Our first “Braai Day”

As Kenya continued to battle with the demon that is Al-Shabaab, at the other end of the continent, South Africans on Tuesday settled into a national holiday – Heritage Day – colloquially known as “National Braai Day” (Braai being what South Africans like to call BBQs).

Never will it be said that we don’t try to adapt to whatever our host-country’s culture is… so we prepared for a real South African afternoon.

First, though, we needed to go hiking, as the views around our new home – Hout Bay – are to die for.  We climbed up into the hills above Chapman’s Peak – a winding cliff-side road famed for the incredible views of Hout Bay harbour, and of the expanse of sea beyond.

Walking along in the sun, admiring the views of mountains and waterfalls ahead, flowers and plants around us, and crystal blue seas below, all of a sudden we noticed splashing in the middle of the bay.

Getting lower down the hill, the outline of big black fins became the apparent cause of the frothy white water… the whales had come to Hout Bay.

Southern Right Whales come to the shores around the Cape to escape the cold waters of the South Pole for warmer waters, where they mate and give birth to young.

I’ve never seen whales before, and I can’t describe how incredible these huge “fish” are when they jump around, splash their tails, wiggle their fins, and spout water.  I can’t stop watching them.  And it’s not only me, locals come out and line the cliffs around the bay to watch these giants at play.

On the afternoon we set up for our first real braai.  Trout and kudu steaks at the ready, we donned our South African football and rugby shirts, opened Castle beers, sat out in the garden, and made our best attempts at being patriotic.

And let me tell you this… it turns out we’re master braai-ers by nature 🙂


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