Cape Town Day 3: Mzoli’s!!

03 May 2015

Today, we had a cheerio with Lena who (after 9 months of travelling!!) is finally returning to her family in Luxembourg. So for our final activity, we went on a Free Tour of Cape Town.

As we had already discovered in the Slavery Museum yesterday, Cape Town has a dark and fascinating history and has made significant social growth in the short time since apartheid rule has thankfully been defeated. I was particularly interested in the benches outside the Cape Town courthouse

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I’ll never be able to comprehend the logic (or lack, thereof) that was applied here.

Finally though, after wishing Lena a fond farewell, Sofia, Tilly and I ventured out to a Cape Town Township of Guguleta to visit a whispered about area for lunch called Mzoli’s.

This is hard to describe…

The taxi pulled up into what looked like a street party… People with drinks, laughing, selling a few goods here and there… And we were dropped outside what appeared to be a butchers with an enormous queue!

All we knew in the first place was that it was good for meat and BYOB, so Sofia and I were expecting something like our beloved Cubata back in Port Elizabeth… We were quite wrong! It’s something all together quite different, and exciting in a brand new way! For its wild uniqueness, it’s much easier to deliver Mzoli’s to you in the form of a how to (not just in case any of you should wish to visit, but also because it helps to keep my memories of it in order!)

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1. Collect your alcohol of choice (a few cold beers perhaps) and hop in the taxi, who will drop you outside the butchers. Join the queue!

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2. Once inside the butcher’s, you select the meat you’re going to have for your meal. Not only are you completely spoiled for choice (pork chop? Lamb chop? Steak? Ribs? Chicken?), but the prices are greater than fair making it very easy to get carried away! For this reason, each of us ended up with a rather excessive amount…

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There were two two items offered as a side, Papa and Chakalaka. I’d never heard of either of these before so, of course, I ordered both of them. You should also detail which flavour you’d like your meat to be cooked in- barbeque or spicy. I chose both.

You’re then given a two copies of a hand written ticket detailing your purchase

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And, once at the end of the queue, you pay. At the point of paying, you should also ask for entry to the Mzoli’s Area, which will cost you R20.

3. Now you’re all paid up and ready to go, you continue forward through the butchers to the Braai area!

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You hand your box of meat and one copy of your ticket to one of the brilliant braaiers, then head back outside.

4. Once you’re back outside, turn left and walk about 50m forward where you’ll find the entrance to the large tented area that is everything that makes Mzoli’s.

Inside, you’ll find a fantastic party complete with DJ, dance floor and everyone having an amazing time!

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At this point, you’ll see it. Mzoli’s can only be described as a Meat Party! The atmosphere here is like nothing else! Total happiness with a great love of three things; food, music, and all the people who love it too! Everyone is welcome, and everyone is up for dancing! The entire place screams a passion for friendship and the delicious that comes from the Braai Room!

5. Find a spot to sit, and enjoy the company of your friends with your drink. After about 20 minutes, head back to the Braai Room where you left your collection of meat, taking your other copy of your ticket with you. It should be ready, or close enough, so collect it (and leave a tip if you can, after all these guys are slaving away all day in an insanely hot space cooking meat to absolute perfection). If, like me, you’ve ordered Papa or Chakalaka, you collect this on your way out from the counter opposite the butcher’s counter (again, you’ll need to display your ticket).

Now return to your seat and enjoy!

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(Papa is the white stuff- a kind of cornstarchy mash. Chakalaka is like a cold, fresh, salsa. Both simple, but very tasty, particularly when enjoyed beside a farms worth of meat!)

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Once you’re full or done, flee the table and have a little dance with the others! But for goodness sake, keep belongings with you and an eye on your pockets.

6. The Meat Party that is Mzoli’s only runs 13:00 – 18:00 at the weekend (with Sunday reputed as the best day to go). With this being somewhat in the middle of nowhere, taxi’s aren’t exactly flying around and the road is getting more and more packed up with traffic the closer you get to 18:00. I would strongly recommend from experience that, when the taxi drops you off there you arrange your collection with the driver too. We sadly did not think so far ahead, and we incredibly lucky that the man running the Mzoli’s show took us under his wing, called a taxi for us and stood with us in the busy street while we waited! The further the sun went down, the stranger the people became, but he would let a single one near us! We were incredibly grateful to him, but would obviously do things differently (as recommended) if the opportunity ever arose to visit again!

We then took our exhausted selves back to the Hostel bar where we enjoyed a few final drinks with the others staying at Ashanti (which turned into quite a few, actually) bidding a very fond farewell to the brilliant Cape Town!

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