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COME ALONG FOR THE RIDE WITH THE TRAVELLING COWBOYS AND MEET THE PEOPLE THAT MAKE SOMETHING.

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Sunday, March 17, 2019

A Coffee Drinking Chicken and Breakfast Blueberry Gin at the Magoebaskloof Farmstall and Cafe, South Africa

Coffee Pit Stop

Life happens while you are making other plans!

While trying to escape the humid Lowveld summer heat of South Africa's Limpopo Province, we were in dire need of a good coffee. It's been several days since we've seen an espresso as we were heading up Magoebaskloof. Halfway up the pass, we passed a cafe sign and immediately decided to turn off the main road to inspect further. 

What we found proved to us, as we've discovered many, many times before, that when you travel, you should turn off the main road and prepare for the truly extraordinary discoveries. This time, we found great coffee, learned about a brewery, fed a pet goat, made cheese, and had blueberry gin for breakfast.

This is part of the TWO COWBOYS' EPIC GLOBAL TRAVEL & CULINARY EXPERIENCE - 2019! 



DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS OR COMMUNITY FEATURED?


Harry and Agie are the owners of the new Magoebaskloof Farmstall and Cafe. You cannot miss the venue on the side of the picturesque Magoebaskloof pass, between Polokwane and Tzaneen. It is a farm stall stocked with local produce and a whole lot of heart and passion. You will find wine, gin, vegetables, plants, oils, soaps, pies and a little of everything the people of Magoebaskloof is proudly producing.

Yes, you are reading it right. You can buy alcohol-to-go on the side of the road in South Africa. Not only can you buy local wine, beer and gin, but Harry will also mix you a cocktail or spike your favourite latte for you, any time of the day. We were spoiled when we checked in. The Flatwhite was done correctly, and the locally baked pies were divine. However, it was the blueberry gin we had for breakfast that made our visit most memorable.

I think Harry played with Dolphins for a living and Angie, who is Canadian, were catching elephants in the Lowveld when they met. One thing led to another, and now a little Harry is running around the farmstall playing with a pet billy goat, and a big Harry is pulling espresso shots while entertaining tourists and regulars with his stories.

As they say, life happens while you were making other plans. We are glad to see the amount of passion Harry and Angie brought to their fledgeling business, and we wish them all the success they can handle. 

Observations


Turning off for a coffee at a farm stall is usually a reasonably trivial affair. We've stopped many times all over the world for coffee. It is often only about coffee. However, that morning in Magoebaskloof, something as simple as turning off the main road, a handshake, a blueberry gin and a pie later, put us on a completely different path, and a much more exciting journey.

We could have taken the safe, more comfortable option and simply continued towards the next town for a coffee at a familiar stop (which we did do several days later, only to have a disappointing coffee). Instead, our visit that morning with Harry lead us to a brewery, we discovered a fantastic camping spot by a river, we attended a local food festival, made cheese at an organic farm, ate a divine lamb pie, discovered cream cheese samoosas, and had a goat curry with mielie pap.

What it taught us again, even as seasoned travellers, is that you have to turn off the main road for your coffee. You have to say 'yes' to what is new and unfamiliar, and be prepared to experience and discover. If you do, life will gloriously happen. It will unfold around you with experiences you could never have imagined, even if you were trying to plan it.

Here is our Two Cowboys top tip about our visit to Magoebaskloof Farmstall and Cafe; "Go! Travel! Turn off the main road. Have a coffee. Introduce yourself. Say 'yes' to what happens next and enjoy the journey because life happens even if you make other plans. All you have to do is be ready to discover."

Buckle up and get ready for the ride.

Hendrik
Travelling Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too.

Photos


Cappuchicken!

Breakfast

On the Road

Harry!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Eating Mopane Worms, Biltong, Pang and Pap at ATKV - Klein Kariba in Bela-Bela, South Africa

Coming Home


While Canada is in the middle of winter’s icy grip, we decided to head south towards the sun and to explore and rediscover our homeland of South Africa. After eighteen years away, not much has changed, yet everything is different. 

It is the start of the TWO COWBOYS' EPIC GLOBAL TRAVEL & CULINARY EXPERIENCE - 2019! 


Biltong Potjie at ATKV - Klein Kariba.

Township Tour - Bela Bela


More to come...

DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS OR COMMUNITY FEATURED?


Coming to South Africa is coming full circle for the Cowboys. This is where it all started. We were born South African and grew up during some of the more turbulent times in the country's recent history. In 2001 we set out to see the world and broaden our horizons. We are still on that journey, and it is ironic to come home eighteen years later to find it a place very much the same as the one we've left behind, yet very different - good different - in many respects.

The international perspective of South African travel is mainly negative due to news coverage about safety, corruption, and ongoing conflict. It is an out-of-the-way destination with concerns for the traveller. It is why the destination is unfortunately frequently moved to the bottom of the travellers' priority bucket-list.

Mexico is similar in that it offers phenomenal vacations and experiences to travellers and at the same time it is also marred by adverse news reporting related to safety and corruption. The difference is that Mexico succeeded in positioning its travel and tourism products by addressing these concerns. They've done it through all-inclusive packaging, offered to the travel trade, and marketed accordingly. Travellers' concerns are addressed through "white-glove" handling in a controlled manner, from the moment they step off the aeroplane until they are safely back at the airport's departure hall.

South Africa offers as much, if not more, at an equally competitive rate. Wildlife, culture, cuisine, natural beauty, history, human capital and yet, it hasn't even started to fire up its tourism machinery. It lacks packaged products that overcome travellers' concerns and that are competitively positioned and highly rated. If you compare its positioning and messaging to other similarly developing world destinations, it definitely has the opportunity. It is now merely a matter of South Africans grasping it.

The Two Cowboys hope that we can play a small role in promoting this unique destination, its businesses and its people. We will be sharing content about our experiences. With our travel partners, we will be bringing you along for an incredible journey.

This is how our tour of South Africa started at one of the happy places we enjoyed as children, ATKV's - Klein Kariba Resort in Bela-Bela.

ATKV - Klein Kariba


Klein Kariba has a lot to offer as a typical South African family resort. It is a beautiful setting close to the main cities of Gauteng, with great weather, wildlife, beautiful camping, chalets, glamping tents, and hot and cold swimming pools. It has been a must-do family vacation spot for as long as we can remember. The resort continues to be a local favourite. Weekends and holidays are packed with visitors. Some have been patrons for generations.

I know the place well. After frequent trips tenting there during the early 1990s, I eventually wooed and married my wife at Klein Kariba, 26 years ago.

Our favourite spot at the resort, then and it still is now, must be the restaurant, Koswerf. “Koswerf” is the Afrikaans term for an outdoor kitchen or cooking area. This one is unfortunately mainly indoors. However, with the beautiful weather of the Waterberg Region, there is ample opportunity, all over the resort, to partake in cooking outdoors. Wherever you turn, the iconic cultural pastime called "braai" (cooking over an open fire outdoors) happens spontaneously, every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

We were fortunate to be hosted by Riaan Maritz and his team. They reluctantly handed us the keys to the pantry, and we kicked off our week cooking up a storm in the Koswerf’s kitchen. On our menu was a Cuban-style Arepa with a South African Peri-Peri Chicken Livers and Mango-Salsa twist. To round it off, we were introduced to the local tropical passionfruit samba sensation of Pang!! (more about this later).

In turn, they reciprocated with a Biltong Potjie (a risotto-like stew made with a lot of cream and cheese, and cooked over an open fire). We lubricated festivities with Caipirinhas as it was our turn to quench the thirsts.

When you visit ATKV - Klein Kariba, the resort has a lot to offer at its facilities. However, it is easy to miss some of the many attractions and other rich offerings of the Bela-Bela area. Klein Kariba sees its responsibility not only to be a destination of choice but to also encourage visitation around the area. That is why Riaan introduced us to M Court Township Tours. They afforded us an eye-opening opportunity to experience some of the curiosities that make up everyday life in a typical township in South Africa. We even tasted the local beer they brew (no license or permit required) and ate mopane worms and pap!

We visited one of the more popular "Padstalle" (roadside shops) called "Toeka se Dae". Here we were treated to freshly baked bread, home-made ginger beer, biltong, and enormous cold and crispy koeksisters.

Do you remember Pang?

What if we told you that we discovered absolute passionfruit gold just outside the gates of ATKV Klein Kariba? Chances are that if you ate anything real passionfruit-related in South Africa or Europe, then Stilhoek Boerdery had something to do with it. They are one of the largest passionfruit producers in South Africa. Nine months in the year they are shipping their products all over the country and some export markets.

It doesn’t stop there, they also bottle the passionfruit pulp with a swig of vodka and call it Pang! The range expanded from there with Mango, Strawberry and even a spicy JalapeƱo, as its popularity grew in the local cocktail consuming market. Klein Kariba is fortunate to offer this locally produced godly elixir at the resort, where it is popular with their younger patrons during the summer holidays ( (legal drinking age, of course!).

Observations


After eighteen years away not much has changed, yet everything is different. Klein Kariba still feels like home to us. However, it is apparent that it evolved in that it reached out to play an increasingly important and more inclusive role in the more diverse local communities of Bela-Bela.

After decades, during which people in a changing South Africa treated each other with animosity and suspicion, it is evident that those that are reaching out to each other, are the ones making a positive difference in their community. Klein Kariba is the main attraction, yet it collaborates with local entrepreneurs and businesses across the spectrum to lend a hand and facilitate success for others too. Business is always more natural when people work together. Those that discover it early continues to prosper.

We are enthused to see that our home language - Afrikaans - is treasured by everyone, even more than we remembered. Yet, everyone is welcome if you speak English, Zulu, German, Cantonese or another language. The South African culture of food, friendliness and hospitality is found around every corner, and the beautiful wildlife setting of the resort’s facilities remains absolute and intoxicating.

Klein Kariba is for everyone. We cannot highlight this single feature enough. Yes, the people of South Africa knows it well and loves it. It is such a gem that they will be forgiven to try and keep it to themselves. However, we hope we can entice the world to come and see it too. We are so proud to be home and proud of what we see and experience, that we want to share it with the world.

Enjoy our programming and see what makes this such a great place to visit. Then, book your ticket and see for yourself. Come for the food, the wildlife, the weather. Above all,  meet the great people of Klein Kariba and Bela-Bela. You may just find us here as well.

We are glad to be home, again!

Hendrik
Wandering Cowboy!

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too.


Photos

All Over the World - of South Africa!

Boere Cuban Arepa

Koeksister!

Uber Africa!

Bushlab

New Friends

Fans of the Cowboys!


Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Vanlife Africa - The Two Cowboys Puts Touring in a Can to the Test in Pretoria, South Africa

Get Your Gear


How do you tour South Africa on a budget? 

Get a van and hit the road! That's what we did. We discovered that Vanlife is not yet a "thing" in Africa. We learned a few lessons along the way, and have some advice for people considering to give it a shot. It is a great way to explore this unique country and learn about its people! 

South Africans tour and camp a little differently. We think they are missing out on the flexibility of our preferred mode of travel. We set out to explore why it hasn't caught on yet, and how best it can be done on the fly in Africa. Maybe we can introduce them to it?

We started our journey by getting the necessary gear. It put us on the road for our first episode of our TWO COWBOYS' EPIC GLOBAL TRAVEL & CULINARY EXPERIENCE - 2019!



DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS OR COMMUNITY FEATURED?


If you are an international tourist used to RVing, then you will be glad to know that you can rent a more common motorhome or an adventurous offroad 4X4 bakkie (mini-truck/ute with a roof tent). A more affordable option is to rent a vehicle and a little mini "offroad" tent trailer. The trailer comes equipped with a roof tent, shade tent, shower tent, sleep tent, another tent, more tents, power options, water tanks, and a little pullout kitchen (We are not a fan - too many tents. More about that later). All these options are familiar, well equipped, but quite expensive, clumsy, and a risky way for the uninitiated to undertake a journey in Southern Africa.

Like other destinations, there are also risks in Africa. People don't usually appreciate what African risk means when they land from another country. The roads are a concern with potholes (very deep potholes), stray animals, and a general lack of maintenance. The 4X4 option may give you a (false) sense that you can venture into the wild. In Africa, even something as simple as a tree thorn can puncture a tyre, and a pothole can separate your wheel from its axel. There are also wild animals, dangerous insects and snakes that are always looking for a meal, entertainment, or a new home.

Then there is the driving. Italy cannot compare to South African impatience, breakneck speeds, and general disregard for courtesy, and constant violation of the road rules. Mexico is chaotic but courteous. Driving in Africa is merely nasty. A typical Class-C motorhome is clumsy to operate and difficult to park in most South African towns and cities. Class-A's don't even exist here. The pothole-strewn roads are not kind to these types of vehicles, and you cannot fit them into the available camping spots, anyway.

Security is an omnipresent affair everywhere in Africa. Camping or overnight options are limited to secure campgrounds (caravan parks) and National/Provincial Nature Parks and Reserves. That is why the preferred way to tour and camp in South Africa is with a "caravan" (travel trailer) and lots of tents attached to the outside. People head to "resorts" over weekends and holidays, spend half a day setting up, two or more nights enjoying the facilities, and another full day breaking camp, cleaning, packing away and heading home.

Most touring and camping trips are extended stays at well equipped, safe (however, not always that affordable) resorts.

Observations About Vanlife in Africa


If you talk about a van in Southern Africa, people associate it with the notorious minibus taxis. The little Toyota HiAce van transports Africa! It is the African version of highly efficient and affordable public transport. Larger versions like Sprinter, Iveco and Ford Transits are used for the same purpose on longer journeys.

You can use your overseas license to rent and drive the smaller cargo vans. We rented a Nissan from Thrifty Car Hire for our first leg of our journey. The larger vans require a special "heavy-vehicle" license that is different from the standard motor vehicle license issued overseas and therefore put these vehicles out of reach of tourist.

Some folks already realized the potential of the omnipresent minibusses to be converted into living accommodations and camping solutions. However, you are unlikely to encounter any on the road. It is too foreign to the South African wat of touring and camping. It is a pity because Africa has the ideal weather for it. Weather insulation is the single most significant and most costly challenge (next to power) in North America. In Southern Africa, like Australia, Mexico and New Zealand, it is the least of your concerns because almost every day is a perfect weather day.

For the budget conscious there are well-stocked camping stores like Camp and Climb and Outdoor Warehouse that carry all the usual supplies. Here you can find your sleeping bag, tables and chairs, mattresses, cooling boxes, portable fridges, cooking utensils and water tanks. There are also several local and European-sourced fit-outs available for a more luxurious build of a van with a bed, water, storage, shade and power options. There are more elaborate fit-out operations that will help you make the conversion a bit more permanent and the stay more comfortable if you have your own vehicle. We will be exploring some of these options in subsequent episodes.

The main challenges for Vanlife in Africa are ventilation, insect control (mosquitoes!!) and where to park. We have solutions for these, we think. Stay tuned for advice and more about the lessons we've learned.

There are lots of opportunity for Vanlife in Africa. Vanlife is not yet a thing in South Africa. It is virgin-territory, and for us, it has been an excellent adventure. It is also an economical way to travel and see a fantastic country. You can easily equip yourself inexpensively with the required necessities before hitting the road.

Add it to your bucket list. It is something you have to try at least once. 

Hendrik
Cowboy in Africa!

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too.


Photos


On Location - #blybetrokke

First Night

Camp

Not #Vanlife

Mobile Studio