Who better to reveal his best braai spot in the country than Jan Braai, the man behind our National Braai Day initiative?
Pictures: Stephanus Rabie and supplied
I have a few favourite views in South Africa. Table Mountain seen from Bloubergstrand, Robben Island seen from the top of Lion’s Head, False Bay as you come over Sir Lowry’s Pass, the Orange River at Oranjekom close to Augrabies Falls, the view of South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe from the top of Mapungubwe Hill, the lighthouse at Cape Point. But my favourite holiday destination view has to be the Swartberge seen from the stoep of a cottage in Matjiesvlei.
Matjiesvlei is a small, hidden valley in the Swartberg mountains of the Klein Karoo. You enter the valley from the R62 between Ladismith and Calitzdorp. If you look on a map it is right next to Die Hel. From the dam on one side of Die Hel, the Gamka River cuts through the Swartberg and then passes through Matjiesvlei.
A vast expanse of water, quite out of character with the greater area, it’s a great place for clearing your mind, and probably my favourite braaing place in South Africa.
The valley sits not so much at the foot of the mountain as on its lower slopes, so your views of the cliffs are phenomenal and the place is jam-packed with aloes and spekbos. Book it through www.calitzdorpaccommodation.co.za and you want the Middelplaas Cottage as it has a fantastic fireplace in the living room and, in front of the house, one of the most picturesque braais that you will encounter in your life.
National Braai Day is on 24 September and, whether you braai on that day in the Klein Karoo, Groot Karoo or anywhere else in our fantastic country, I hope you enjoy celebrating our common heritage with your friends and family.