephant Safari Park Lodge is a luxury private purpose built 25 room safari-style lodge which offers all the features of a luxury boutique resort.  Guests can experience waking to the sight and sound of a herd of elephants meandering to the lake for their morning bathing ritual.  Purpose built landings at the rooms’ front door allow guests to be collected by their own private Elephant Chauffeur, before going on an elephant back trek through Taro forest.

There is a restaurant that overlooks the elephant bathing pool so your launch can come with a show.  The Safari Wellness Spa and adjacent Fitness Room have incredible vistas of the elephants at rest and play in their lush habitat.  Whatever you do during your stay at the Elephant Safari Park Lodge will include some sort of interaction or visuals with the elephants.

The Elephant Safari Park has launched some new day visitor programs so you too can experience this unique activity.

Diving Vanuatu’s SS Coolidge wreck

If you visit the Island of Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu and you scuba dive, then you must visit Allan Power Dive Tours.

Located in the main town, Luganville, the staff at this dive shop can take you out into the warm tropical waters and world class diving sites around Santo, including one of the best wreck dives in the world – SS Coolidge.

The shore dive to the world-class SS President Coolidge wreck is on the tranquil Segond Channel. Allan Power and his dedicated team of 7 full time dive guides have been guiding divers in and around this majestic wreck for over 35 years and they are well known as being the caretakers of The Coolidge.

With over 20 different dives on the Coolidge there is something for every level diver, with depths ranging from 20m to 60m. While the Coolidge is an amazing wreck dive, it also has formed a huge artificial reef boasting a wide variety of marine life for divers looking for more diverse marine species.  Today SS Coolidge is living proof of the success of an artificial reef in attracting marine life to an area, earning its title as the best reef dive in Vanuatu.

Hearing this I was keen to get in the water and see it for myself, while being slightly apprehensive as it was my first wreck dive.  Launching from the shore I was surprised firstly by how quickly the ocean floor fell away into the dark depths.  The next surprise was how quickly the bow of the ship was upon me as we were still so close to the shore.

The wreck lies in 20 – 70 meters (66 – 231 feet) of calm waters.  As I hovered over the bow and began exploring this magnificent wreck my mind wandered to how she would have looked in all her glory, before being sunk by an American mine.  The remnants of this now peacefully resting World War II troop ship whispered an eerie and somewhat chilling tale.  Massive cannons and guns protruded off the deck now dormant and engulfed by corals and marine life.  Fish of all varieties clung to the safety of the wreck as if caressing her walls.

It felt as soon as I was in the water, it was all over, and I longed for more time exploring the underwater beauty of this wreck.  Although my time was limited I would suggest a stay in Santo long enough to do a number of dives, as one just is not enough.

Diving SS Coolidge – Facts And Figures
– Built Oct 1931
– Sank Oct 1942
– Overall length 198.2 meters/654 feet
– Gross tons 21,936
– Speed 20.5 knots
– Radius (miles) 14,400 miles
– Construction cost US$8,017,690
– Passenger liner capacity • 305 First class • 133 Tourist class • 402 Steerage
– In combat config. – over 5000 troop on board

Allan Powers Dive Tours

The premises are located in the middle of Luganville, opposite Hotel Santo.

PO Box 233, Santo, Vanuatu Phone (678) 36822 or 7744077 (Santo mobile)

Website www.allan-power-santo.com

 

Capturing a Zulu Legacy

It is true when they say South Africa has something for everyone. Possibly the most interesting itinerary I have ever embarked on in the rainbow nation was that of the Zulu Legacy. While the country is rich in culture and history, I was intrigued to travel deep into Zululand and learn of bloodthirsty yet courageous battle’s that the native Zulu’s endured across a number of wars.

The Zulu Legacy – Kings, Warriors & Wildlife tour offers the perfect itinerary to step back in time and re-live the brutality, strength and rise and fall of the Zulu empire and its opponents. From Johannesburg out to the battlefields, through Hluhluwe, Imfolozi Park, St Lucia and ending in Durban, the itinerary takes you in the footsteps of the famous King Shaka to gain a deeper insight into Zulu culture, while still enjoying the majestic “Big 5” on Shaka’s original royal hunting grounds.

Zulu monument on the battlefieldFirst stop was Spioenkop, where a well-informed guide transported me back to January 1900 and the tragic battle between the Boer and Brits. Acting out the events and visiting the sites where it all took place sent an eerie shiver down my spine.  To further soak up the atmosphere, we stayed the night at Rorke’s Drift Hotel, situated on the Buffalo River at Rorke’s Drift and overlooking the historic crossing that gives the area its name.

The following days took in a visit around the eerie landscape of Isandlwana where 20,000 mighty Zulu warriors took on the firepower of the British troops. The area is scattered with grave sites from the fallen, a constant reminder of the past.  It is here that I found a greater appreciation for history, and how it has molded the present day.

Probably my favourite part of the itinerary was eMakhosini – Valley of the Zulu Kings. A visit to the Umgungundlovu Interpretive Centre and the Kwazulu Cultural Museum at Ondini explained more in depth the Zulu culture, battle tactics and the legends of Zulu Kings. Following on from here, I journeyed further through Kwazulu-Natal’s to the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve, with an overnight stay at Emdoneni Lodge.

After a day of game driving through Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Park, I was further in awe of probably one of the best experiences you can have in South Africa. The Emdoneni Lodge Wild Cat Experience allows the opportunity to interact with some of Africa’s wild cats at the rehabilitation program.

The last day of this unique itinerary took me through St Lucia Estuary before heading on to Durban. An early morning departure by boat from the St Lucia Estuary took me cruising past wildlife in a different scenery.  Hippos gathered in pods, their beady eyes breaking the water’s surface as ears twitched. Crocodiles could be spotted sunning themselves on the river banks and the trees were full of exotic birdlife.  It was the perfect way to finish an adventure packed yet eye opening journey into the lives of Zulu warriors, courageous battles and legends that will long remain in my mind.

SOURCE: KarryOn – http://www.karryon.com.au/karryon-captures-a-zulu-legacy/

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Cheeky cheetah cuddles at Emdoneni Lodge

There is something quite exhilarating about sitting next to a cheetah – perhaps it’s the most obvious – the fear of being mauled alive and the anticipation of that happening with every flinch the spotted cat makes.So when I was told to lie down next to her and ‘cosy on up’ as if it was my husband, I must say my heart was beating out of my chest. As I ran my hand along her coarse patterned back, I could feel the vibrations of her purr. I may have been terrified, but she showed her enjoyment as she flexed her claws, retracting in and out of her massive paws.  This once in a lifetime opportunity to get up close and personal with some of Africa’s wild cats is an experience Emdoneni Lodge prides itself on being able to offer guests.

Central to Zululand’s main attractions in Hluhluwe, Emdoneni Lodge and Cheetah in SA on KarryOnGame Farm offers an intimate guest experience. The lodge’s chalets and rondavels are the perfect place to base yourself, with spectacular surroundings to enjoy while you unwind and relax after a day exploring the area. Less than two hours from Durban, Emdoneni Lodge offers a dinner, bed and breakfast basis, allowing guests to sample the delights of true South African hospitality and cuisine. A Boma and sundowner deck is the perfect place to enjoy a few evening drinks and discuss your day with fellow guests.

While the lodge itself is an experience of South African adventure, their Cat Rehabilitation Centre is the ‘cherry on top’. The interactive tour gives guests the opportunity to learn more about South Africa’s endangered wildcat species, while giving a hands-on engaging experience.My visit included the chance to get close to some serval cats, african wildcats and Caracals (Lynx) that had been brought to the Centre as orphans or due to injury in the wild. Remembering that these are still wild animals, there was a sense of caution stepping into each enclosure.  This was not helped as the experienced guide decided to throw a piece of the meat he had been feeding the caracal at my feet.  As the Caracal pounced on this part of his dinner, I could not help but think my toes would be next.  To the entertainment of everyone else, the caracal gave me the first of my up close and personal experience as promised.

The finale was yet to come however, as the group moved into the cheetah enclosure. Here the group took turns in spending time with two of the most beautiful cheetahs I had laid eyes on. Learning about how fast and agile these streamline animals are does not exactly assist with the nerves. The interaction was more hands on than I imagined and when the time came to leave I felt a sense of amazement.  There are many experiences you can enjoy in South Africa, but hands down this one was up there with the best of them.