SSoP Podcast Episode 38 — South Africa: Nelson Mandela, the Big Five, and Sweet Melktert

SSoP Podcast Episode 38 — South Africa: Nelson Mandela, the Big Five, and Sweet Melktert

Monday, 4 July, 2022

Animal safaris! White sand beaches! The majesty of Table Mountain! Plus, urban penguins, world-class wine, and food with irresistible names like melktert, bunny chow, and chakalaka. There is so much about South Africa to engage your curiosity.

Any conversation about South Africa is incomplete without addressing the scourge of Apartheid. For most of the 20th century, black people were denied the most basic human rights and lived a segregated existence. But in 1989, Apartheid was banished, and the country is moving toward the goal of being a Rainbow Nation.

Let’s talk numbers! There are 11 official languages, and South Africa is one of the best places on the planet to see the Big Five of safaris: lions, leopards, black rhinos, elephants, and Cape buffalo. The local cuisine combines four delicious influences that combine indigenous recipes with Dutch, French, and Indian flavors. And there are more than 40 wineries along the hop-on-hop-off wine tram in the Franschhoek Wine Valley.

In this episode, we fall in love with elephants (a.k.a., the world’s best gentle giants), dig into the country’s tumultuous history, and daydream about visiting Cape Town beaches. Then we recommend five books that transported us there on the page.

Here are the books about South Africa featured in the show:

Books, Transcript, and More

For a complete roundup of all the books we recommend, plus a full transcript and the other cool stuff we talked about, visit the Episode 38 show notes.


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If South Africa inspires images of a safari, you're not wrong. It's also a fantastic place to take a hike, splash in the surf (maybe with penguins), or enjoy an outdoor braai. (That's a barbecue, and it's delicious.)
There are so many reasons to visit South Africa! You could start with safari animals (elephants, lions, leopards, and more), but don't forget the beaches and mountains and irresistible fusion food. Hello, melktert!
The application of flames to meat is one of humanity's greatest inventions. In South Africa, the barbecue tradition known as braai is a celebration of multicultural flavors and the delicious power of a wood fire.

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