Friendly Planet Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Win Wild South Africa Sweepstakes’

Older Posts »

Find out who’s going on a free trip to South Africa!

It might be Monday, but I was excited to come into work today. That’s because I got to let one lucky traveler know that she’s going on a free trip to South Africa, on us! It’s been a blast to read your comments on our Facebook page about how much you love South Africa, and I’m sad to see our sweepstakes come to an end — I wish you all could win! And hopefully, some of you who have gotten a chance to learn more about this great destination will be motivated to join us on tour, even if it’s not for free.

But one lucky person will take home this amazing prize. So without further ado (drum roll please), the winner of our Win Wild South Africa Sweepstakes is …

Mary Wood from Oregon!

Congratulations, Mary! I know you and your guest will have an amazing time taking in the beauty, majesty, and adventure of South Africa. Take lots of pictures for us, and we hope you’ll share your South Africa story on the blog upon your return.

But hold on, travelers. If you didn’t win this prize, don’t lose hope! We have a very special announcement that we’ll reveal tomorrow. You never know — we just might be giving away another trip! Come back tomorrow to find out.

South African Explorer Series: 7 foods you can’t miss

To everyone who loves travel, exploring local cuisine is one of the best aspects of visiting a new place. And as we’ve been covering all things South Africa because we’re giving away a free trip for two to this fascinating locale on our Facebook page (now closed), we couldn’t help bringing you our take on the “hit list” of South African foods in this installment of our South African Explorer Series.

South Africa’s cuisine has Malay, Dutch, French, British, Indian and Eastern European influences, which, when combined with locally available food, results in a unique assortment of tasty treats. Here are seven of the most popular and delicious foods available in South Africa.

Braai (Pronounced as in “rye”). The most popular type of food in South Africa is braai, which is Afrikaans for “barbecue” or “grill.” It also refers to the social custom of gathering friends and family over for a pot-luck style meal that focuses mainly on barbequed meat. Chicken, pork, beef, lamb, mutton, or “boerewors” (see below) is prepared over an open flame made with wood, charcoal, or briquettes, although using gas has also become more common in recent years.

Braai is often served with pap, a thick type of porridge, along with various sauces, such as Mrs H.S. Ball’s Chutney, a bottled chutney sauce brand that is wildly popular with South Africans. In South Africa, “ketchup” as we know it is referred to as “tomato sauce.” Chutney is used by many South Africans the way Americans use ketchup.

Braai is a very important social custom in South Africa. It’s how locals celebrate Christmas, birthdays, graduations, and special events in their lives. You’ll get plenty of chances to taste Braai when you visit South Africa.

Boerewors (Pronounced bur-eh-vors). This is the most important meat for your braai and practically a national institution. It looks similar to Italian sausage with a very distinctive flavor. But don’t call boerewors “sausage” in South Africa, or you’ll get a hot dog! No self-respecting South African would consider a braai without boerewors, and here’s a tip. You can brush your ‘wors’ with Mrs H.S. Ball’s Chutney before putting it on the braai!

Rusks. You’ll certainly encounter these hard pieces of bread if you travel to South Africa. They’re most commonly served with tea or coffee before a game drive. When you return after your game drive for a hearty South African breakfast, you’ll likely see them on the buffet again. (Rusks taste best dunked in coffee or tea.) 

Rooibos tea (Pronounced roy-boss). The rooibos plant is native to South Africa, and the leaves are used to make one of the country’s most popular drinks — rooibos tea. It’s often served in the same fashion as black tea with milk or sugar, although it is caffeine-free. Rooibos tea is becoming popular around the world for its health benefits, including its antioxidants and phenolic compounds. It’s said to help with tension, allergies, and digestive issues.

Bunny chow. The recipe for bunny chow is simple: curry with mutton, lamb, chicken, or beans in a hollowed-out bread loaf. It’s a delicious treat unique to Durban that dates back to the 1940s. Here are a few tips for ordering your bunny chow: It comes in a quarter, half, or full loaf. According to local slang, simply ask for the size and the kind in one short phrase. If you want a quarter loaf of mutton, say “quarter mutton.” Oh, and yes, Mrs Ball’s Chutney goes well with bunny chow, too!

Biltong (Pronounced bill-tong). This is the national snack of South Africa, and is similar to beef jerky, although it can be made from a variety of meats, such as beef or game. This is eaten at sports games, at home, and anywhere.

Bobotie (Pronounced bor-bor-tee). This is a dish of minced meat with egg topping, similar in consistency to meatloaf. It was among the first dishes created in South Africa that takes influences from both the East and West, and the result is a spicy, flavorful dish. Bobotie has a mild curry flavor and is eaten with rice and Mrs Balls Chutney. If you’re getting the idea that Mrs. Balls Chutney goes with a lot of foods, you’re right! South Africans are known to put it on everything, from bobotie to scrambled eggs.

Braai, bunny chow, bobotie — I’m hungry just thinking about it! Which would you want to try first in South Africa? Let us know in a comment below.

Going on safari with Entabeni Private Conservancy’s head ranger

Most of us work our regular jobs so we can afford life’s special pleasures, like exploring unknown destinations through travel. But what if your job was to explore those unknown destinations every day? That’s what Darryn Murray gets to do as Head Game Ranger at Entabeni Private Conservancy in South Africa. He spends his days taking travelers on safari through the bush in search of the Big Five game and other wildlife that call South Africa their home.

We wanted to get a glimpse into what Entabeni is like through the eyes of a game ranger, so we asked Darryn to answer a few questions for us, and he was happy to oblige. Read on for our Q-and-A with him!

Q: How did you become a game ranger?

A: Well, it started off with my parents. I grew up in Johannesburg, and I was very involved in taking holidays on game reserves and things like that. So it was just a natural thing that I got into when I finished schooling. I did a two-year course studying game ranging and lodge management at Damelin West Rand, and then we did our practical at Entabeni Nature Guide Training.

Q: What’s a normal day like for you?

A: No two days are alike at our job. A day could be anything from getting up at 5:30 in the morning and taking travelers on a morning game drive or bush walk. Or I could come in around noon for an afternoon game drive. We also do night game drives along with star gazing. It all depends on what the guests are looking for, and what’s the best way to spend their time that day.

Q: What’s the wildest thing you’ve ever seen in the reserve?

A: We’ve seen two or three lion hunts with guests on game drives. We’ve also seen cheetahs hunting. But I think probably the most memorable thing is the time we got up close and personal with a lion while on a bush walk with guests. It was kind of scary — a 200 kg male lion coming that close — but everyone was OK. It was a great source of adrenaline, and a fantastic memory — once it was all over! (more…)

South African Explorer Series: Learn the language

Any seasoned traveler will tell you how important it is to prepare for a trip abroad by learning the basics about your destination. You should be able to speak a few words in the local language, enough to respect its traditions and culture, and become familiar with its food. This is even more important in multicultural destinations like South Africa, home to 11 national languages and several ethnicities. There’s an abundance to see and do in South Africa, and knowing a few key phrases will help you fit in and make new friends as you enjoy the sights and sounds.

To help get you started speaking like a local, we’ve put together the first of a three-part blog post we’re calling our South African Explorer Series. These will offer insight into several major components of your trip: language, food, and culture. If you haven’t heard, you can also win a free trip to South Africa by entering on our Facebook page (now closed)!

Our series begins today with a list of the most common phrases and words you’ll hear when visiting South Africa. Pay close attention. Some of the words look and sound like English, but the meanings are completely different.

  1. “Sawubona!” This means hello or welcome, and is usually directed at one person. Feel free to greet anyone you meet in South Africa with this phrase. Learn how to pronounce it here. (more…)

Friday’s Friendly Funny: Solo travel

Check out this week’s Friday Funny from cartoonist Dave Blazek!

Friday’s Friendly Funny by Dave Blazek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at blog.friendlyplanet.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://blog.friendlyplanet.com.

10 adventures that can only be experienced in South Africa

In case you missed it, we just announced our Win Wild South Africa Sweepstakes! We’re looking forward to sending a lucky winner and guest to witness the majestic scenery and cultural richness of South Africa.

While there are literally hundreds of unique and exciting things to see and do in this amazing destination, I contributed my personal list of top 10 adventures and activities to experience in South Africa in a recent article on Huffington Post. In my opinion, our winner (and anyone else thinking of traveling to South Africa) absolutely must see each of these magnificent wonders! Read my article to get all the details.

Would you add anything to my list? Let me know in a comment below.

Friday’s Friendly Funny: An unusual fridgemate

Check out this week’s Friday Funny from cartoonist Dave Blazek!

Friday’s Friendly Funny by Dave Blazek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at blog.friendlyplanet.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://blog.friendlyplanet.com.

What it’s like to go on safari in South Africa

Today I want to share a blog post from my friend and our Product Development Manager at Friendly Planet, Judy Poliva. Judy grew up in South Africa, the destination at the center of our Win Wild South Africa Sweepstakes. I asked her to fill us in on what makes South Africa so special and she delivered, so read on. After you’re finished, be sure to enter to win a free trip for two to South Africa on our Facebook page (now closed)!


When we were children growing up in the Johannesburg area, we didn’t realize how lucky we were. We lived within driving distance of the Kruger National Park!

Almost every year during our winter school holidays (July), my parents would pack up the car with supplies, and we would head off on a self-drive safari, for a week or sometimes two. As we got closer to the park, my sisters and I would start practicing game-spotting by looking at the herds of cattle.

But once we entered the park, the competition started in earnest: who could spot the first animal (this was usually an impala), the first giraffe, or a lion! This was a daily, all-day competition, and we never tired of it. On our journey home, we missed being on the constant look out, and the cattle didn’t seem so interesting anymore.

We would be ready at dawn to start out on our game drive as soon as the gate opened. At every rest stop, we listened carefully as travelers shared their stories of what they had seen, so that we could head off there as well. We also had to remember to close all the windows so that the vervet monkeys or baboons didn’t try to steal our things.

If we saw some cars in the distance, we headed in that direction. Or we drove around, hoping to get lucky. At night, we would watch wildlife films in the open-air theatre at the camp or listen to a lecture by a game ranger. We would fall asleep listening to the sounds of roaring lions not too far away, and wake to the gentle coos of the bush doves.

One of the most memorable of my childhood experiences was in the northern region of the Kruger National Park, a more remote area that had only one-lane dirt roads. There was no other car in sight. We came around a corner, and the road dipped down a sharp incline to a dry river bed and then up an equally sharp incline. As we neared the bottom of the dip, an elephant walking along the dry river bed started crossing the road. Then, another and another and another, a seemingly endless stream of these huge, majestic creatures. There must have been more than 10 elephants of all ages.

Suddenly, one of the larger elephants looked in our direction and raised its trunk, flapped its ears, and took a few steps in our direction. My father put the car in reverse and we slowly went back up the hill. My sisters and I were shrieking with a mixture of excitement and fear. The elephants eventually decided we weren’t so interesting after all. They continued their journey, and disappeared into the bush once more. Once again, we were alone on the road.

Friday’s Friendly Funny: The great migration

Check out this week’s Friday Funny from cartoonist Dave Blazek!

Friday’s Friendly Funny by Dave Blazek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at blog.friendlyplanet.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://blog.friendlyplanet.com.

How would you Like to win a trip for two to the sweeping savannahs of South Africa?

If you dream of driving into the African bush in search of the Big Five game or gazing at open grasslands while being treated to warm, welcoming hospitality, then have I got a special treat for you.

We’re giving away a free trip for two on our Facebook page in partnership with South African Tourism and South African Airways to one of the world’s most coveted destinations: South Africa! Breathtaking and magnificent doesn’t even begin to describe the scenery and wildlife travelers experience in South Africa. And you could see it for yourself in person. Just visit our Facebook page, Like us, and enter your information to enter to win this prize, worth up to $5,400!

This prize package includes almost everything two travelers will need as they explore South Africa:

  • Round-trip, non-stop airfare from JFK or IAD to Cape Town Airport via South Africa Airways. This includes fuel surcharges, taxes, and fees.
  • Flights, ground transportation, and transfers within South Africa.
  • Six-night accommodations in a first-class hotel and game lodge.
  • Ten meals total: six breakfasts, two lunches, and two dinners.
  • Professional, English-speaking guides and game rangers.
  • Sightseeing in Cape Town.
  • Four game drives at Entabeni Game Reserve.

Are you ready for the trip of a lifetime? Can you already picture yourself on safari in South Africa? Well read the full itinerary of the trip and then enter to win. Don’t forget to invite your friends to enter — and make sure they bring you if they win! You also earn an extra entry for every friend that enters through your invite, increasing your chances of winning.

The sweepstakes will close at 11:59 p.m. on October 11, and we’ll announce the winner soon after. Good luck, travelers!

Older Posts »

About Peggy

Peggy Goldman is a specialty tour operator and travel expert, who owns and operates Friendly Planet Travel, a full-service company that specializes in tour packages to exotic worldwide destinations at affordable prices.   More about Peggy

Tours & Packages Our specialty for 30 years! Find one now:
choose a region Europe Mediterranean Asia Middle East Africa Central America Caribbean South America South Pacific