The food and wine safari of South Africa

From traditional Braai barbecues to spicy Cape-Malaysian curries, seared springbok or wild ostrich carpaccio, South Africa has a lot to entice travelers with an adventurous taste, writes Christine McGinn.

The South African star chef Reuben Riffel has left his mark on Cape Town.

His restaurant and bar, Reuben & # 39; s, serves uncomplicated cuisine in one of the luxury hotels One & Only, with a refined list of wines from the region.

The first of the five courses is laid out as our touring party of five ladies, organized by Bench Africa, toast champagne glasses and eats passionfruit shrimp, before a cauliflower tour for an appetizer appears.

Every chunk of my seared springbok and gooseberry chutney touches my lips. Then a cod with soft broccoli and baby-red beet is put down for me as a main course, with a spiced apple and chocolate cake and orange ice cream as dessert.

But if you're looking for an African menu with 14 courses, go to Gold Restaurant in Cape Town. It is a Cape Malay and an African taste roadshow with more curries and fish cakes, plus live drumming and dancing to keep you focused.

And if that is not enough, go to The Secret Gin Bar in the back of a chocolate shop. There is a drink to cure a heart attack, impulse buying, jealousy and even decoupling the goal and the meaning of life in the speakeasy bar.

Or try Outrage of Modesty, which has a cocktail for every taste.

For a strong coffee, check out the Steam punk theme Truth Coffee Roasting. Do not forget to try the local selection of South African sausage with grilled mushrooms, fried eggs, crispy bacon, cheese and spicy chakalaka as breakfast and then head over to Charly's Bakery to fulfill a sweet appetite .

Tintswalo Atlantic is the place for good food and offers spectacular views of Hout Bay, as good as the food. A fynbos-as-salted salmon with an African mayo, dill and pickled edamame is the perfect start for a fynbos gin and rosemary gelato refresher course.

The lemongrass belly with raspberries and passion fruit pomme mash is a marriage for decades. Save space for a vanilla bean and chocolate mousse as a dessert.

With full bellies, we make our way to Franschhoek Country House and Villas for petite assiette dishes from Monneaux Restaurant. A crumbled brie with raspberry salad, smoked octopus in dashi, and steak with thick sliced ​​chips are my favorite dishes.

But it's not just the food you want to taste in Franschhoek, which is about an hour's drive from Cape Town.

The Franschhoek Wine Tram is your best friend if you jump in and out of the bus and trains, taking you to a selection of vineyards. It is a glorious sunny day when we board, with our first stop at Allee Bleue for a wine and cheese shed for only $ A10.

You can not ignore tasting the pinotage, South Africa & # 39; s distinctive grape variety, which is a blend between pinot noir and cinsaut.

After an hour it is time to change with a visit to Peace and Lust. This vineyard lies below the Groot Drakenstein mountain range and offers more than just wine.

It is here, general manager of Franschhoek Wine Tram, Brett Garner, drinks a coffee while sharing his passion for wine growing, while the rest of us float wine glasses.

"South African wine is very good … and not expensive, so when you find it in a restaurant … in most parts of the world, pricing is very competitive," he says.

"Most estates are outside the village, a very short drive – Franschhoek is very small, there are only 54 producers."

The waiter tells us that the next train has been withdrawn, so we scout while we say goodbye to Garner, continuing to our next wine tasting, Babylonstoren.

Here is the striking sparkle – a lively white with hints of citrus, apple and fresh hazelnuts that stick in the mouth.

Feasting is far from over, with Sir Richard Branson's winery and boutique hotel Mont Rochelle to receive us at the Miko restaurant.

The wild ostrich carpaccio melts in my mouth for a juicy tenderloin with a piece of green and puree with gravy and bacon. But with just enough room left over, the banoffee cheesecake closes the deal.

And what about food on safari, think lighter and healthy options with a good portion of traditional barbecue and low roasted meat.

You will wish you to pack those elastic waisted trousers.

How to get there: South African Airlines flies to Cape Town from the east coast of Australia with codeshare partner Virgin Australia.

There play: On the occasion of the 50-year jubilee, Africa travel specialist Bench Africa has launched a 13-day Luxury Signature Safari Special, with four nights in Cape Town, three nights in Franschhoek and five nights on a luxury safari in a private game reserve near the Kruger National Park. Prices start from $ 4995 per person, twin share, including luxury accommodations, breakfast daily, all meals and local drinks on safari, guided tours in Cape Town, transfers to the road, safaris & # 39; s and other extras. Internal flights are not included. Conditions apply. Visit

The writer traveled to South Africa as guest of Bench Africa in a hosted media tour.


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