I love cooking, I love food and I love travel! So an invitation to compete in a cooking competition in Sun City with some fellow travel agents was irresistible!

First we visited Cape Town. In the shadow of Table Mountain, I went sightseeing! V&A Waterfront, Green Market Square, Parliament & City Hall, District Six Museum, Robben Island – fascinating glimpses of South Africa’s beauty, politics and turbulent history.

Jo Soth Africa 085A little further out at Boulders Beach, it was lovely to spend time with the colony of penguins, down on the beach. And then my cooking skills were put to the test – at
Bo-Kaap Malay quarter I went to a cooking school and learnt how to make several dishes like Malay Lamb Curry and Falooda and Boeber (authentic South African puddings).


On then to Plettenberg Bay on the fabulous Garden Route and a retreat called Hog Hollow. It’s just beautiful here looking at the Tsitsikamma FJo Soth Africa 136orest and being out in the open air walking and horse riding.
I even visited Monkeyland Sanctuary which is situated here – the world’s first free roaming multi-species primate sanctuary… and as I love any kind of monkey, this was a highlight for me!


Donned in my chef whites I joined Chef Big Joe in the kitchen at Hog Hollow to help prepare and serve dinner. We started with wild mussels in a white wine sauce with wild spinach and pasta, paired with Bramon Sauvingnon Blanc Brut.

Jo Soth Africa 138 For the main course, bush pig with a honey-glaze and kei apple sauce, home made mustard, pap, sweet potato rosti, roasted beetroot flambé in whiskey, served with The Crags Sauvingnon Blanc. For dessert, a prickly pear sorbet with a honeybush tea or crème brulee topped with spun sugar baskets. All very mouth-watering! We rose to the challenge and the results were very positive, especially the pudding!

Once rehearsed, we had some recreation time on safari. We flew from George to Johannesburg then on to Sun City in the malaria-free Pilanesburg National Park, and here I had my first game drive!

Jo Soth Africa 108Pilanesburg is just 3 hours from the city, so easy for the city folk to escape for weekends – there’s lots of accommodation to choose from and of course – the Big 5!
And then… the cooking competition itself! Team Hog Hollow re-produced our menu under pressure and bright lights in front of three judges. There were three teams in total, and the winner was… you’ll have to wait to find out…at the official award ceremony!

It was just a ‘taste’ of South Africa for me, but I found South Africa to be a ‘recipe’ for a perfect holiday – it’s all ‘front of house’ here, and definitely one of ‘today’s specials’!

If you’d like to know more, email me: joanna@hallmarktravel.com