SOUTH AFRICA

World Cup 2010: The Vuvuzela & Makaraba…Ayoba!

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The vuvuzela and makaraba are two traditionally African accessories of true soccer fans that have taken center stage at this year’s FiFa world cup.

The noise making trumpet of South African soccer fans has become as much a part of the 2010 FiFa world cup as the 32 teams that came to compete. The prominent droning of the noisemaker could easily be confused for a large hive of bees or injured elephant. Like it or not, despite nearly drowning out the commentators and making it close to impossible for players to communicate verbally on the field, the vuvuzela is traditionally African and has the growing support of the thousands of soccer fans attending the World Cup.

Another African soccer fan tradition prevalent at the World Cup has been the Makaraba, which is a fan helmet, cut from a miner or construction helmet and hand decorated in support of one’s favorite team. The helmets consist of intricate designs carved out of the helmet featuring country flags, favorite players and other identifying characteristics of the beautiful game.

South African Food: Biltong

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A type of dried meat, holding some similarities to beef jerky, is a popular snack and appetizer throughout  South Africa. Its name is derived from the Dutch “bil” meaning buttocks and “tong” meaning strip. Seasoning recipes vary as do the selections of meats making for numerous varietals of biltong. Springbok and kudu come highly recommended.

South Africa: Cape Point Route: St. James, Kalk Bay, Simon’s Town & Penguins!

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Easily accessible by train from Cape Town,  St. James, Kalk Bay and Simon’s Town are three historic harbor villages located along the Cape Peninsula. A full day’s trip in its own right or a stopover on the journey south to Cape Point, each of these villages shares in South Africa’s rich nautical and colonial history. St. James is easily identified by the colorful cabanas that line its beaches and add a prominent splash of color to the coastline.  Kalk Bay is only a short walk further south from St. James. The harbor of Kalk bay is lined with restaurants and cafes that look over the water, allowing guests to watch the local fisherman haul in their daily catches. From Kalk Bay, simply hail a local mini-van taxi down to Simon’s Town, one of Cape Point Route’s most picturesque towns. In addition to seaside dining, art galleries and numerous sites highlighting the town’s maritime history, Simon’s Town is home to a colony of African Penguins. The penguins can be seen alongside a wooden boardwalk that allows you access to the colony as well as in huddles on the beach, in the water and vying for position on one of the numerous large rocks that juts from the sea.

Paarl, South Africa: Fairview Winery

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Popularly known for its cleverly named Goats do Roam wines, which include, among many others, The Goatfather, Bored Doe and Goat-Roti, Fairview produces numerous other lines under the Fairview and La Capra by Fairview labels. The winery is situated on a sprawling farm just 45 minutes from Cape Town in the town of Paarl in the Cape Winelands. Tastings allow you to choose six of Fairview’s 35 selections in addition to a sampling of assorted cheeses (yes, including goat cheese) produced on the farm. The unique circular tasting stations and freedom to roam from one to another lend to a very relaxed experience and ensure that you’re never waiting for your next pour.

Tastings are R25 per person (about $3.50). If you schedule a wine tour so you go from Paarl to the more populated area of Stellenbosch, all your tasting fees should be included in the price of the tour.

Cape Town: Arnold’s Restaurant – Local Cuisine

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Many hostels will direct you to Mamma Africa (where the menu, music and décor contribute to a unique vibe), but Arnold’s is catching up to the tourist staple and commands a loyal following from the local residents.  Come here for the game meat. Order on the rare side.  And don’t leave the country without trying the warthog ribs.  Naturally, the extensive wine list emphasizes South African vineyards. The restaurant boasts outdoor seating with an inspiring view of Table Mountain that complements the bright, friendly atmosphere and efficient staff.  The restaurant also has numerous televisions and a projector screen, ideal for watching the Springboks put the All Blacks in their place during the Tri-Nations Cup.

Arnold’s is located at 60 Kloof Street, Gardens, Cape Town, a short walk from the main drag on Long Street.   You will also find the nearby Labia Theater, located inconspicuously in the mall on 50 Kloof Street (its twin is at 68 Orange Street), where you can check out first run American films and South African cinema.

Written by Jason Summerfield