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.

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 –

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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.