Need to get out of your home, expand your horizons and do some travelling? Absolutely! What better time to do it, than right now. Go on, be spontaneous and live a little!
Pack your bags, throw the Weber in the back and hit the road to explore the beauty of SA in true braai road trip style.
Our tour guide is the one and only master of the flames and founder of braai365, Mat Hartley, who has fired up his braai all over the world and now shares some of his top tips and best local spots for the ultimate shisanyama adventure.
What is it about cooking with fire that ignites your soul?
Everything! I left South Africa when I was 21 to the supposedly greener shores of the UK. I traveled a lot, and lived in quite a few places but there was never, and I truly mean this, never a place as incredible as South Africa.
Once you go, the drawback is immense, and the fire is one thing that would always bring me back. The fire is the way people get together, and it’s something engrained in South African life.
Growing up, a braai was always the highlight of the week and I guess it’s the past and future memories that make it so special. Tanning some meat coupled with a few drinks with friends can never be beaten.
We all love gathering around our Weber for a proudly South African shisanyama … but you have taken this social, outdoor cooking experience to a whole new level.
Committing to having a braai 365 days a year, and to pull it off both North and South of the equator is quite an achievement!
What inspired this idea?
I’d love to say it was a huge revelation; however a few beers with friends got it going. We all said it would be impossible to braai every day for a year in the UK, and I said it wouldn’t be.
The next day I bought the domain, and then my wife eventually got sick and tired of me talking about it and braai365 kicked off. It was the best conversation in a pub that I’ve ever had!
How did your daily flame-grilled supper turn into a fundraising mission to help the ever-dwindling rhino population?
I knew it would get to a point where lighting up mid-winter in the UK would start getting a bit challenging, along with work and going out. At some point I may have thought about giving up, so doing it for a cause was important.
The rhino population was, and of course still is, dwindling at a huge rate and saving the species is very important. The braai has always inspired people to get together, so organising a few parties in aid of the Rhino was just the next step.
Share some of your braai master magic with us…what is your number one braai tip to ensure a delicious meal?
It’s all about the fire. I always say the food is secondary. Make sure you braai on good quality wood, briquettes or charcoal. The second tip is that you must always have a safe zone, I see guys fanning out flames and burning their meat. Whatever braai you have, always leave an area under the grill that you can put your meat on when the fat drips. There’s no need to waste your beer on the fire!
Wood, charcoal or gas…how do you like to turn up the heat?
Whilst gas definitely has its place in the market, I still firmly believe a proper braai has to be on wood, briquettes or charcoal. You can’t beat the smell and atmosphere of a proper fire. Once the cooking is done, throw some more wood in and enjoy relaxing around the crackling flames.
With lockdown easing now and people desperate to get out and about, travelling locally will be on everyone’s minds.
Where are your top South African braai spots and why?
As an extremely proud South African (and an obvious lover of the braai) these have been my favorite South African braai areas so far. There will of course be plenty more and if yours has been left out, make sure you send it through to me (just to make sure I get there).
South Africa you beauty!
iMFOLOZI – KZN
This is number one on my list! To overlook this incredible view whilst firing up a braai is amazing! You’ll find a few braai spots around the park, where you can get out and light up. It’s also a place very close to my heart for wildlife reasons.
TIETIESBAAI – WESTERN CAPE
The next one up has to be Tiettiesbaai, where God literally invented wind and left it there! But watching the sun set over the ocean whilst watching the flames is truly magnificent!
OUDEKRAAL – CAPE TOWN
If you find yourself in Cape Town, then get across to Oudekraal for a braai! Enjoy awesome views of the back of Table Mountain and excellent braai spots. There is a small entrance fee but it’s worth it! Apparently it gets busy on the weekends, so get there early!
STORMS RIVER MOUTH
Epic spot to braai with plenty set up! It’s a quick walk up to the bridge and then back again, fire up a braai with the waves crashing in front of you. There is a huge grass spot for you to throw out a picnic blanket or use the tables.
VIC BAY CAMPSITE
We stayed here for 5 nights on our trip after ‘stumbling’ across it and what an incredible little spot! Grab a beer, light the fire and soak in the view overlooking the bay.
KRUGER NATIONAL PARK
Like iMfolozi above, there are quite a few braai areas around the park. After a morning of game driving – and hopefully seeing a few of our epic big five – pull out the charcoal or wood and get fired up.
Make sure to pack:
Stock up on these essential items from our shop to make sure you braai like a boss!