Braai and South Africa go together like peanut butter and jelly. For those who don’t know, braai is synonymous with grilling (or barbecuing), and South Africans take it to another level with their own distinct meats and enthusiasm for the activity. Even though National Braai Day in South Africa has already passed us by, it doesn’t mean you can’t keep cooking throughout the rest of the year. Here are the top spots to braai in every South African province.
Island Nature Reserve, Eastern Cape
This reserve is just outside of Port Elizabeth, making it convenient for tourists headed to the area. You can marvel at the coastal forests while throwing some boerewors or fresh prawns on the braai. There are numerous picnic sites in the area, along with several walking trails. Entrance is free to the park and it’s open every day of the year.
Karkloof Nature Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal
Braai near a scenic waterfall at this picturesque reserve. It is located on the eastern edge of the Midlands Meander, which means foodies can easily stock up before heading in. There are many picnic and swimming areas in the park as well. Entrance is free year round.
Mokala National Park, Northern Cape
An hour drive from Kimberley, you’ll find the scenic Mokala National Park, one of the newest additions to South African National Parks. Those looking for seclusion will love this spot as it’s conducive to getting away from it all, and there are plenty of great facilities for cooking. Entrance fees are between R30 per adult and R15 per child for South Africans. Foreign visitors will need to pay R120 per adult and R60 per child.
Mac Mac Pools, Mpumalanga
Mac Mac Pools is another great waterfall-side braai spot. The pools are located by a river which form a series of fantastic natural swimming areas. There are plenty of shelters and picnic spots in the vicinity, along with a nice nature trail to work off those kebabs. Entrance fee is between R10-R20 per person.
Buffels Bay, Western Cape
If you’re looking for an incredibly scenic view while you braai, it doesn’t get much better than Buffels Bay in Table Mountain National Park. While you’ll sometimes get a strong breeze coming off the ocean, it’s usually not enough to affect your cooking. The entrance fee is R90 for adults and R40 for children. Don’t forget to bring your own grid and firewood.
Koppies Dam Nature Reserve, Free State
Located on the Highveld of the northern Free State, Koppies Dam Nature Reserve is the perfect place to combine a braai with fun water activities. Visitors can partake in water skiing, windsurfing, fishing and sailing along the calm Koppies waters. And there are plenty of thatch shelters and braai facilities nearby for cooking up a storm. Entrance to the park is free.
Fish Eagle Picnic Spot, North West
Those looking to see wildlife while having a braai will thoroughly enjoy the Fish Eagle picnic spot inside Pilanesberg National Park. There are several spots inside to fire up your grill, and you’ll be able to see hippos, crocs and bird life while you eat. Don’t worry, the area is fenced off so the animals won’t get in (though birds have been known to fly in and steal snacks). Entrance fee is R65 for adults and R20 for children.
Polokwane Nature Reserve, Limpopo
Polokwane is another fun place to see wildlife while having a braai. There won’t be lions roaming around, but you can see other animals such as zebra and antelope. There is a guided hiking trail on the premises as well, perfect for building up an appetite for some boerie rolls. Entrance to the park is free.
Groenkloof Nature Reserve, Gauteng
Located just outside of Pretoria, this large reserve is near one of the oldest game sanctuaries in the country. Throughout the park, you’ll be able to see animals like blue wildebeest, giraffe and zebra, among others. There are also several hiking and horse trails in the area to enjoy. Ample picnic areas are available as well — just make sure to bring your own firewood. The entrance fee is R25 for adults and R18,50 for children.
For more information on where to braai in South Africa, please see the Complete South African Outdoor Braai Map.