Safari 2018 #52 Braaivleis

by david on October 16, 2019

As we were leaving Bamunu, we were amazed at the people heading into the village for the festival.  It did not officially start until the next day, but evidently some wanted to get an early start. I had been skeptical of the 7000-9000 people estimate, but the number of cars overflowing with people soon changed my mind.  We made it to Katima and the town appeared to have gone completely insane. People were getting ready to leave and every street, parking lot, and store were filled to overflowing. There were cars, open trucks, and buses all filled to capacity and perhaps a little bit more.  People in traditional clothing and cars with the African equivalent of sports flags on the windows were everywhere. Their version consisted of a leopard print or traditional weaving attached to the hood or trunk of their cars. It was actually quite cool. I was happy to have had a small part in the festival by providing some of the meat.  These people took pride in their heritage and traditions and it was nice to be a witness to it all. I was also happy after witnessing everything to be headed away from the crowds.

It took us an hour to get the few items we needed from the grocery store.  We needed some ingredients for our Braai (pronounced “bry” like “cry”). Braai is Afrikaans and loosely translated to barbeque.  It is a derivative of the word, braaivleis, which is Afrikaans for roasted meat. While a braai can be cooked over charcoal, it is more correct when it is done over wood flame and coals.  We were staying at a self-sufficient cottage and doing our own cooking so a braai suited us just fine. Our cottage ended up being a huge canvas tent pitched on a concrete slab. It was attached to a cinderblock building with a shower, toilet and sink.  The kitchen was an outdoor one on the front portion of a slab. It was complete with a sink, refrigerator, cooktop and a braai. It was a pretty cool setup. We unloaded the gear and got everything put away in the kitchen. Jonas built a fire and let it burn down to coals suitable for cooking.  Johann and I took our drinks to the pool for a quick soak. How in the world the water could be a cold as it was, with the days as hot as they were, I will never know. We got used to it and proceeded to enjoy our drinks and talk about whatever came to mind. The chill eventually got to me and I climbed out and walked back to the tent.  The fire looked inviting and as I approached the warmth it generated was amazing. It felt wonderful. With a refreshed cocktail, I was content to stand there and let the heat dry me off. I have said it before many times and probably say it a few thousand more but standing around a fire with good friends and a cold drink is very hard to beat.  It was extremely pleasant. When Johann added the gemsbok steaks (one of my most very favorite things in the whole world) and two racks of lamb ribs to the fire, the resulting smoky aroma was just about more than I could stand. The sandwich back in camp eight or so hours ago was completely gone and my stomach was growling loud enough to rattle my backbone.  The cooking process was not overly long, just long enough for one more brandy and Coke. We proceeded to founder ourselves during dinner, pausing between mouthfuls to talk about the events of the last few days and to start thinking about future adventures. It was a pleasant and relaxing evening.

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