South Africa with Gregg Wallace (2021)
'I'm in South Africa, 'exploring its wild coast, 'vast savannahs... '..green valleys...' Cheers. Cheers. '..And stunning cities.' Do you ever get tired of this view? Never. 'I'll be discovering the wildlife...'
Go on, you go. There you are. Yeah! '..The culture...' Wow. '..And, of course, savouring the cuisine of this diverse country.'
That is absolutely delicious. I'm taking my taste buds on the road for an epic adventure. 'On the trail of the flavours 'and food, glorious food...' That is lovely. Cheers. '..Of the real South Africa.' When you think of South Africa, you think safari.
So where better place to start my journey than here? Why do you do this job, Rogan? Look at it, this is my office. How could I not love what I do? I can't wait to get to grips with this country and I'm beginning here in Amakhala, a 21,000 acre pioneering wildlife and conservation reserve just north-east of Port Elizabeth. Hey, look at that big mud bath with the warthogs.
'This is a whole new world of adventure for me.' Love them! 'But ranger Rogan Kiley has spent the last two years 'monitoring endangered species on the reserve 'and growing some impressive facial hair.' Do warthogs live in holes in the ground? They do live in underground burrows.
Right, this is what happens when you don't take your vitamins in the morning. This was a fairly large warthog. Just to give you an idea of how dangerous these animals actually can be. If you have a look here, I'll pull this out for you.
You can feel how it's razor, razor sharp. Whoa. It's almost got a serrated edge. Yep. It's like a steak knife. Yeah. This has got the potential to really do some damage to any animal that's trying to hunt it.
That's a big old beast. Yeah. I love the warthogs, they're so brave and bold. Let's see what else we can go find. 'Now, of course, on safari, the main attraction are the animals 'not the cuisine, but you know, I love my food 'and it's not long before...' Mate, do you have anything to eat? Cos I'm actually a bit peckish.
Yeah, I've got some biltong with us. 'For me, the best way to understand a country is through its food 'and Biltong is a uniquely South African 'form of dried, cured meat.' I personally do not go anywhere without biltong. So, this is just some beef biltong.
Oh, my God, it's like, still on the bone. This is still fairly damp, or moist. It's not salty and it's actually got a little bit of a sweet finish. It's a nice snack and it definitely exercises your jaw muscles, don't it? I'll tell you what, you carry on driving, I'll look after this. So, we've got some giraffe in the distance there. There's baby giraffes over there, right? Yeah, there's one or two youngsters around there.
What can you tell me about the giraffe? Guess how many vertebrae in its neck. 16. So, they have got seven vertebrae in the neck, same as us. Obviously, each one is about that size, whereas ours are probably that size only, and super flexible, despite the size of it, they are able to scratch their backside. Incredible. Do predators not attack giraffes? Yeah, they do occasionally.
You need to have four or five plus lion to take down these massive animals, because they are super tall, as you can see, their legs alone are about 2.1m, and the giraffe has got an extremely powerful kick and there have actually been quite a few lions that have been killed in the process. My God. Happy with that? Yeah, beautiful looking thing, in the treetops. The giraffe have recently been put on the endangered species list.
To get that word out, that's my reason to be here. What are these? These are eland, Africa's largest antelope. Wow. Beautiful. Elands may be huge, but they are by no means the largest animals on the reserve.
Amakhala is home to all five of the so-called Big Five. Elephants, rhinos, buffalo, lion and leopard. The Big Five actually got their name from the European big game hunters who used to shoot them just for pleasure to take 'em home for trophies. And they were called the Big Five
because they were the five most dangerous animals to hunt. But on Amakhala, these majestic beasts are protected, not hunted. For over 20 years, the team here has led conservation efforts to protect many vulnerable species including these giants. Elephants are the largest living land animal, with some bulls growing up to four meters tall, that's almost the height of a double decker bus.
Can you see the zebra? What I love about zebras is they're so gregarious. They live in small family groups but are happy to socialise with loads of other herbivores, like giraffes and impala. As the sun drops lower in the sky, I find my thoughts turning towards dinner. Well, somewhere down the end of this track is where I'm gonna stay the night, but we're going further and further into the bush. There's definitely somewhere to sleep down here, is there, boss? That's what they say. You're not going to just drop me off and drive back again? No.
Hard to believe there's a hotel down here. There, look! Civilisation. Cheers, mate. Cheers, Gregg, I hope you had a good drive. It's very remote. Something smells good. This is like an old fashioned boy scouts camp, with a central kitchen and campfire and the sleeping quarters behind the fence.
Good evening. Hi there, Gregg. 'Riaan Brand is camp cook 'and he's prepared an iconic South African dish for me to taste.' Can I offer you a beer to start off with? Oh, mate, a nice, cold beer. I like it here. Hey, cheers. Asante. To your health.
Yeah, to your health. Oh, thank you. Mm. That's good on a hot day like today. What have we got? Tonight we are having a traditional South African potjiekos. Potjie? It's when we cook in a cast iron pot.
It's a stew, and this particular potjie is kudu and cream. A kudu potjie? Kudu potjie. You know what a kudu is? Is it one of those little clears? No it's one of those big antelope, the ones with the massive horns over there, that's a kudu. 'This must be a South African version of venison.' Sorry, have you actually, honestly, cooked this like this? You put coals underneath and it takes about six hours but you eventually get there. Fabulous, fabulous.
Here, so let's set you up with a little bit of potjie. There's kudu, cream, mushrooms, onions, there we go, and a bit of roosterkoek. The roosterkoek, you almost use as a dipping bread.
Now, let's have a look at this. Oh, that meat is really, really succulent. That tastes like the inside of a really good steak and kidney pie. Yes, that long, slow cooking process. Oh, my friend! Let's have a go at this bread.
Couldn't eat that with no teeth, could you? That's not a light bread. It's got a heavy crust on it, yes. Let me tell you, that is absolutely delicious. Cheers. Cheers. To your first potjie.
To my first potjie, don't think it's going to be my last. THEY CHUCKLE The closer you get to the equator, the quicker the sun sets. One moment, I'm eating dinner in the light, then, 15 minutes later, I'm taking a moonlit stroll to bed. Oh, wow, it's properly a tent, like a safari tent, look. It's very smart... ...but it is a tent, a proper tent and I am sleeping here tonight, I'm not making it up.
In a minute, they're gonna go away, the camera man and the sound man, and I'm going to be here in the pitch black, in the middle of the African bush. And I'm from a council estate in South East London. This is slightly unnerving. FROM INSIDE: I'm all on me own.
Believe it or not, this is the first time I've ever spent a night under canvas. WILD ANIMAL NOISES There is definitely something crawling about out there but there's no way I'm going to go and check out what it is. L'lljust clap my hands loud and hope it goes away. Well, I've just spent the night in a tent in the middle of the bush, and I must admit, it was a little bit nerve-racking and I didn't sleep particularly well but now I've done it, I feel really confident which is just as well, because I'm about to get up close and personal to one of the most elusive of beasts. I'm going to say hello to a leopard.
Well, I don't know about you, but when I think about South Africa I instantly think about safari and wildlife, and of course, that's the Big Five. Elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard. But the most secretive of all of those, the one that's the hardest to spot is the leopard. Well, today, I'm going behind the scenes with the people who care for these beautiful animals and I'm hoping to do just that.
Leading conservationist and internationally renowned wildlife Vet Dr Will Fowlds heads the team. Morning. Morning, welcome. Tell me, what are we hoping to do today? So, the plan is we're going to be changing the collar on one of our cats. He's a young cat, he's under two years old, so he's growing and his existing collar is getting a bit tight.
'The collar enables the vet team to track the leopard 'so they can monitor his health and ensure he stays 'safely within the protective borders of the reserve. 'Leopards are vulnerable to illegal poaching.' How do you catch the leopard to change its collar? So, we are going to push our luck a little bit today with trust.
'For the past two weeks, the team have been feeding the leopard 'as preparation for today.' We're going to get food ready in the normal way and while that happens, we're going to try and dart him. OK. In here? Yes.
34% of South Africa is covered in savannah like this, the leopard's preferred habitat. So that he doesn't associate food with people, they feed the leopard from behind the green fence. We're in luck, he's already looking for breakfast. So, this is our bait.
Normally, I just feed him and he takes it on his own but we want to give Will, Dr Will, the opportunity to put a dart in him so we're going to attach it to a chain so he won't be able to take it immediately and go. Gotcha. 'Let's hope that half a wild boar 'proves a tempting snack.' WHISPERS: We need to go.
We're just going to drive out and leave him be so that Will can do the dart. 'As a wildlife vet, Dr Will has years of experience 'darting wild animals. 'We retreat to a distance where the leopard can't see, 'smell or hear us.' You can already, look, you can already see him.
He's just in front of that little box. Yeah. He's taking that food as far as he can, isn't he? Yeah. He's tugging it. Right, OK. Which is perfect, that's exactly what we wanted. He can smell Will, he can't see him.
Bull's-eye. You can tell Dr Will's done this before. Wow, phew, it's nerve-racking, isn't it? Very, yeah. Especially with something so special as a leopard.
Yeah, it's tense. Yeah, it is. ENGINE STARTS There's no time to waste. We have just 15 minutes to attend to the leopard before the tranquiliser drug wears off. He's breathing, he's OK? We had a little anxious moment because he disappeared from view, he's gone in and hidden himself under this bush, I couldn't see whether he'd fallen badly.
I'm, I think, about 12 feet away from a sleeping leopard. 'The leopard's beautiful fur 'provides the most effective camouflage in the animal kingdom.' Look at this, look. Oh, my word.
That is a beautiful, beautiful thing. Under Dr Will's expert eye, the leopard gets a full health check as well as a new collar. He still has some awareness, so his eyes are covered to prevent stimulation. Gregg, do you want to help me? If I'm not in the way in any way.
No, you're good. You have to hold these little things for me. I'll take it off for you. Can I... Can I touch? Absolutely, yeah.
He's got beautiful, soft skin. He's so strong. He's an athlete, isn't he? Of all the cats, they're the most dextrous, their reflexes are the quickest, they are super predators, they're just amazing things. Are they your favourite? They are, they are. I can tell. I can tell. 'Leopards are spectacular hunters. 'Fully grown, they can run at 58km an hour 'and carry prey twice their own bodyweight up a tree.'
Just going to check his paws and claws. Wow. These are his weapons. I wondered where his claws were. Why is that claw important? They actually use their claws to catch prey and they use their mouths to kill it.
Check teeth, make sure there's nothing broken. They are formidable weapons. Sharp as razors too.
I'm, erm... I think this is really quite emotional. I've never been this close to anything so beautiful, so dangerous, so powerful, it's kinda breath-taking in a way. A beautiful thing. While we've got them down, we give them some antibiotics and vitamins.
Plaster? A spotty plaster? SHE LAUGHS Wonderful. The other thing we're going to do today is weigh him. Weight wise, quite important for the treatments we're giving him. 'It's easy to see how experienced this vet team is 'and closely guided by their instructions, 'I feel privileged to lend a hand.'
So, I don't know if you want to weigh yourself. Shall we? Right, climb on there. So, I'm just short of 81 kilos, all right, so, 80.8 kilos. You're going to hold the cat, I'm going to pass him to you. I'm going to stand on the scale with the leopard.
My word. There we go. OK, you're good. OK, hold him under his arms. Whoa! OK, who's watching the scale? Oh! Tell us when you're good. GREGG LAUGHS
Oh, my word! 124, OK, we're good, thank you. You got him? Yep. You got him. No way, no way.
So, Gregg, we've done everything we need to do, next thing is just to wake him up. This is the antidote. I'm going to stick it in this muscle here, and this is exactly the same stuff as you would use if you were taking your pussy cat in for a... a spay or a castration at a vet clinic in the UK. So how long till he wakes up? Antidote's in now so we need to get moving.
Right, OK, fine. WHISPERS: Look, he's stirring. He's waking up. Look. This is life-changing for me. This is a whole new world of interest I never knew about. That was incredible.
And quite emotional. I just want to see him get up and run about so I know he's OK. 'And he's up on his feet, a little unsteady but doing fine.' We need to back away now before he gets awake. Yeah, OK, all right. If this has been life-changing for me, then Dr Will wants to show me the animals that have been life-changing for him.
You like it here, right? Yeah, this is my dream, you know, to make a difference. And I think, the important thing now is to create more space to link up reserves like this, join them together, but just keep on expanding. See, right there. Oh, yeah, I think so, it could be a bush. It could be a bush, but it's not. Oh, no, no, no, got him!
Oh, wow. 'These creatures are living dinosaurs, 'with the skin of a dinosaur, 'an incredible 5cm thick.' They're just grazing, right? They've got no front teeth so they are using their lips to break off that grass, and just shovelling it in.
'It's hard to believe these heavily armoured creatures 'are soft and gentle herbivores.' We've lost over 8,000 of these animals in the last decade in South Africa alone. You're kidding me. 8,000. And if we don't do something, we're in danger of losing them completely. Absolutely, if we don't take it for granted that we have this... privilege, but it's also a huge responsibility to ensure they succeed and are around for future generations.
These things inspire people to do better for the environment, I've no doubt about it. What an extraordinary thing, look. Ha-ha! He is just like a happy-looking thing. Incredible. 'Next time, I'm in Cape Town 'exploring the wine lands of the Western Cape.'
Oh, that's a beautiful grape. 'And taking a ride 'to the highest point of South Africa's mother city...' Let's go. Are we not high enough up already, Kurt? '..Table Mountain.'
Subtitles by ITV SignPost GREGG WALLACE: 'I'm in South Africa... 'exploring its wild coast, 'vast savannahs... '..green valleys...' Cheers. Cheers.
'..And stunning cities.' Do you ever get tired of this view? Never. 'I'll be discovering the wildlife...'
Go on, you go. There you are. CHEERING Yeah! Woo-hoo! '..The culture...' Wow. '..And, of course, savouring the cuisine 'of this diverse country.'
That is absolutely delicious. I'm taking my taste buds on the road for an epic adventure. 'On the trail of the flavours, 'and food, glorious food...'
That is lovely. Cheers. Wonderful. '..Of the real South Africa.' 'I'm exploring the Western Cape - 'one of South Africa's most beautiful regions. 'It's where the cool Atlantic Ocean meets the warm waters 'of the Indian Ocean, 'creating one of the world's most iconic coastlines.' 'And it's home to South Africa's best-known city... 'Cape Town!' My starting point for a journey across the tip of the African continent.
I love cities, but rarely have I seen a city as beautiful as that. Look. Cape Town, you are stunning. 'It's called South Africa's mother city - 'and the best way to see it is from its highest point.' It's quite a long way up, innit? Whoa. HE LAUGHS That's ridiculous. Look, the floor of this car moves,
that's so that everybody on the cable car can get a view. 'I am now on the top of possibly the most recognisable mountain 'in the world - Table Mountain! 'I'm always happiest at a table, 'and this one promises the best seat in the house.' Cape Town is a stunning city, and where would it be without its famous Table Mountain? 'Its name derives from its flat top.
'260 million years in the making, 'it's one of the oldest mountains in the world. 'A prehistoric showstopper! 'It's dry and hot up here, with soaring summer temperatures, 'but Table Mountain looks amazingly green. 'Guide Marie Abrahams reveals the secret behind its good looks.' We've got our local vegetation here. That is bone-dry, isn't it? It is.
We have strong winds in summer, and it brings a lot of cloud cover on top of the mountain, and the clouds bring in moisture, and it traps in these plants. Even though it doesn't rain, because it's so high up, it touches the clouds, and the clouds have moisture? Yes. Mother Nature never ceases to amaze me. Fabulous stuff.
'Up here, it's not just the plants 'that have adapted to the dry conditions. 'The animals have, as well. 'Whilst this lizard 'is seeking some shade from the soaring summer heat...' '..this little fellow is enjoying a spot of sunbathing!'
'He's a dassie, also known as a rock rabbit.' 'And even more confusingly, 'he's one of the closest-living relatives of the elephant!' 'Dassies obtain most of the water they need from their food, 'so they can go clays without a drink, 'unlike the rest of us.' 'Table Mountain is Africa's number one visitor attraction. 'It gets over a million visitors a year.' 'Whilst the wildlife up here 'has learnt how to cope with the dry conditions, 'the tourists need a little help!' Are you Kurt? Yes, I'm Kurt. Pleased to meet you.
Come on, behind the scenes. 'Operations manager for The Cableway Company, Kurt Kinnear, 'let me in on a little-known secret.' Can I come down there? Yes, you may. Wooh! Kurt, how high up are we? 1,067 meters above sea level. That's the edge of the mountain. Look. So, what we have here is the tank.
So, you're unloading water from here? Yeah. Offloading one ton of water into the tank I'm standing on. 'There's no piped water on the mountain top, 'so all the water used up here is brought up by cable car - 'up to 4,000 litres at a time.' Do you know what? If I asked people what they would expect to find in a cable car, water would never make it in. I don't think so at all. 'In windy weather, the water tanks help to stabilise the cable cars. 'Ingenious.' Mate, can I take a selfie? Definitely! Me and you at the top of mountain. No problem.
Ready? Smile. There we go. How many members of the public come in here? Never? Never. You're one of the lucky ones. GREGG LAUGHS 'And it doesn't end there!' I'm here to take you to my office. Up there? Up there. Crikey.
Let's go! Are we not high enough up already, Kurt? Er, let's take you higher. Welcome to my office. Do you ever, ever get tired of this view? Never. We're on the highest point of the highest point of my city.
Do you not get scared standing up here? Not at all. I mean, who would? Have a look. It's ridiculous. KURT LAUGHS Can you imagine yourself living anywhere else? Erm, no. Born, bred, raised... It's the mother city, it's my mother city.
'Now, you know what they say - what goes up must come down. 'And below me, lies Signal Hill, and my route back to the city. 'I'm going off-road.' I've found a way of getting downhill into the city, using nothing but gravity. 'Scooting is a Cape Town speciality, 'but it's my first time.'
'No engine, no pedals, just brakes.' Whooaaa! Vvhayvvv! 'This is called Signal Hill, 'because it's where they used to fire guns to send messages to ships 'in Table Bay.' Whoa. Agh! 'And there's Table Mountain - I've been up there!' That was great! 'And at the bottom of Signal Hill, is my next port of call - Bo-Kaap.' 'I'm going for an explore!' 'Bo-Kaap is one of the oldest residential areas of Cape Town.
'It's a maze of small streets, 'staircases and shady corners.' Look at the bright colours on the houses! They are all painted different colours. 'Although they've got very narrow fronts, 'these houses go back a long way. 'Apparently, that's a clever way to keep them cool!' I don't know whether that is true, but I like it. 'This is all new to me, so I'm just gonna follow my nose.' What a fabulous shop.
The smell... Well, it's beyond a smell, it's a cloud, a fragrant cloud, it's almost like I'm showering in spices. 'These spices were introduced to South Africa 'by slaves from Malaysia and Indonesia in the 18th century. 'They became known as the Cape Malays, 'and Cape Malay cuisine is what Bo-Kaap is famous for.'
Tamarind. Look at this, they've got about four different types of Tamarind. Pure tamarind paste. I love the sharpness of tamarind. Look at all these spices and dried herbs. I mean, compare that to our supermarkets at home.
'For me, the best way to understand a culture is through its food.' I'm starving. 'I've been invited to the home of Gamidah Jacobs, 'who's going to share with me 'some of the secrets of Cape Malay cooking.' Gamidah? Yes. I'm Gregg. Nice to meet you.
Nice to meet you. You're gonna give me a cookery lesson, aren't you? I am. Can I come in? Come inside. So, what we're going to make, is some koeksisters. Some what? Koeksisters.
It's like a doughnut, but a spicy doughnut. Why have you chosen that to make? Because it's very, very traditional, and you only find it in Cape Town. Can you take me through the spices you're going to use here? OK, so we've got the cinnamon, we've got a cardamom, we've got our aniseed, we've got our ginger, and a little bit of mixed spice. That's quite extravagant - that's a lot of spice, there. Can I just have a sniff? Mm-hm. Ahhh. Do you know what that is to me? That's...
Heaven? Yeah. That's like a ride on a magic carpet, that is. I'm telling you. OK. Can I lend a hand? Can I do it? Yes, I want you to do it. Right. So that is mashed potato. That is mashed potato. So we're going to add all the spices in there.
Beautiful. Whoa. So, what we're going to do, we're going to add, first, all the dry ingredients. We're going to add the milk. Anything else? An egg. Come on, let's get the egg in.
There we go. Knead it. Can you flour my surface for me? I will do it for you. Right. Now, how would you describe, to me, Cape Malay cuisine? It's very exotic, it's very spicy, its palatable. Exotic, spicy, palatable - you could be describing me, you know.
Are you exotic? Well, I'm quite exotic in south-east London. OK. SHE LAUGHS That, I think, is a good dough. What do you reckon? Let me feel. Mm. Light, fluffy, airy - perfect. So, what do we do now? We have to wait till it rises for about an hour. 'The risen dough is then fried in hot oil 'and drizzled in syrup.'
They smell heavenly. Mm-hm. Listen, do you use a fork or do you use your fingers? Fingers. ls that South African cutlery? Yes, yes, yes. Oh. Oh, they are really soft and sticky. Yes.
They're not firm like a doughnut. No, no. They're wet like a fig. Mm-hm. Ohh, it's sweet, most certainly, but the spice... Mm-hm. Cinnamon, aniseed, cardamom. That is about a million calories a look.
I have to agree with you. That is naughty, isn't it? Very naughty. Yes. I'll tell you what I'll do, just make little ones. Smaller ones. Bite size. Yeah, yeah, yeah. There you go. That, my sweet and indulgent friend, is a thing of absolute beauty. You are a great cook.
I'm lucky enough to eat in lots of smart restaurants, and the best food I ever eat is in somebody's house. Thank you very, very much. You're welcome. Oh, they're good.
'Right, time to head to 'one of South Africa's most beautiful regions. 'These are the wine lands of South Africa's Western Cape - 'one of the country's most stunning landscapes.' 'And around here, there's only one way to travel.'
'This is the wonderful wine tram through Franschhoek.' This tram stops at vineyards. You can get off, have a tasting, and then back on the tram again. 'What a great way to sample all the different wines! And there are over 8O independent vineyards in this town, and Franschhoek is known as the food and drink capital of South Africa.
My kind of town, right? 'Franschhoek means 'French corner' in Afrikaans - 'named after the first French settlers 'who started growing grapes here.' 'They must be getting something right, 'because in the UK, 'we now drink more South African Wine than we do French. 'They must get through a lot of bottles here.' 'Well, this is the end of the line for me, this is my stop,' and I'm going to meet an award-winning entrepreneur. If anyone's bottled South Africa's entrepreneurial spirit, then it's the owner of Green Spot Recycling, Jocelyn Van Der Ross.
She's the 2019 Recycling Champion of South Africa for her pioneering work. Gregg, come! Look at me, look. Look. I don't mind lending a hand, Jocey. Can you tell me exactly how you started this business, please? 2004, I moved to Franschhoek. This is a valley of wines. Franschhoek people like to drink, you know. So, you noticed that there was lots of empty wine bottles.
At the time, no-one was recycling in Franschhoek. So I saw the opportunity. I'll show you what to do. Got all our bags here. We open the bag... Bit like Christmas, innit? Opening a gift. We see what materials is in here.
Glass bottles go in that box. Plastic bottles goes in this box. Plastic bottles in there, clear plastic. Yes. Coloured plastic, lids, glass. Yes. Fantastic - you're learning fast. Am I doing OK at this? If I turned up would you give me a job? Of course, you know exactly already what product goes where.
So, yes, definitely, I will employ you. Do you know what? If my television career ever comes to an end, I know where I can get gainful employment. How much glass do you recycle here? About 18 tons a week. How much glass is in one of those skips?
Six tons. So you do three of those a week. How much is a ton of glass worth? It's 45 cents a kilo, so 450 rand a ton. You get about roughly 20 UK pounds for every ton of glass.
It's not a great deal of money. Mm-mm. It's little. That is how I maintain the vehicles and everybody's salaries. How many people do you have working with you now? 19 people. 19. Yes. I find your story completely inspirational.
You are doing good for the planet, and giving local people jobs, and you're an entrepreneur. You're my sort of girl. Boom. 'I'm exploring the Western Cape. 'They've been growing vines here for over 350 years.
'And no wonder! 'The vast Cape Fold mountain range shelters these valleys 'and creates ideal growing conditions.' 'Add a dash of sunshine and a scattering of light ocean breeze, 'and you've the winning recipe 'for some of South Africa's finest wines.' 'There are over 2,500 grape growers in South Africa. 'La Petite Ferme is one of many restaurants 'operating in this beautiful area, 'and the food it serves relies on locally-sourced produce.' Look at this. What a beautiful place to work. 'Head chef Kyle Norris shows me around.'
We've got our own herb gardens and our own gardens where we grow our own produce and our own herbs and spices. 'This place began as a fruit farm, growing plums and soft fruits. 'But today, their land is largely devoted to growing grapes, 'which, like many other vineyards around here, 'they bottle themselves.' 'This boutique wine-making means that this one region 'produces hundreds of different tasting wines every year!' You are ahead of the game. I think what you're doing is great. Is there any chance I can see the vineyards? We'd love to invite you to do some harvesting with us, we're busy with it now. Really? Yeah.
What, do you do it by hand? We do everything by hand, yeah. Oh, come on! This is our Shiraz vineyard. Look at those big fat ones, there. Look at them. Obviously, I've drunk the odd glass of wine. I've never harvested the grapes. How... ls there a knack? There is a bit of a trick to it. Basically, I'll take our first bunch, stick your hand underneath it, be gentle, hold in your hand, and just above the knuckle, trim it off.
Right. I've got this, I've got this. Yeah. In the hand, there. Yeah. Make sure they're firm. Just above that little... Just above the knuckle. Yeah, just above the knuckle, there. Cut it down. Put them in the basket. Off you go.
How long have they been making wine in this part of the country? They've been making wines here for centuries. It didn't start of as the vineyards, is was actually fruit farms, and then, because of the quality of the soil, our climate, everything like this, our vineyards grew. And we now produce some of the best grapes in the world. 'Alongside these Shiraz grapes, 'the vineyards grow other familiar South African varieties like Merlot, 'Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon. 'Each with their own distinctive flavour.'
Can I have a taste of these? You may. Are they sweet like table grapes? Erm, no, they've got a bit of a sour taste that you'll taste now, a bit of a sour... flavour. Lots of fruitiness at the end. Oh, that's a beautiful grape. Yeah.
That's got a slight sharpness, but that's beautifully perfumed. Can you taste the peaches in there? Yeah, I'd go peach. Lovely, aren't they? Well, they're nice to nibble, I think they're nicer as a glass of wine. Much better as a glass of wine. 'Soon, I'll sample some local food, 'but first, I want to taste the wine.'
What do we have here, my friend? We've got our Viognier. May I? Yeah, you may. Right. Ooh. Keep it in the glass - that's a good start Yeah. This is going to go well with the dish I'm about to present you. It's our traditional dish - a bobotie. All right, my friend? Bless you. I'll take that.
Bobotie actually is a classic South African Cape Malay dish - very similar to your shepherd's pie or cottage pie. So, traditionally, this is minced lamb sweetened with chutney and spiced. Yeah. And then, rather than a mashed potato top, you have an egg mix. Yeah, we put it in egg mix.
But you've rolled your bobotie up into a little ball and you've panned it. That's it. Yeah. This is a slightly-sweetened curry. It is. But first of all, the flavour is like a jam sweetness. Yes. It's the chutneys that they put in. The homemade chutneys
that we put in. The peaches and the plums, they come from the farm itself. If you take it with your wine, you'll see how those flavours are now enhanced, because of the way this grape is. I think the wine matches this dish perfectly.
You know why this is brilliant with the white wine? Yeah. It's because your bobotie is slightly sweet. That's it. Is there a different feel, a different taste to South African wines than other wines we might find in Europe? I think so, it has its uniqueness. I think from the valley itself in Franschhoek, a lot of our wines have the unique flavours and cultivars. And the top wine and food region of South Africa, Chef, what is it? Franschhoek. Yeah, I kind of thought you might say that. South Africa.
Cheers. Cheers. 'From water to wine, 'I've loved discovering the tastes and the people of the Western Cape.' 'Next time, I head into the heart of the Kalahari - 'across the red and green desert 'to one of South Africa's most spectacular sights - 'the Augrabies Falls.
'And I taste an authentic Afrikaans braai.' Subtitles by email@example.com 'I'm in South Africa, 'exploring its wild coast, vast savannahs...'
'..green valleys...' Cheers. Cheers. '..And stunning cities.' Do you ever get tired of this view? Never. 'I'll be discovering the wildlife...' Go on, you go. There you are. Yeah! Yeah! Woo-hoo! '..The culture...'
Wow! '..And, of course, savouring the cuisine of this diverse country.' That is absolutely delicious. I'm taking my taste buds on the road for an epic adventure. 'On the trail of the flavours and food, glorious, food...'
That is lovely, cheers. Wonderful. '..Of the real South Africa.' I'm heading deep into the vastness of the Kalahari, but, look, if you can see that green strip down there, that is the Green Kalahari, a fertile plain in the heart of the desert. 'The Kalahari Desert is vast - '900,000 square kilometres of red sand and savannah 'in the middle of the continent. 'I'm exploring its southern expanse, starting in Upington.'
Thank you. Thank you very much. Whoa! Whoa! OK, look, it's the desert, right. I expected it to be hot, but this is hot.
It almost sucks the air out of your lungs. HE EXHALES 'This desert isn't a place you want to get lost in, 'but there's no chance of that, 'because I'm following the biggest river I've ever seen in my life. 'The magnificent Orange River is the longest in South Africa. 'It carries water from the distant mountains 'through the heart of the desert all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.
'And, along the way, it turns the red desert green.' You see this? This agriculture here? None of this agriculture, of course, would be possible in the desert without the river. 'Water from the river is used by farmers to grow everything 'from pomegranates to pecans.' You know what that is? That's grapes. And even though this is South Africa, they're not for wine. They are table grapes.
They're the sort of things that will end up in our fruit bowl. 'It looks so green! 'You'd never think you were in the middle of the Kalahari. 'But every now and then, there are clues 'to the soaring desert temperature, but only if you know 'what you're looking at.'
You'd never spot these, driving along. Got to pull up and look at them. 'This is something that, even with my interest in food, 'I've never seen before, but I've been led here by my nose.' Do you know what they are? They are raisins. They are the grapes we've passed, picked and just laid down here on the floor to dry.
In less than ten days, we go from grape to raisins. Now, if you like a raisin in your Christmas pudding, as I do, who knows? They might have come from here. 'Leaving the heady scent of fruit cake behind me, 'I'm back on the road, heading deep into 'the Augrabies Falls National Park. 'Inside the park, I get my first proper taste of desert landscape. 'And from the sound of it, I'm getting close 'to one of South Africa's most spectacular sights.'
These are the Augrabies Falls on the Orange River. They are the fifth-largest falls in the world, which is lovely, but what's amazing is you don't expect to find falls in the middle of the desert. 'Augrabies Falls are an impressive 55 metres high, 'and when the flow is at its height, over 7,800 cubic metres of water 'tumbles over the rock every second. 'That's more water than at Niagara Falls.' The local people here are the Khoikhoi, and the word "Augrabies" stems from the Khoikhoi word meaning "place of great noise", and I can hear why. WATER ROARS 'Over 500 million years, 'the power of falling water has gnawed through sheer granite 'to create a gorge that's 240 metres deep 'and 18 kilometres long.'
I'm sure I've been to more beautiful places in the world, but, right now, I really can't remember when. 'As the sun sets, the bats are out chasing insects, 'and the birds are surfing on the thermals. 'I'm going to enjoy the view from up here for a while, 'because, tomorrow, I'm getting on the water. 'The Orange River is over 2,200km long, 'and, today, I'm going with the flow.'
'I'm continuing my journey into the heart of the desert, 'following the river downstream.' I've been told there's only one way to travel the Green Kalahari - on the water, slowly, so you can see all the beautiful scenery. And it is fantastic.
'At its widest, the Orange River is an unbelievable 48 kilometres wide, 'but like many of South Africa's rivers, 'it's not navigable by boats because of these - rapids.' Whoa! HE LAUGHS Wahey! Fantastic. 'It's not just wildlife like the Cape cormorant 'and the African fish eagle that are jewels in the river's crown. 'The first diamond discovered in South Africa, the Eureka diamond, 'was found on the Orange River in 1867, and there are diamond mines 'all along the banks of the river to this day. 'But, personally, I'm searching for dinner, not diamonds.'
See that place over there? That's where I'm staying the night, and I've been invited to a traditional South African braai. I think that's a barbecue to you and me. 'This is my bed for the night - Khamkirri Lodge, 'a waterside retreat with its own wildlife reserve.'
HE EXHALES Well, that was hard work, but it was also exhilarating. Do you know what? That is the way to see the Green Kalahari. It's silent out there. It's serene. 'Khamkirri is the home of the van Zyl family. 'Danie and Philippa and their three children have lived here 'for the past five years.' I fancy a beer. In fact, maybe a couple of beers.
'Danie is a local guide, and Philippa runs the lodge.' Good evening, good evening. Philippa, right? Nice to meet you. Welcome. You must be Danie? Indeed. What a stunning place!
'Philippa and Danie have turned their BOO-acre piece of paradise 'into a wildlife reserve, dedicated to conserving the animals 'and birds around them. 'But I tell you what, their bird-watching deck 'doubles as a pretty stunning spot for some alfresco dining.' Look, I brought a beer, all right? Oh! Thank you. There we go. This is what you do, is it, a braai and a beer? That's it, cheers. That sounds good. What I'd like to know from you is, what exactly is a South African braai? What's the essence of it? It's a social occasion. We're allowed to make big fires here, and we have big pieces of meat.
'A true braai has to be cooked on an open flame, 'to create authentic Afrikaans dishes.' Right, what do we have in here? Skilpadjies, oortjies, and Springbok fillet. What... What are they? Hang on, hang on, I know what a Springbok is. What's a "gool-pike-ee"? A skilpadjie, translated into English, actually just means, like, a tortoise. A tortoise? But you're not going to be eating a tortoise.
It's lovely. It's sheep's liver wrapped in stomach lining. It's a liver sausage. Just a very tiny one. What's the other one? Oortjies. "Workies"? SHE CHUCKLES Oortjies is "ears" in Afrikaans.
So, that's also just lamb which is wrapped up, also in fat, and it's rolled in a certain way that looks like two sets of ears. So, we're having a tortoise that's not really a tortoise, and some ears that aren't really ears. Ja. Shall we get underway? Definitely. Come on.
'The secret to a successful braai is the quality of the meat 'and the skill of the braaier in getting their timing just right.' I love it. It taps into my creativity. She cooks brilliantly. This, I've been very much looking forward to. You're gonna love it. You're gonna absolutely love it. 'The word "braai" means "roast" in Afrikaans, 'and it's such a South African tradition that it's even got 'a national day dedicated to it.'
Hey! Ooh! There you go. Where's your husband? Where's Danie? I do the cooking, and he cleans the braai. Is that right? Listen, do you mind if I use my fingers? Go wild. Right, I wanna taste this. This one is the...? So, those are the oortjies. Little thin strips of lamb, with fat. That has got a beautiful meaty sweetness, and the fat on there, cos there's quite a bit, is making that luxurious.
Totally. Absolutely delightful. And these things... The skilpadjies. So, the fat actually absorbs into the liver, which just gives it a beautiful flavour That is iron-rich liver... Very good for you. ...with a nice slippery, crispy outside. That is lovely. And this, of course, is the springbok.
That's right. Ooh... That is like a really tender, beautiful, expensive piece of steak. A Springbok, generally, is a beautiful, soft, sweet, subtle meat. This is not like any barbecue I've ever been to in Britain.
This is a proper South African braai, and it is delicious. Awesome. Sun's going down, good company, great food, nice glass of wine... I don't think I could be happier. Cheers.
Wonderful. Enjoy. Cheers. Cheers. 'A red sky tonight, and tomorrow, 'Danie is taking me out to a secret location 'in the heart of the Red Desert.' It's six o'clock in the morning.
I'm coming awake with a cup of coffee, and so is the river. I think this is the best time of day, cos the sun's not yet high in the sky, there is a cool breeze, but it's not really quiet. Those birds are making a lot of noise. It's like a birds' musical.
BIRDS TWITTER 'I'm not the only one who's up early.' Are you going to school? Yep. Do you go to school like that every day? Yes. With no shoes on? Yes. All right, don't let me stop you. HE CHUCKLES This is honestly how you do this every day? Every day! Unbelievable. Do you know what? I'm really jealous. I really am.
It's not like shivering at the bus stop, is it? Waiting for the number 63 in Peckham High Street. Look at them! HE CHUCKLES 'A five-minute boat trip saves the children a two-hour bus ride 'to their local school on the north bank of the river. 'Today, I'm leaving the river behind to explore the Red Kalahari.
'Danie is taking me for a bush drive into the dry heart of the desert, 'where he's got a surprise in store. 'The Kalahari is the second-biggest desert in Africa after the Sahara. 'This vast area is over 900,000 square kilometres and covers parts 'of neighbouring Namibia and Botswana, as well as South Africa.' Are you aware that your life is different? Not really. This is life for us. It's always been life for us.
Like, my kids know no other way. I'm now wondering what else may be completely alien to me. So, for instance, where are your nearest shops? Our main shopping we do in Upington. That's about 122 kilometres from here.
You do 60 to 90 minutes to go and do your shopping? Yes. Each way? Yep, each way. Yep. That's half your day gone. 'Although sand dominates the landscape, 'there are stretches of granite and veins of quartz, 'making for an extraordinary variety of colours and shapes.' The soil is becoming pink. Yeah. And it's gonna keep changing.
As we're driving now, this area, every 20, 30 kilometres, the landscape changes. Wahey! Bouncy. HE CHUCKLES Gravel roads. It's the only way to go.
'And by the side of the road, I get my first glimpse 'of the South African national animal in the wild. Now, is that a Springbok? Oh, wow! Probably the most antelope that you'll find in the Kalahari will be your Springbok in massive herds. 'Springbok are slender, long-legged antelopes 'with distinctive white faces 'and a dark stripe running from their eyes to mouth. Those two chaps walking in front there are young males. They've been kicked out of the herd by the big male. So, they are biding their time, going to the gym, building up some muscle, and then, every now and then, they'll go and challenge him.
There, there, there. There he goes, look. Look, look, look. They're running. There you go. Chased him away. What are you doing? Beautiful animals. All right, there we go. 'Springbok get all the moisture they need from the shrubs they eat 'and can go for years without drinking water.'
People would think that animals and plants here suffer. Nothing suffers here. Everything thrives, cos they're built for the desert.
How hot does it get out here? I think the record temperatures here were about 53, 54 degrees. Have you known it to be that hot? Yes, yes. Ja. Last week, Wednesday, we were at 52. GREGG CHUCKLES 'Danie suggests we call on his friend Norbert Coetzee.
'Apparently, he runs a cafe out here, in the middle of the desert.' Here we go. Look! There's a coffee shop in the middle of nowhere. Oh, that's a beautiful thing here in the desert. Mm. There is nothing else around at all. No. GREGG LAUGHS Come on. That's it. Welcome. I'll treat you to a coffee.
HE LAUGHS Thank you! 'Although he's known round these parts for his coffee, 'Norbert's main claim to fame is that Nelson Mandela himself 'visited his cafe.' Hello, Norbs. Hello, welcome, man. Thank you. How are you? Norbert, this is Gregg Wallace. Hi! Norbert. Norbert? Good to meet you! Yeah, nice to meet you as well, man.
You have a great place. 'Norbert is from the nomadic Nama tribe, who, for centuries, 'roamed across this region. 'When Nelson Mandela became President, 'he granted this land to the Nama people.' '96, Mandela was come here. That's an extraordinary story.
Yeah. Did you actually meet him? Like this. You met Mandela? He said, "You are the man." You met Mandela? He said, "You are the man!" THEY LAUGH 'Wow! I'm shaking hands with a man who shook hands 'with Nelson Mandela. 'On the cafe menu today 'is a local Nama speciality that's cooked outdoors.' OK, OK, this is... Hang on, one moment, one moment. What is this? This is a hole in the ground.
It's the head of the sheep. Sheep's head? Ja. 'The Nama people were shepherds. 'While more valuable parts of the animal were sold for profit, 'the head was reserved for family eating.'
Wow, the heat in there... Is this traditional? This is tradition. 'For a nomadic people, sand ovens could be made anywhere, 'and on desert nights, when the temperature 'dropped below freezing, I can imagine how welcome 'a hot meal would be.' So, you have a coffee shop in the middle of the desert, and, in there, you cook sheep's head in the ground? Listen, I will try it. And you've definitely had it before? Yes, it's lovely. 'I've eaten some challenging food in my life, 'but this may well be the toughest.'
OK. Welcome! Welcome, welcome. Ooh, it's... Like Christmas. It's like Christmas. Oh, that's hot. I'll give you a hand.
There you are. He's already grinning at you, look. Beautiful. 'This dish is nicknamed a "smiley", 'because as the skin heats, it shrinks, 'and the lips pull back to reveal an ear-to-ear grin.'
Make it like this. Ohhh! GREGG CHUCKLES Whoa! Right, OK... Actually, now you've done that, it looks like meat.
Now, break off little pieces here. There you go. Give it a bit of a blow. That's it. OK, let's...
Actually, that's really succulent meat. Once you get past it being a head, that meat's really, really good. It's stronger than lamb. It's like, if you've ever had mutton, it's more gamier. Yeah. Rarely do I get served one of those in a fish and chip shop in London! It put me off a little bit, when it came up as a head, but now we're just eating the meat, it's fine.
There's his tongue. Beautiful. Tongue is the choice bit. Taste it. Very... That is the best. That's more glutinous, more bouncy, but it's the same beautiful flavour. Yeah, good meat. Great meat.
Norbert, good cooking. You are Head Chef. 'Suitably refreshed, we press on into the oldest part of the desert.
'This landscape is one of the most ancient in the world, 'with volcanic rocks dating back one billion years.' Now we're getting some serious mountains. Yes. It's a very unusual landscape. Very. Mountains of the moon. Yeah, mountains of the moon. Yeah. Incredible. 'But there's one thing you don't find on the moon, and that's water.'
Hot springs, right? Is that where you're taking me? Yes. GREGG LAUGHS In the desert. Really, they're not... Are they natural? Yes, totally natural. This bit's all lush and green!
It's the hot springs. Of course, of course. 'The Riemvasmaak Hot Springs sit in a basin amid towering cliffs. 'The springs are the result of ancient volcanic activity, 'where warm water rises from deep in the Earth's crust.' Whoa, it's lovely! It's cool. It's like a beautiful cool shower. Oh, man! Oh, that is gorgeous! GREGG LAUGHS Hold these, hold these.
Wow, that is lovely! Did you bring a bar of soap? THEY LAUGH This is fabulous. 'I never imagined that my journey into the Red Desert would end 'in a pool of clean, clear spring water.' They say South Africa gets into your heart. Well, it's certainly found its way into mine. The sun's going down over the Orange River, and, look, that, that's the Green Kalahari, and here, that's the Red Kalahari.
I don't really know what I expected from the desert, but I didn't expect to see so much water. 'Next time, I take a stunning 300km coastal road trip 'to witness the Marine Big Five...' Yeah! '..Sample the South African chippy...' Look at the size of that! '..And take a trip through Shark Alley.'
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