Wednesday, 29 March 2017

SOUTH AFRICAN FOOD TO TICKLE YOUR TASTEBUDS PART 2

South Africa does not only have some of the best meaty dishes to offer, like we discussed yesterday, but we also offer something out of the extraordinary for the sweet tooth.  Below we have compiled some of the most talked about South African desserts that will make your mouth water just by reading!

 

Koeksister

 

A koeksister is one of the most favorite desserts in South Africa, or even just served as a sweet treat with coffee or tea.  Koeksisters is a plaited dough strip that is then fried in boiling oil and then that hot fried dought gets subsersed into an ice cold sugar syrup.  A koeksister is very sticky with a sweet taste like honey with a golden crunchy crust and a liquid syrup centre. 

 

Melktert

 

Directly translated from Afrikaan, Melktert means “milk tart” that is a truly South African dessert that has a sweet pastry crust with a creamy filling that is made from milk, flour, sugar and eggs to form a custard filling that is topped off with some cinnamon.

 

Malva pudding

A malva pudding originated with the Cape Dutch settlers and is a sweet baked spongy cake-type pudding that contains apricot jam, sugar, eggs, flour and butter with a delicious caramel-like sauce that is poured over the pudding while it is still hot and is then served with either custard and/or ice-cream.  There is quite a few variants nowadays that can either have brandy or even dates in the pudding.

 

Peppermint crisp fridge tart

 

A peppermint crisp tart is a fridge tart and also one of the desserts that’s the easiest to make and you don’t need a lot of ingredients to make it.  It is very creamy and rich and is a sure treat for every sweet tooth.  It has a crust that is made of biscuits (usually tennis biscuits) that is blended with melted butter with the filling of whipped cream, caramel treat and grated peppermint crisp chocolate.  You can also layer the biscuits with the cream and caramel just as you prefer.

 

Marshmallows on a stick with a chocolate sauce

 

One of the best treats, especially for children, will be marshmallows that we put on a stick and then braai it over the coles after the braai and then dip it in a chocolate sauce.  This is one of the most like desserts for children and very easy to prepare.

http://www.expatica.com/za/about/Top-10-foods-in-South-Africa-and-recipes_504435.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melktert

http://buzzsouthafrica.com/south-african-food/

 

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

TOP SOUTH AFRICAN FOOD TO TICKLE YOUR TASTEBUDS PART 1

Being a country known as the Rainbow Nation, South Africa offers a wide variety of food choices through all different cultures and you are sure to be in for a treat when you visit our diverse country.

 

We have compiled some of the options that you just have to try while visiting our beautiful country.

 

Boerewors

 

True to the Afrikaans culture, Boerewors is a highly favorite sausage that is filled with either beef, venison, pork or sometimes a mix of all of these, blended with a variety of spices which mostly also includes thyme, fennel, coriander, cloves, mint, garlic, ginger and even red wine. Boerewors is almost present at every South African braai, but can even be prepared in the oven or on the stove top.  Boerewors are quite tasty and a favorite for the majority of the population in South Africa

 

Bobotie

 

As the official national dish of South Africa, Bobotie is a favorite amongst all. It is a mild cape-malay curry dish of minced beef with almonds, sultanas and topped with egg custard. Bobotie is mostly served with yellow rice and then topped with fruit chutney and sometimes even banana and a little coconut.

 

Bunny chow

 

With it origin in Durban, a Bunny chow is another popular South African food. It basically entails a hollowed out half-loaf filled with delicacies. Some of the delicacies that are used in bunny chow include curry lamb, chicken or beef but in some instances, it can be vegetarian in nature.

 

Waterblommetjiebredie

 

Waterblomettjie is a vegetable stew made from some edible form of water lilies. This stew is regarded as the best company for pap and is usually spiced to enhance its flavor. Waterblommetjie is very popular in South Africa and as such, can be considered as one of the staple foods of South Africa.

 

Mashonzha

 

Mashonzha is a traditional Zulu dish and is a must if you are one of those people with a bucket list. Mashonzha is mopane worms that are usually griled or fried and then spiced with either peanut or chili sauce to enhance the flavor. Mopane worms looks like caterpillars and is not poisonous and therefore edible.

 

Pap

 

Very similar to American grits, Pap is made from ground corn that is then mixed with water and cooked.  There is quite a big variety of Pap and it all depends on what you prefer.  The more water the less dense the pap and is then known as slap pap. When you add less water to get a denser pap it’s called stywe pap or you can make it crumbly with even less water than stywe pap and it then called krummel pap. Pap can be eaten as breakfast, or can be part of a braai. Amongst most people, pap with boerewors and then a spicy tomato sauce is a real favorite.

 

http://www.expatica.com/za/about/Top-10-foods-in-South-Africa-and-recipes_504435.html

: http://buzzsouthafrica.com/south-african-food/







 

Thursday, 23 March 2017

NORTHERN CAPE ECO-TOURISM DESTINATIONS

As the largest of the nine provinces in South Africa, the Northern Cape Province offers a wide variety of different eco-tourism destinations, from semi-desert beauty, to big waterfalls, wild flowers and rugged plains.

Following is some information of great areas to visit in the Northern Cape Province, with Thuru Lodge as the perfect stop-over spot to relax and unwind before you hit the road for your great adventure.

1.    The Kgalagadi Tranfrontier Park

The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is one of the largest wilderness areas in the world and covers more than 3.6 million hectares after merging with Botswana in 2000. The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is the perfect destination for photographic safaris where a variety of big game, like the beautiful black-maned Kalahari lion and even leopards can be seen. They also have a wide variety of plains game and a lot of different bird species. With accommodation that will suite every pocket size, from campsites to comfortable chalets, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is the perfect destination for nature enthusiast. Just note that is advised to make use of four-wheel vehicles.

Visit their official site for more information http://www.sanparks.org/parks/kgalagadi/

 

2.    Goegap Nature Reserve

During springtime, the Namaqualand transforms from a semi-desert area to a spectacular colourful carpets of wildflowers. The Goegap Nature Reserve then offers four wheel vehicle enthusiasts fun routes in a 15 000 hectare reserve. Even when the wildflowers are not in bloom throughout the rest of the year with still a great destination to visit with a wide range of fauna and flora that can be seen. Within the camp there is a range of campsites and basic accommodation available.

For more information, go take a look at this site http://www.sa-venues.com/game-reserves/nc_goegap.htm

 

3.    Augrabies Falls National Park

As one of South Africa’s natural wonders, the Augrabies Falls, also known as “the place of great noise”, is the sixth largest waterfall in the world. The park that was established in 1967 offers visitors several hiking trails, with a couple of spectacular view points of the falls, especially during the summer months after good rainfall. Campsites and self-catering chalets is available.

To see more that Augrabies Falls National Park has to offer, view this site http://www.sanparks.org/parks/augrabies/

 

4.    Tankwa Karoo National Park

Known as the land of haunting beauty on the border of the Northern Cape and the Western Cape lies the remote and rugged Tankwa Karoo National Park. As one of the country’s most arid regions, one can expect beautiful starry nights and start desert plains. With a variety of wildlife and birdlife, four wheel drive nature enthusiasts will once again love to escape the busy lives and relax in the nature with a variety of accommodation that is available.

Visit their official site at http://www.sanparks.org/parks/tankwa/

 

http://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions-/northern-cape-saf-nc-nc.htm

 

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

The seasons of Thuru Lodge

As the seasons of your life changes, so does your needs, your acquired taste and what you view as important to you in your life. At Thuru Lodge, we also have seasons, both literally in the field with the changing seasons, but also in the way our hospitality changes with big cosy fires in the winters to cooling cocktails around the pool in the summer months.

 

Depending on what your specific acquired taste is, all year round is a good time to visit us here at Thuru Lodge.  With our extreme heat during the summer months, to the cold winters that does not reach below zero more than three times in the season, it is all about your preferred taste. We are especially the best destination if you are looking to escape the extreme cold winters in the Northern Hemisphere and just to soak up the African sun.

 

Our summer months might reach an excruciating heat of up to forty degrees Celsius, but the summer months are also our raining season.  Nothing says summer at Thuru Lodge as well as thunderstorms followed by good rain. It’s very rewarding to drive in the field after the good rains, especially like we had this past couple of months, and to experience all the liveliness that surround you.  From the green Bushmen grasses that looks like they are dancing in the wind, to all of the baby animals that are born, you never seem to be amazed by all the miracles that this liveliness can bring.  For the early birds, it’s the best time to go on a game drive early in the mornings, as you will see the most animals, because they will lie down and relax in the shade during the heat of the day.

 

Our winter months are quite chilly early in the mornings and as soon as the sun sets, but this is when good memories are made in the evenings around the campfire with stories from back in the day, to laughing like there’s no tomorrow with jokes that goes around. During the winter months, it’s not necessary to get up that early as the sun rises later and the animals also only gets more active as the day warms up.

 

If you are more into having your bread buttered on both sides, autumn and spring will be your best choice.  As temperatures are very moderate, with the sun not too hot but the evenings not too cold, you can be sure to be comfortable all day long.  A mid-morning game drive or a late afternoon drive will be in the order of the day and at camp it might be warm enough for a relaxing time in the pool or Jacuzzi but the evenings also allows for a nice big campfire at night.

 

The flora at the lodge also changes with the seasons, and you can be sure that you will always have something interesting and magical to see.

 

So whether you are an early bird, a night owl, an extreme nature enthusiast or if you would just like to come and relax in our Serenity Spa, Thuru Lodge will be waiting, during all seasons of the year, to cater to your season and make you feel at home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

WHY CHOOSE THURU LODGE AS A PHOTOGRAPHIC DESTINATION

Choosing the perfect photographic destination is very important.  Although there are a lot of companies that offer a variety of services, we encourange you to consider ours.  Thuru Lodge offers to both beginners and experts a wide range of different platforms where you can enhance your skillset or push themselves yourself further to get the perfect shot.  The perfect photographic destination is not only about your surroundings, but the opportunities provided by the company so you can get the perfect shot.

 

The Destination and Vegetation

Thuru Lodge is situated in the Kalahari Desert.  The Kalahari Desert is an unspoilt expanse of wilderness and the ideal backdrop for stunning wildlife pictures. The landscape offers a variety of fieldtypes that has a lot to offer, especially for photographers.  There is the red Kalahari Sand dunes, that by itself, gives you excellent photographic opportunities.  The red Kalahari sand dunes especially makes very special sunset photos.  We also have karoo vegetation, which allows you to take panoramic photographs of wide and open spaces.  Then there is the range of mountains with incredible rock formations and the prettiest wild flowers that grows inbetween these rocks. The flora on these different fieldtypes also offers the photographer a range of opportunities to get the perfect shot.  Different trees, from big camelthorn trees, to the incredible Shephards tree, also makes for good photographic opportunities.   Futher vegetation includes a range of succulent plants in the mountains and different thorny bushes on the open plains.

 

Wildlife

If you cover these different landscapes with a wide range of wild animals and different types of plant life and you have the perfect picture.  With a total of 28 different species on Thuru Lodge, it’s a paradise for any photographer.  We have the four different color Springbucks, Kudu, Eland, Redhartebeest, Impala, Buffalo and Giraffe, just to name but a few.  A big variety of small and big game and birdlife can be found.

 

Most importantly, we cater to your needs.  We understand that you need a company that understand your photographic needs and has a lot of patience.  So when you are looking for your next breakaway to be in nature and to take great photo’s it is not necessary to look further.  Thuru Lodge will be waiting for you!

 

Monday, 27 February 2017

Visit the Northern Cape Province of South Africa

As South Africa’s largest province with the smallest population, the Northern Cape is a must-see destination, with vast open spaces and unique vegetation. From the ocean, the desert, the bush or towns rich with culture and history, the Northern Cape offers its visitors a variety of sights and activities to explore.

The area of Namaqualand, is transformed into a carpet of wild flowers during August and September after good winter rains and attracts botanists, photographers and other tourists from around the world to this magnificent spectacle.

The Upper Karoo has wide open plains and star studded skies. For astronomy enthusiasts a trip to Sutherland is a must where you can look at the starts through the Southern African large Telescope.

If you head north, you will reach the provincial capital called Kimberley, which grew out of a diamond rush by the discovery of the Eureka diamond close to the Orange River in 1866. In Kimberley you can visit the Big Hole for a guided tour and see the famous hotel that was built by hand during the diamond rush.

Further north you will reach an area known as the Green Kalahari along the banks of the mighty Orange River, lined with lush green vineyards and the edge of the desert, around the town of Upington. Some of the most popular tourist activities is padding trips down the river, river rafting, visiting game farms or a trip to the Orange River Wine Cellars. Also on the Orange River is the Augrabies falls, which is the largest waterfall in South Africa and is best viewed at the end of summer after good rains.

One of the major attractions of the Northern Cape is the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, which is one of the largest conservation areas in Southern Africa and one of the largest protected natural ecosystems in the world. They boast a population of lions, leopard and cheetah along with some other plains game. The park is characterised by rolling red dunes and grassland with brilliant starry nights, clear skies and and extraordinary sunsets.

On the north-west corner of the Northern Cape, sharing a border with Namibia, you will find the Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, that offers an entirely different landscape of rocky mountains with unique succulent vegetation. The semi-nomadic Nama people still have the rights to graze their sheep and goats here in this area. For 4x4 enthusiasts and nature lovers who wants to escape from the busy lives, the Richtersveld is a very popular destination.

http://www.southafrica.net/za/en/articles/entry/article-southafrica.net-northern-cape1

 

Sunday, 26 February 2017

An Authentic !Naba experience at Thuru Lodge

The Green Kalahari region of South Africa is situated in the Northern Cape Province and exhibits the Kalahari Desert Truffles that are endemic to this region. The Kalahari Desert Truffle, also known as !Nabas, are found underground and appears erratically between April and May after good, late summer rains. They are closely related to desert truffles that is found in other parts of the world, like the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, Iraq and Australia.

The !Naba is an edible fungi and forms a symbiotic relationship with roots of trees, grasses and even fruits, depending on its geographical location. The symbiotic relationship between the plant’s roots and the !Naba (fungus) is called mycorrhization. As !Nabas grows naturally they rely on wind dispersal to scatter spores near suitable hosts where they can then germinate and grow. During years of severe drought, the spores remain preserved until ideal conditions occur.

The Khoikhoi mythology refer to !Nabas as the eggs of the “lightning bird”, as they appear after a thunderstorm, or good seasonal rains.

Although !Nabas are plentiful in season they form underground and grows far apart and is not easy to find. If you don’t know how to find them you will have a struggle because they only make a small crack in the sand and then you have to dig a few centimetres in the sand to find them.

Here at Thuru Lodge we are also privileged to say that we have !Nabas on our property, especially after good rains (as we had plentiful of this year!). They are found in the dune slopes between the Bushmen grass and where tsamma melons grows. One of our trackers, Paultjie, is a genius when it comes to finding these !Nabas as they only make little ruptures in the soil and you have to know where and how to look for them.

Our chef Bet loves to prepare this delicacy for our guests when they are in season. The !Naba (which looks like a small potato) is first washed to get rid of all the find sand and then peeled. Then she cuts them up and sauté them in a mixture of cream and red wine, and then sprinkle them with coarse salt and black pepper. This is a real treat and a true Authentic experience here at Thuru Lodge, as there is not a lot of places you can travel to and eat this delicacy.

So when you are a true foodie, searching for something special, unique and authentic, come to Thuru Lodge during April and May and experience this true Kalahari delicacy for yourself, together with our exceptional warm hospitality, game drives, dune dinners and sundowners on one of our Kalahari Dunes.

http://slowfood.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Kalahari-truffle-hunt.pdf

http://aubergine.co.za/newsletters/may2011/quail_truffle_ingredient_layout.pdf

 

Saturday, 11 February 2017

A self-drive holiday from Johannesburg to the Kgalagadi via Thuru Lodge

 

Driving from Johannesburg to Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is probably one of the best road trips to travel through South Africa. Travelling to the Kgalagadi it’s best to make sure that you have the right vehicle for the trip. A 4 x 4 vehicle will be best and make sure that it has enough ground clearance. You can either rent the vehicle in Johannesburg, or take a domestic flight to Kimberley and rent the vehicle there. With a distance of 459 km between Johannesburg and Kimberley you will be sure to start your trip in one of the most important cities of South Africa’s past, also known as “The city that sparkles”. We recommend that you spend the night at the Kimberley Anne Hotel and from there visit the extraordinary Kimberley Mine Museum at the Big Hole.

On your next day, take the N8 out of Kimberley towards Griekwastad. Drive straight through Griekwastad to Groblershoop, then take the N10 to your right and head towards Upington. 12km from your turn, you will find a village called Wegdraai, take a turn left there and drive on the gravel road for another 12km. On your left hand side, you will find the gates to Thuru Lodge. We recommend spending at least 2 nights here. Thuru Lodge is an idyllic oasis at the start of the Green Kalahari region. They offer game drives with sundowners, a spa, a restaurant, a swimming pool and an outside Jacuzzi. It is the perfect pitstop and one where you can even explore the stars of the southern hemisphere while having dinner in the dunes.

The distance between Thuru Lodge and the gates of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is about 361 km, so try not to start your day too late. Follow the N10 to Upington, which is about 118 km from Thuru Lodge. In Upington, remember to fuel up your vehicle. Orange River Wine Cellars is also a stop not to miss, with a brand new tasting room for you to taste and then choose the wines you like. Then hit the 260 km road toward the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park at the Tweerivieren Gate.

For an unspoiled experience of the vast arid Kgalagadi Park, we recommend staying at !Xaus Lodge. Allow yourself one-and-a-half hour to drive from the Tweerivieren gate to the Kamqua picnic site, where a representative of !Xaus Lodge will meet you. Then you will drive a further 30km single-track soft road through the dunes for another one to one-and-a-half hours.

It is recommended that tyre pressure be reduced to 1.6 bar for travelling on the gravel roads within the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and to 1.4 bar when self-driving through the dunes to !Xaus Lodge.

 

 

Saturday, 4 February 2017

A Travellers Guide to South African Customs

Entering a country and you know you have to pass through customs control, where they can question you and search through you baggage for dutiable, restricted or prohibited goods, can be a stressful situation.  This article will help you to know the laws of South African customs to make your arrival and/or departure from South Africa easier and to guide you to move goods in and out of the country.

The following goods can be brought into South Africa wihtout paying customs duty or value added tax (VAT) and people under the age of 18 can claim this duty-free allowance on consumable goods, excepts alcohol and tobacco products, as long as these items are for their personal use.

Consumable goods in accompanied baggage:

·         Up to 200 cigarettes per person

·         Up to 20 cigars per person

·         Up to 250g cigarette or pipe tobacco per person

·         Up to 50ml perfume per person or 250 m eau de toilette per person

·         Up to 2 litres of wine per person

·         Up to 1 litre of spirits and other alcoholic beverages per person

Medicines:

One month’s supply of pharmaceutical drugs or medicines are allowed for your personal use but any extra or other pharmaceutical drugs or medicines must be declared and accompanied by a certified precription from a registered physician.

Personal effects, sport and recreational equipment:

Personal sport and recreational equipment can be brought with you to use during your visit in South Africa as accompanied or unaccompanied baggage.

Handmade articles for commercial purposes:

A total of 25 kilograms of handmade articles such as leather, wood, plastic, or glass are allowed for travellers from Southern African Customs Union (SACU) or Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states.

Additional goods:

A total value of R5000, or R25 000 in new or used goods are allowed if you are arriving from Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia or Swaziland in accompanied baggage in addition to the personal effects and consumables duty-free allowances.

 

If you have reached and exceeded the limits as mentioned above, everything else you brought into South Africa will be subject to the payment of customs duty and value added tax (VAT), even goods that was bought duty-free. If you have goods of up to R20 000 in value you can pay customs duty at a flat rate of 20% and if you pay this flat rate you are also exempt from paying VAT. If you are over the additional R20 000 limit, or do not make use of the flat rate option, each individual item that you are carrying will be assessed for duty and you will pay that on each individual item as well as an additional 14% VAT.

The following good do not qualify for the flat-rate assesment:

·         Firearms.

·         Consumable goods that are more that the quantities that was discussed above.

·         Goods for commercial purposes.

·         Goods carried on behalf of other people.  These goods may require an import permit and they are subject to duty and taxes.

The following goods are restricted and may only enter South Africa with the necessary permits and mut be declared on arrival.  These goods includes any firearms as well as the following:

Currency

Anything more than R25 000 in South African bank notes or $10 000.

Endangered plants and animals:

Any articles that was made from species of plants or animals that are listed as endangered.

Food, plants, animals and biological goods:

Any plants and plant products as well as animals, birds, poultry or any products thereof.

Medicines:

As mentioned above, you are allowed one month’s supply of medicines for personal use, but you must have a certified prescription or letter from a registered physician and it needs to be declared.

To avoid any problems you must make sure that you always declare all or the goods you have in your possession and have receipts for the goods that you have purchases, even those bought duty-free. Always remember that if you do not declare your goods, or if you under-declare or produce false receipts or invoices it can lead to seizure of all your goods as well as fines of up to three times the value of your goods and in some cases even criminal prosecution.

www.brandsouthafrica.com.

 

Friday, 27 January 2017

The miracles of the Northern Cape when travelling from Upington

The Northern Cape is one of South Africa’s biggest provinces with a size of 372,889 km2, therefore it covers more than one-third of South Africa.  It is an arid to semi-arid land and has long travelling distances, incredible heat and receive an annual rainfall of only 202mm. But it also has some of the most amazing miracles that South Africa has to offer with diamonds that was dug from dirt, wild animals running free in the dunes and landscapes covered with flowers in the most amazing colours.

The great Orange River, that flows from the Lesotho Highlands to the Atlantic where it forms the border with Namibia, separates the Kalahari and the Great Karoo ecosystems that fill the interior of the Northern Cape.

Upington is the gateway to the wonderful Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and the Augrabies Falls National Park and en-route to visit the Namaqualand in flower season.

The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is one of only a few conservation areas that’s left in the word that covers an area of 3.6 million hectares. This area, covered with red sand dunes, dry riverbeds and sparse vegetation the Kgalagadi offers excellent mammal viewing with magnificent photographic opportunities. Even bird watchers, especially those interested in birds of prey, will be overwhelmed by the species that can be seen.

The seasonal movement of large herd like blue wildebeest, springbuck, red hartebeest and eland is a very big attraction for guests, and one can then easily see a lion and other predators waiting for their prey.

When you travel about 120km west of the town Upington, you will find the Augrabies Falls National Park, that was established in 1966.  The Khoikhoi people named the waterfall the “place of big noise”.  The waterfall has a height of about 60 meters and the gorge below has a depth of 240 meters and runs for 18 kilometers. The Park covers a very arid area of 820 km².  The Quiver Tree is the most characteristic plant found in the park and can grow up to five meters in height.  On your way to the falls one can easily spot families of rock rabbits (dassies) as well as lizards burning up in the sun. Taking one of the many hiking trails one can even spot wildlife like Springbuck, Klipspringer, Pygmy falcon and Black stork.

On the Western side of the Northern Cape, 375 km from Upington, you will find the Namaqualand, extending from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to Pofadder in the east called, north from the Orange River and south beyond Garies – this area is truly a vast and varied region.

The Namaqualand undergoes one of nature’s most spectacular transformations in August and September, when, after the winter rainfall, the land displays carpets of magnificent wild flowers in a kaleidoscope of colours. Not too far away, in the Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, you will discover a wonderful display of blossoming succulents.

So get in your car, drive our long distace, endless roads and experience the magical places that the Northern Cape has to offer.