The South African Cuisine 

A lot of people have been asking me about the South African cuisine. 

With so many different cultures in the country it’s very difficult to tell what is the authentic food and what is not, so I just decided to pick a few examples.

Enjoy!
1. Braai – the absolute South African number one!

It’s the South African barbecue. The meat is done medium-rare, maximum medium.

2. Pear & white chocolate cream 

3. Mixed Berry Pancakes 

4. Mushroom cream wrapped in cabbage 


5. Oysters – especially around Cape Town. 


6. Freshly squeezed juice.

Together with the 9 months of summer, the unlimited amounts of fresh fruit are one of the best reasons to live here 😀

BAJA CALIFORNIA – MEXICO

The horizon just was out of place.

Although it seemed perfectly calm in the distance, for the whole week I had the feeling that the water was a giant wave waiting to collapse over the land.

On the other side were the mountains – very green despite the desert climate.

It was the rainy season and yet until the end of our trip the weather stayed hot and dry. A hurricane was approaching as we were leaving Baja California, but thankfully we escaped the storm on time.



When the tropical storms or hurricanes arrive, the rainwater gathers in the otherwise dry and empty river beds that descend from the mountains. But most of the time you won’t even see a drop of water.

As everywhere in Mexico, the distances are long and the best plan is to rent a car from the airport. Mr. Jonas surprised me with a Fiat 500, a very romantic choice.
The first destination was Todos Santos (yes, All Saints)


The real Mexico is far from the typical Hollywood cliches.

However, Todos Santos does match them to some extent: the desert, lots of cacti, happy and noisy local guys, gringos…

 Most bars and restaurants close around 9 and the nights are usually very quiet.

It’s perfect for stargazing because the town is small and there’s no light pollution. The Tropic of Cancer is very close to Todos Santos. Google Sky Maps is an interesting app that shows you the constellations around.

The town was founded in the 18th century by missionaries. Most of the buildings are quite old, many of them have been converted into hotels, but still maintain the traditional style of the past – huge gardens with tropical flowers and palm trees, fountains, exotic birds …


Todos Santos is a few miles away from the beach, so we hopped in our cute Fiat.

There’s so few people living in Baja California and almost no tourists (especially if you compare it to the rest of the Mexican beach resorts), and on the other hand there are so many beaches around. 


You won’t see any ugly hotels or restaurants, and especially if you enjoy big waves or surfing – this is the perfect place for you 🙂

SO YOU WANT TO LIVE IN SOUTH AFRICA?


It’s been more that a year since I moved to live in South Africa. I remember the first time I saw the land from the plane – perfect squares of neat green fields and red soil. I’ll never forget this moment. 

All people need some time to adjust to a new country. For me this period lasted for about 5 minutes. I came to my home country for a week and even though I enjoy seeing my family and friends, the truth is, I can’t wait to go back to South Africa.
This doesn’t mean that I have no problems living there. 
Living in South Africa as a foreigner is almost mission impossible: you’re not able to get anything without a SA ID number, there’s no information on the Internet, in fact usually there’s no Internet, no public transport, you can’t even buy a SIM card…if you’re lucky you might have electricity. 

It’s a very developed country but also a very restrictive one. I know it sounds weird.


But at the same time – the people are great and the food is delicious, the arts scene is very good and so are the jazz clubs, it’s a very young nation, the weather is probably the best in the world, and of course – the national parks are amazing (and the whole country feels like one huge park). 
Life in South Africa may not be for everyone, but for me it’s still a dream come true. ❤️

THE PENGUIN KINGDOM – SIMON’S TOWN

A cute penguin couple arrived on this beach in 1982. They liked the scenic Simon’s Town and well, decided to start multiplying. Today there’s thousands of them and what’s more amazing, the beach is open to public, you can go and swim around them. 

Like most places around Cape Town, water is not very warm but the temperature gets quite nice during the high season if you stay in the shallow parts.


It took me a few days to realize I actually saw penguins right next to me and it wasn’t in a zoo. I always thought they lived on Antarctica and nowhere else. These guys are smaller than the Emperor penguins. They’re quite friendly and would pose for a picture with you.

There are many other activities around Simon’s Town like surfing or, you know, diving with sharks, but this is number one for me. After all, there aren’t that many places in the world where you can make friends with a whole penguin colony!


The 10 things you need for a great safari experience

A question I’m always asked is “What do I need to wear/bring on a safari?”So here is a short list of the most essential things for a game drive (according to me).


1. A wind proof jacket 

If you’ve never been on a safari before, you probably don’t assume you’d need one. Still, most game drives start around 4.30-5am and most likely you’re going in an open vehicle, which means the wind would be quite strong and cold. The temperature will start going up after sunrise, so layering is the best option.

2. Sunscreen 

Once the sun has risen, you would need to use sunblock. A typical safari would last for a few hours after sunrise, so make sure you don’t get sunburned.

3. A hat/ cap

I’m a fan of the Indiana Jones type of hats as they are also very good for the walking safaris, as they can protect you from the thorny bushes/trees. But even for a game drive you would need one, as you’re going to stop on the way for breakfast/lunch and also because there’s not always shade in the open vehicles on the game drives. A baseball cap is fine too.

4. Binoculars 

Many of the animals would be in the distance, especially the shy ones like leopard, cheetah and serval. It’s always useful to have binoculars with you and it would definitely help to find more animals.
A photography tip: if you’re taking pictures with your phone camera, put the binoculars in front of the lens and it would help you zoom in and take a close-up picture of an animal in the distance 🙂 

Here’s an example from Mr. Jonas

5. Water/ coffee/ tea
Preferably in a thermos.
6. Khaki is the best color for your safari outfit, but it’s not the only option.
Okay, here’s picture of me and our ranger-tracker-driver-genius Jonas. You could wear whatever you feel like, but I guess  it’s more fun to dress in safari style 🙂

This really depends on the area though. In countries where the tsetse fly is a problem, definitely stick to the classic khaki/ beige colors. 

Wearing white is not a good idea as it’s too bright and it might scare the animals away. The same rule applies for any flashy and bright colors.

My advice would be to stick to the earth colors.

7. A good camera
If you’re planning to buy a camera for your safari adventure, make sure you choose one with a great zoom.

8. Repellent 
As they say, the deadliest animal in Africa is the mosquito.Again, that really depends on the country – for example there’s almost no malaria in South Africa, except in Kruger Park.

9. A nice backpack
The best way to keep you wallet, binoculars, phones, cameras, sunscreen etc. in one place, otherwise you might forget something in the car.
10. A map or a book of the area.
They’re very useful. Many of them will tell you what is the likelihood of finding lions or elephants (or whatever other animal you want to see) in a certain area. You definitely need one of the if you’re planning a self-drive

Safari in Style 

When you go on safari, you can choose between staying at a basic place and focusing on the game drives or finding a lodge or a guesthouse that would enhance the experience.
We chose the second option. This doesn’t necessarily mean overspending, although the more designer lodges tend to be quite expensive. The biggest difference in the price of accommodation comes from the place – the ones inside the Kruger Park are generally much more expensive than the ones in the Greater Kruger.


So for that reason we decided to stay outside of the park and it was still absolutely amazing! The owner of the lodge was a retired interior designer and obviously a great one.
One of the most amazing things was the proximity of the animals – they were coming to drink water from the waterhole (it was right in front of the lobby) – and we had giraffe, zebra and antelope visitors.

We could hear the animals calling each other, especially at night. The owners were able to recognize the animals by their sounds, so they were able to “translate” for us 🙂 They also shared plenty of incredible stories of close animal encounters.
Also, after more than a year of living in Pretoria, I finally learned what the real Africaans food tastes like! It was absolutely delicious!


And here is the braai (a very special African barbecue) area – one feels like a part of an African tribe.


KRUGER NATIONAL PARK- WHERE HUMANS ARE JUST VISITORS 

It was indescribable.
So this is what the Earth looked like 20 000 years ago?

Hot subtropical weather, a 100% humidity and lush vegetation – I could totally live there! (at least until a giant spider decides to take a nap on my face).
The moment you open the door, there would be at least one animal waiting in front of your cottage. Hopefully a giraffe or a zebra or an impala. 
During our first day in Kruger we decided to go out for a walk and right in front of the cottage, there was a friendly giraffe having a nice snack.
One night a group of zebras came to the guesthouse to say hi – there was a waterhole right next to the lobby. The zebras had some water and posed for a while.
There was a warning sign at the entrance – apparently leopards also like to rest on their trees from time to time but that’s pretty rare.
A lot of people ask me if it’s dangerous to go on a safari – I would say it’s not, the most likely bad thing that could happen to you is getting a heat stroke if you don’t take care of yourself.
So if you really love nature and animals, Kruger Park is your place.


It’s the home of about 12,000 rhinoceros, 2000 leopards, 12,000 elephants, 3000 lions and 27,000 African buffalos – and these are just statistics for the Big 5. 
There are organized game drives, walking safaris and self-drives. The gravel roads are pretty good, so you’ll be fine even if you’re not driving a 4×4. Obviously you would see the most animals on an organized game drive but Mr. Jonas (our amateur ranger) did extremely well with a map and a pair of binoculars.
Other activities include close animal encounters, riding elephants or flying around the park on an ultra light plane.