14 Interesting Things I Found In and About Mpumalanga

Mpumalanga is known for larger than life Avocados and Paw-Paws

Mpumalanga is known for larger than life Avocados and Paw-Paws

Mpumalanga is known for its nature, sight-seeing, well I’m not discussing that here.   I’ll leave it for travel sites and magazines to showcase all of that……

You know when you are chilling and decide to observe people, the things they do and way of life?  In my opinion, getting to know different people, their world and circumstances helps us to understand the reasoning or thinking behind the things they do, the way they dress, the food they consume and their overall outlook in life.  In Xhosa we say “ukuhamba kukubona”  meaning travelling gives one exposure…..This is what I observed and found interesting in the province:

Natia van Heerden – executive chef and owner at Summerfields Deli.  I had an interview with her and you’ll get to know more about this young and talented lady in another post.

Natia Van Heerden and Thuli

Natia Van Heerden and Thuli

View at Sabie River – As I was sitting in front of this river I found myself belting out the Mafikizolo track “meet me at the river”.  I’m sure they had this view in mind when they penned down that song.  It’s breathtaking and I couldn’t get enough.

Sabie River

Sabie River

Unfortunately, being at the river came with its fair share of danger and warnings such as “do not walk around the river before 6 in the morning and after 6 in the evenings otherwise you’ll be breakfast or lunch for the hippos” Ouch!  Imagine that!

Warning signs at the river

Warning signs at the river

Atchar – Atchar is sold in a serving size in tied up plastic bags and also in pouches.  I found the tied up version at a food store and asked the owner’s permission to take a photo.  The owners are indian and they had a good laugh at me wanting to take pictures of the atchar.

Atchar in tied up plastic bags...the demand must be fierce!

Atchar in tied up plastic bags…the demand must be fierce!

 

On the otherhand, Spar offers more or less the same quantity but in descent packaging (pouch) at a reasonable price.  I need this single serve atchar in my life.  They need to bring it to this side of the country i.e. Cape Town.  I’m sure there’s a substantial amount of atchar consumers who would love to have it offered in this single serve portions.

Atchar at Spar

Atchar at Spar

Chicken Hearts at Pick ‘n Pay – I have had a handful of emails asking where I bought the chicken hearts used in my recipes.  I always buy items like chiken feet, chicken hearts, fresh tripe etc at the Spar in Gugulethu Square.  You stand in a queue and have the quantity you want weighed out.   Seeing the chicken hearts nicely packaged and presented like the way they are on the photo below was refreshing.  It’s a rare sight!

Chicken Hearts

Chicken Hearts

Interesting People – Whoever said small town people are boring?  This dude on the left was walking around like he owns the town.  I’m sure his hairstyle gets him attention.  Well, he got my attention and I asked for a photo which he happily obliged to have it taken.  Talk about small town swag!  He cut his hair very short then CUT rows in between.  It’s crazy but I love it!

Check out this dude's hairstyle.  He says he's got swag for decades!

Check out this dude’s hairstyle. He says he’s got swag for decades

T.J. Corner Kitchen in Sabie – The African food menu is at reasonable prices and generous portions at TJ Corner.  Have a look at their menu….some of the names for their dishes are very interesting! Sheep’s head (Inhloko), Mala Mugodu (Tripe) and I was told Kwere kwere is a chicken dish.

Menu at TJ Corner, Sabie

Menu at TJ Corner, Sabie

 

T.J. Corner Kitchen

T.J. Corner Kitchen

I ordered Chicken Stew with Two Vegetables

Chicken Stew

Chicken Stew

 

It’s all about the Mac baby! – Macadamia Trees and nuts everywhere its not suprising that you find Macadamia spreads and butter.

Macadamia Nut Trees

Macadamia Nut Trees

Macadamia Butters

Macadamia Butters

 

Shesa Nyama – Pick ‘n Pay is a Shesa Nyama.  I kid you not!  I drove around in dire need of a shesa nyama fix.  I asked the locals at the garage and on the street.  I was told to go to Pick ‘n Pay, apparently there’s a shesa nyama there!  I got to Pick ‘n Pay and I was pointed to the braaied meat at the deli.  Ha! They do have already braaid meat and its as good as the meat you would braai for yourself at home.  I was impressed with the deli section, they offer interesting items such as chicken giblet stew, morogo etc.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a picture.

 

Matemba – I found matembas in descent packaging (but not quite descent enough).  Remember on my introductory post on Matemba I mentioned that you find it from street vendors?  Well, the Spar in Hazyview sells Matemba in packaging.  It’s refreshing enough to find them sold at a retail store as big as Spar!  They are packed by a Zambian company (according to the country telephone code), but unfortunately there’s no web address on the packaging.  A 100g packet goes for R12.98 and on my till slip the matemba are referred to as Malalapipe Fish!

Matemba

Matemba / Malalapipe Fish

Street Craft – You know those crafty guys making interesting thing with their hands using wire?  Well, the guys making this art are chasing white people like dogs chasing a moving car.  It’s annoying and it got me thinking….don’t they have tourists from different race groups? Or perhaps they know all the white locals therefore every unfamiliar white person is supposed to be a tourist. Or peharps us black folks don’t buy their stuff?  Come on black, coloured, indian and chinese people!  If you happen to be around that area, please show these brothers some love by buying something from them.    Let us rewire their brains!

Street Craft, Sabie

Street Craft, Sabie

 

Banana Trees! Lots of them!

Banana trees

Banana trees

They even make Banana Chutney!

Banana Chutney

Banana Chutney

 

Eco friendly fire starter packs going for R7.99–  I mean, whoever came up with the idea to put together intsasa and old newspapers is clever and knows how to make money.  Besides, our generation doesn’t know how to start fires anymore!  We just use fire lighters.  This idea takes us back!  I love it!

Eco-friendly fire starter packs

Eco-friendly fire starter packs

 

 

Friendly Vendors – I bought Macadamia Nuts from this lady and asked her to pose for a picture for me.  She was very sweet!

Friendly lady (street vendor) in Nelspruit

Friendly lady (street vendor) in Nelspruit

 

African Market at the Wild Fig Restaurant in Sabie – The wildebees aroma at this restaurant is alluring!  They have delicious items on their menu!  I’m sure you would agree, the menu screams “South African Food”!  Love it!

African Market Restaurant, Sabie

The Wild Fig Restaurant, Sabie

 

You find this traditional doll at he African Market Restaurant

You find this traditional doll at The Wild Fig Restaurant

The aroma of the Wildebees Potjie is alluring!

The aroma of the Wildebees Potjie is alluring!

Have you been to Mpumalanga?  Do you live in that area?  In your opinion, what do you find interesting about the Mpumalanga Province?  I would love to hear your thoughts!

Author Info

Thuli

Thuli Gogela is a Food Technologist with 8 years of experience developing products in food manufacturing. She is dedicated to discovering wholesome traditional dishes and recipes with a distinctive taste from different parts of the African continent. Thuli is well known for her food blog, Mzansi Style Cuisine which was established in 2010. She saw a gap in the traditional food market that people were hungry for. From there, it didn’t take long to build her brand. In 2013, she started writing a recipe column for the Cape Times for and has collaborated with some of the biggest brands in South Africa namely, Knorr, Nedeburg Wines, First Choice and Spekko rice. Not only does Thuli feature traditional African dishes, she’s also open to developing recipes, food consultations and brand collaborations.

Comments ( 5 )

  • Lovely snapshot descriptions of your trip, Thuli. And all those observant details too – I especially love those eco fire-starter packs.. someone should start making them down here and add a couple of pine-cones too, those are what we use as firelighters!

    • Hi Kit, yes the pine-cones! A friend of mine saw them used as a decor in Sabie and he told me about how they are used to start a fire. Apparently to soak them in paraffin and let them dry out. We learn new things everyday hey! xx

  • Andiswa

    This makes me want to go back to Mpumalanga! I’ve been there once on a very short 4 day trip and I didn’t get to see much. Beautiful pics, wish I could have that bag of avo’s 🙂

    • Thanks Andiswa! I also wanna go back again, a week is not enough to see everything and explore. It is such a beautiful place! xx

      • Hello Thuli
        I need a place in Mpumalanga where they sell chicken feet, chicken hearts etc. Pls email me if know any

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