Tag Archives: Cape Town

Becoming Mowgli

The wild is not just reserved for Rudyard Kipling characters. Anyone who has the vacation days can move up from Disney cartoons to the real thing!

First step: Choose your adventure.

South Africa’s bushveld was a natural choice for me because of my father’s background. (He was born there and did not move to the States until after graduate school.) However, you may want to explore other areas of Africa, like Botswana, Kenya or Zimbabwe. Keep an eye on the news or use a travel agent to avoid rainy seasons and regional conflict.

Once you’ve chosen your region, consider national park requirements. My family didn’t want to deal with a malaria risk, so we chose Madikwe Game Reserve. A malaria shot isn’t necessary, but they still offer the Big Five, or the most dangerous animals to hunt in Africa: lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, rhino. Oh my!

Second step: Be realistic.

The good news: You will not find yourself alone in the bush and face to face with a wild boar unless you’ve done something horribly wrong and possibly illegal. The other news: You will need a guide, and you will need a brick-and-mortar place to stay. Mosquito netting, regardless of whether you get the malaria shot, is necessary, and pitching your own tent and trying this on your own is illegal in many areas. Where it isn’t, you shouldn’t try. (If they don’t bother passing the law, what makes you think they’ll send out a search team?)

Third step: Enjoy!

The best tip anyone gave me in searching for wildlife in an expansive reserve? Look for movement, not colors or shapes. You won’t spot a rhino in the distance or a leopard in the trees above you if you’re not constantly scanning (what looks like) the dead space around you. I promise, it’s actually teeming with life.

Not to get philosophical here, but if you can’t afford a safari tomorrow, that rule still applies. Pay attention to your surroundings, or all the great sights, sounds and smells will pass you by!

Tara for TKGO

Countdown to the World Cup 2010: Four Days

The World Cup isn’t all that happens in Cape Town.

Tune into the first matches this Friday, June 11 at 9 a.m. (CT) South Africa v. Mexico, and at 1:30 p.m. (CT) Uruguay v. France. Matches take place all over the country, but Cape Town is enough to entertain.

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Still not satisfied? Fill your house with the smell of Cape Town by making the Kalmanson family bobotie recipe. The traditional meat pie was invented by the Cape Malays.

Tara for TKGO

Bobotie: South African Meat Pie

Unlike my dad’s secret Monster Burger recipe (which he won’t even send me via email because “the Internet is too easily hacked”), my mom’s updated South African bobotie recipe is one to share.


bobotie, recipe, South Africa, Cape Malay


My dad is South African. My mom is a Wisconsinite. When she wanted to surprise him one night, she picked a recipe from South African Gourmet Food and Wine by Myrna Rosen and Leslie Loon, a cookbook my dad’s mother (South African to the core) swears by. But when my dad saw the bobotie she made, he had no idea what it was. He’s from Johannesburg, and this is a dish typical of the Cape Malays, who live closer to Cape Town on the Western coast. Since this fortunate mistake, bobotie has become a family favorite and we’ve tweaked the recipe over the years.

Bobotie is a South African meatloaf, to put it shortly. It’s fruity and moist and goes well with a side of rice pilaf. You can easily update this recipe to fit your own tastes. Play with the proportions of the fruit, spices and nuts, but don’t mess with the custard, bread and meat amounts, which hold the juicy dish together.

My mom teaches a quick lesson in making bobotie

Karen’s South African Bobotie

1 1/2 lb ground sirloin
2 tbsp oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed (optional)
2 slices bread, soaked in milk and squeezed out
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
dash pepper
handful chopped blanched almonds
1 tart apple, peeled and grated
1/4 c raisins
2 tbsp apricot jam
1/4 c dried cranberries
1 banana, sliced
4 tbsp fruit chutney, with extra to garnish

Heat oil in large frying pan and add onions, garlic and saute until golden brown over low heat. Add meat and cook until nicely browned and no longer pink. Remove from heat and add all remaining ingredients including soaked bread. Place mixture in a greased pie pan or ovenware dish.


1 c milk (or 1/2 c milk and 1/2 c cream)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 larg eggs
1 tbsp brandy
1/2 tsp pepper
2 bay leaves

Whisk custard ingredients together except bay leaves and pour over the beef mixture. Arrange the bay leaves in the center of the meat pie.

Bake at 350 F for approximately 50 minutes. Cool five minutes or so before cutting and serve with any fruit chutney.

Tara for TKGO