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Education in Africa…

Satellite image of Africa, showing the ecologi...

Satellite image of Africa, showing the ecological break that defines the sub-Saharan area (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 A Sensative topic and not necessarily a bad one… Yes Africa may need help, but what I have always believed is to rather teach a man to fish rather than give him a fish, meaning that if you teach him to fish he will have an endless supply rather than one fish that keeps him asking for more. This topic is my opinion and is based on my ideas and experience and may not necessarily be 100% factual, but I believe that most of what I have seen and experienced as a Guide and Tour leader, is to a certain extent fact, and I invite comments and ideas around this topic.



education (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Education is sadly under funded and not as accessible to the rural community in Africa as it should be, and even though there are several organisations that are doing their best to improve this, it is a large problem that would take years of work and buckets of funds. I believe that Education would solve many of Africa’s problems, especially poaching of african wildlife, becuase people need to survive and Poaching is an easier source of income, made easier by syndicates offering a a very small percentage of what the syndicates actually end up getting paid for the poached animal. And most of the cases the poachers end up going to jail or even worse get killed trying to provide for their families.

  A large portion of rural Africans survive on subsistance farming, growing maize, cassava, and farming cattle, goats and chickens. And this doesnt necessarliy make them poor, however it is definately a hard way to make a living, where some areas have periodic rain falls and limited resources, which can hinder to a substance farmer’s ability to produce for his family. A large number of subsistance farmers live in traditional houses, that are made from earth, trees and grass. Most of the time these families dont earn an income, and as education is not for free in Africa, an therefore almost impossible to send their children to school, and if they do earn an income, and they see the value of education, they will send their eldest son to school.  As monetary resources are low they believe that their daughters will get married some day and therefore education is not as important.  

When on safari, we often stop to visit a village or stop on the side of the road for a comfort break or picnic, and we occassionaly get in undated with curious villagers. The first reaction from guests is to donate, and my advice on this matter is to rather make donations to organised charities.

Villages that we visit on tour are been helped, in that part of of your tour fee would be contributed to that village, and even staying in community based projects where the villages may even own the property or camp site that we stay at; if a guest want to contribute to this village we organise that they send educational packages from their home country or schools, which in turn go to the local village schools. One particular school in Zululand has had a library built on the funds from tours and children have had their school fees and uniforms and stationery paid for by tourists that donate funds.  The reason for this is to have a controlled environment that would essentially mean that the funds would be used appropriately for future growth and actually go towards what the funds or benefits are intended.

If you as a guest,  want to contribute while you are on Safari, an alternative way, is to donate pens and stationary as these items are hard to come by, and normally an expense for the families. So before you leave home pack a small bag of stationery items.

We also promote spending local, and buying products locally produced.

Even though this topic focused on Education, I believe that education is the foundation to empower people to help themselves. There are many problems in Africa that need solutions, for example Malaria, Medicine etc. and there are organisations that focus on these issues.

Remember very effort, no matter how small it may be, contributes to the future of a child in Africa.

Marog – An African Spinach

The first time I had this vegetable, I thought it was spinach, and for all intense and purposes it certainly is in Africa, used as a traditional spinach. A Zulu friend of mine, took me out into the bush and started harvesting this plant, which to me looked like a weed. She was harvesting this plant with small leaves.
She took it back to the kitchen, and like spinach, placed the bunch of leaves in boiling water. And in a pan started frying up finely chopped onions, tomato and added the boiled leaves of Marog, salt and pepper to taste. This was lunch served with a good plate of Pap (mielie meal/maize flour).

The taste of Marog, is slightly stronger than spinach with a slight earthy and herb flavour, quite frankly better than spinach in my opinion.

Would you like a culinary tour of Africa?

This tour would highlight the different types of ingredients found in africa, and teach you the methods of cooking traditional and non traditional african recipes. The tour would also incorporate visiting local food markets, buying local ingredients and together preparing recipes … Continue reading

Braai’ed snoek, a regional gamefish – Recipe

Snoek-Thyrsites atun

Snoek-Thyrsites atun (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thyrsites atun, the “snoek” or “Cape snoek”, is a long, thin, perch-like commercial food fish belonging to the Gempylidae family. It is found in the seas of the Southern Hemisphere. It is also known in Australasia as barracouta though it is not related to the barracuda.

It can grow up to 200 centimetres (79 in) long and weigh as much as 6 kilograms (13 lb). It is found near continental shelves or around islands and feeds on crustaceans, cephalopods and small fish like anchovy and pilchard. This species will form schools near the bottom or midwater; sometimes even near the surface at night. It prefers sea water temperature between 13 °C (55 °F) and 18 °C (64 °F).

It is found off the coast of Namibia and the coast of the Western Cape and Northern Cape provinces of South Africa. It was originally called the “zee snoek” (Sea Snoek) by Dutch colonists who arrived in the Cape in 1652. It is said to have reminded them of the freshwater pike (or snoek) they found at home in the Netherlands. The snoek is widely distributed in the colder waters in the Southern Hemisphere. It is found from Namibe in Angola to Mossel Bay in South Africa, off Tristan da Cunha in the mid southern Atlantic and off Western Australia, where it is call the barracouta, off Chile and Argentina (where it is called the sierra).[1] Bluish-black on top with a silver belly, the snoek grows to over a metre in length. {http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thyrsites_atun}

Recipe – Braai’d Snoek
I always believe that cooking fish should be kept simple, dont over complicate the matter, why hide the natural flavour of fish, and Snoek is no different. You can buy them smoked or fresh, and what I like to do is Braai (barbeque) snoek in Swakopmund – Namibia, here i can source fresh snoek from a local fishmonger. its as easy as this:


  • Fresh Snoek
  • Salted Butter – depends on the size of your fish about 500g should do it
  • Apricot Jam – about 4 table spoons
  • Lemon juice – juice of 2 lemons
  • salt & pepper


So once your coals are ready, place some tin foil under your snoek which has been butterflied, dont close the fish in foil, then melt the butter with the apricot jam, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste and brush the fish with your butter mixture, and place on the grill of your braai, and every so often brush your fish with the butter, apricot and lemon juice mixture. Braai until the flesh is falling off the bone.

 Serve with baked potato, salad…and a glass of good South African White wine.


Rices and pulses sold at Stonetown Market

Rices and pulses sold at Stonetown Market

If you wandered through a food market in Stonetown, you will discovery a world of spices, rices and pulses. Fresh fruit and vegetables can also be bought.

Potbrood (Beer Bread) Recipe – always a favourite on tour – Yum

A loaf of Beer Bread. Ingredients: 1 12oz bott...

A loaf of Beer Bread. Ingredients: 1 12oz bottle beer 3 cups flour 1/3 cup sugar Bake at 375 for 30 minutes, give or take. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Also one of my favourite recipes and very easy to make

here is my take on a simple beer bread recipe:



  • 500 g self aising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 20-30 ml sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 340 ml beer
  • grated cheese
  • chopped spring onion

Combine all dry ingredients, add beaten egg and beer ( at this stage you can add cheese, chopped spring onion) and combine until a dough is formed, place in a cast-iron pot on some coals, place the coals on the lid of the pot. Be sure to not put too many coals on the lid or bottom of pot, we dont want burnt bread. Bake for an estimated 20 min, as this is cooking in an uncontrolled environment ( open fire) be sure to check the bread every now and then to make sure you havent burnt it.

Tap the the bread to check for a hollow sound, or stab a skewer in the centre and when you pull it out the skewer is dry not damp.


Serve with a Potjie stew