That’s Felicity that you can see in the middle of the image,

but just to the left of her are 1…2…3 sets of eyes!

A Happy Family.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted an update on the ongoing leopard saga, but there have been some amazing developments. My last post was about Felicity and her newborn cubs – but this was all based on accounts from other people and, however hopeful, we hadn’t seen any physical evidence ourselves. Beyond that, their survival in an area of ongoing conflict remained tenuous.

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“The road is where we all lose our heads a little. Some of us lose our hearts and others find them. Where we all gain new perspective and some discover new directions. But we celebrate this.”

This year has been dominated by the Fourth Season of the Ultimate Braai Master – 60 days and roughly 7000kms across the length and breadth of South Africa. It’s a monster of a project – an 18 month cycle from inception to air, which means that we’ve already started working on the next one – but each road trip is an affirmation for my love for South Africa. We started out in the geographical heart of the country – Gariep Dam in the Karoo where you feel like you can almost touch the sky…

Gariep_night_sky_justin bonello

From there we headed up to the Wild Coast – my first love and favourite place on this earth, one of the few places where I know i am guaranteed to escape the stimulation pollution of the city. If you haven’t been there yet, then I highly recommend that you plan your next holiday around it – it’s absolutely breathtaking and will get under your skin in a heartbeat! From the untouched white beaches, to the rich traditional culture of the people that you’ll find there, to the most breathtaking formations carved into the earth’s surface by millennia of wind and the notorious waves of the Wild Coast, it really is a natural wonder of this country. And to let you in on a personal secret… I actually got married there a few years back! Invited my mates down for 4 days, lots of sun, lots of food, lots of booze… and it was great because it meant I could get married in shorts and kaalvoet. Don’t worry, I put on a nice shirt!

JustinBonello_transkei

From the Wild Coast we headed inland through the Drakensberg, a few stops in KwaZulu-Natal, and then into Limpopo – the far north of the country, right up to the border of Zimbabwe into Musina.. which is just an hour away from the Kruger National Park. Limpopo is home to some of the earth’s oldest trees… and when I say oldest, I am talking thousands of years! Whilst I was there, I managed to score a few baobab seeds which I am currently trying to grow at home, but if you read my previous post, you’ll know that I need an elephant to do this! But hopefully, in 3000 years time, you will see a majestic boabab tree in my backyard. Im sure my new future neighbours will be thrilled. justin bonello_baobab

Being able to travel South Africa, the way I have in the last few years.. and especially in this last trip, has really reinforced my belief that there is no need to spend a fortune to go overseas for a holiday when we literally have some of the earth’s best spots right in our back garden. We have oceans, mountains, wildlife, and all sorts of hidden gems.. including some world class beer, wine and food. So, if that’s not reason enough.. then I don’t know what else to say! The next time you’re planning a getaway, bear in mind that we live in one of the most beautiful and diverse countries in the world, and it is well worth your while to explore what we have right in front of us before venturing beyond the borders. Take my word for it.. you will be surprised by what beauty is lurking around the corner. You just need to get in your car and go and find it. Besides, what’s better than a road trip with the fam or your mates? Pack a couple of cold ones, some good chow, a good playlist and you’re A for away. And to be honest, my favourite part about road tripping is seeing all the small towns and landscapes between the towns I am travelling to. You start to experience the small towns that you’ve vaguely seen on the weather forecast on the news… I mean, who knew I would ever buy biltong in Pofadder, take a loo break in Kroonstad or desperately run around looking for a dentist in Dundee. These are the moments that make up a rich and rewarding lifetime.

“These are the moments that make up a rich and rewarding lifetime.”

justin bonello_travel

Aside from the beautiful locations that we travelled to, my other deep love for the Ultimate Braai Master road trip is meeting people from all walks of life and cultures of this diverse country – crew, contestants and locals alike, and the beauty of a show like this, is that in a country as diverse as South Africa, we all come together around a braai – there’s a reason we call it BRAAI in all of our eleven official languages! Truth is, memories are best made when shared with others. My road trip would be nothing without the people who I get to share it with!

“Truth is, memories are best made when shared with others.”

Justin Bonello travels_SA

If you’re a Braai Master fan, then you’re going to love this next season. If you’re a adventure-seeking, dust-kicking, travel wild-heart like me… then you’ll live this new season too! The show premieres Sunday 20th of September at 16h00 on etv, with repeats every Saturday at 13:00, so don’t miss out.

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us…”

What’s not to love about spicy wings? It’s the perfect excuse to eat with your hands, lick your fingers, suck on some bones and have a bucket of beers chilling on ice on your table. This is guy food at its best! 

Luckily for you and me, Bertus Basson whipped up the perfect recipe for the ultimate spicy wings and now we all get to get our hands messy! Not only is the recipe available in my new book, Road Tripping but I thought I’d share it here with you first – so do yourself a favour, and give it a bash! 

You will need: 

  • At least 4 free-range chicken wings per friend…so go count them
  • About 4 chillies (or more), seeds removed and finely chopped
  • About 6 tablespoons of sugar
  • The juice of one lemon
  • 2 cups of tomato sauce
  • About a handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Metal or bamboo skewers
  • Lime wedges for serving

Method: 

First up, if you’re going to use bamboo skewers, submerge them in water and soak while you get on with the rest of the prep.

Combine all the sauce ingredients, pour over the chicken wings, cover and leave for about an hour.

When the coals are moderate (and the guys are starting to misbehave) get those babies onto skewers and start braaiing. If you want to you can skewer the chicken first and then pour the marinade over – up to you! (A lot of people stretch the wings out when skewering, which does help to crisp up the skin, but Bertus says it’s better to keep them in their natural shape to ensure that the chicken doesn’t dry out).

Keep turning and basting the wings until the skin is nice and crispy and the chicken is completely cooked – about 25 – 30 minutes.

Once braaied till your liking, crack open a cold one and get your hands messy!