Braai - the South African version of barbecue ... the art of grilling never ceases to amaze me, particularly the facts that so many countries around the World are obsessed with it, and that so many countries do it so well. Perhaps it's because that charcoal or wood are the preferred mediums here, so grilled meats are incredibly juicy and delicious, and absolutely popping with a grilled flavour that simply can't be achieved using natural gas. Sorry to Barbie, the beloved grill of my dreams that dutifully sits on my balcony, waiting for my return, but as much as I love you, next to the braai, you are nothing!
Sure, Barbie is young and flashy, the perfect piece of stainless steel arm candy, but she lacks the depth of the braai, the years of experience. Oh, the braai ... the majority of the grilled meats we've consumed here have been nothing short of spectacular, a combination of South African experience and technique, and high-quality meats of all sorts. So delectable, so good, so juicy, so tender, so sexy ... perhaps it's due to the malarone, but I've been having bizarre, yet fantastical dreams about the braai. Unfortunately, I can't share them here, as the dreams have been erotic and at times, overtly sexual in nature, and I don't wish to violate Travelpod's public decency policies ...
I couldn't imagine traveling all the way to South Africa without doing a braai ourselves, which was our ultimate goal for today. Not only were we grilling our own meat for dinner tonight, but we were doing so in one of the most stunning locations on this part of the South African coast, in Tsitsikamma, part of the Garden Route National Park. We had booked an oceanette for the evening, and though a handful of them had braais overlooking the ocean, ours was unfortunately on the back side of the building, and we were unable to view the sunset while working the braai.
But the beauty of the braai is that it can be a slower method of cooking, meaning I was able to frequently leave the meat unattended, sashaying across our studio and to the massive patio, for a sip of wine and a few glorious moments admiring the South African sunset. South Africans love their sundowners, evening drinks while watching the sunset, and tonight was the quintessential local experience.
In preparation for our braai feast, we hiked Tsitsikamma's waterfall route, a very short portion of the renowned Otter trail - but luckily for us, the waterfall route is only 3.5 hours round trip, and not a 5-day one way route like the Otter trail. It was a hot day, far from ideal conditions for a challenging hike involving a fair amount of bouldering, but the promise of a swim in a refreshing waterfall kept us going, even as our supply of water rapidly dwindled.
However ... our arrival at the water fall was anticlimactic, as the waterfall wasn't as spectacular as advertised, barely a trickle of brown liquid oozing down a rock face. Yup, you read right - brown water ... and though others were happy to frolic in the filth below, the idea of soaking in a foamy pool wasn't our idea of fun, though I must admit that we were still quite tempted to, with today's higher-than-expected temperature.
Perhaps we would've been better off doing the much shorter and easier 45-minute hike to the suspension bridge, as that end point looked to be far prettier, at least, according to the postcards in the gift shop. Still, the waterfall hike featured some pretty stunning scenery along the way, so I should stop whining about being "stranded" in paradise. Instead I will whine about how it's such a tough life for a tourist here in South Africa, feasting on boerewors, lamb chops, and roasted potatoes, while sipping on a few excellent glasses of South Africa's signature wine, pinotage ... oh, the horror of life here ...