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South Africa Tour Guide: Best Time To Visit, Things To Do, Places & More – Cox & Kings Blog










 

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“India exists in her stories. Every sight has a tale to offer. And so do places.” Let’s set out to discover South Indian food at a whole new level. Let’s delve into the stories of Indian street food in South India, and lend our ears to the epic taste of flavourful tales.

Image credit: Storytrails.in

south indian food-indian street food Chennai-places to visit in pondicherry, madurai

Discover stories & flavours of local food in South India; Image credit: Storytrails.in

Love South Indian food and the stories behind it? Join Storytrails as they take you on three amazing food trails across the best of South India: Chennai, Madurai & Puducherry. Get a taste of the local and street South Indian food, along with stories of the people, their lives, their cities and their cuisine!

Street Food In Chennai

south indian food-indian street food Chennai

If you are an adventurous foodie, and very, very hungry, go on the Chennai Storytrail

Pav bhaji, pal kova, thattu idli, muruku sandwiches – the street food in Chennai can make your mouth water. How’d you like it served with a pinch of spicy tales? Uncover tales of the locals and their passion for food, ranging from food fixations, some that are as funny as brain wracking, and of grandmother’s recipes that are world’s best kept secrets!

The alley ways of Sowcarpet (a sprawling neighborhood in the northern part of Chennai and one of the oldest neighborhoods of the city) is swamped with shops selling crispy snacks, from the exotic to the everyday. Join Storytrails for a walk that lets you sample some of Chennai’s best South Indian food delicacies. And, that’s just for starters. Learn how a morsel of food could hide a million pointers to the way of life for its people. Delve into profoundly philosophical questions that matter, like – why is Indian food so spicy or why are we so sweet obsessed? With all it has to offer, the food trail through Sowcarpet is guaranteed to be an assault on your senses.

Places To Visit In Madurai For South Indian Food

south indian food-indian street food Chennai-places to visit in madurai

Get acquainted with the people of Madurai, their way of life and their delicious food!

Want to get acquainted with this city? Going on a food trail here is the best way to mingle with the locals, experiment and treat your taste buds to some awesome flavours, and of course, get to know the city!

The street food in Madurai forms an amazing backdrop for spicy stories about the city, about the people who came to Madurai years ago, some to make a fortune, a few to rule, and others who were just visiting. Find the answers to questions that always puzzled you; how did Muslims nurture their love for iced drinks in a city as hot as Madurai? Why is Indian food eaten with fingers and not spoons & forks? What use are the poppy seeds seen in popular South Indian sweets?

Join us on a food crawl across Madurai, and taste the best foods in the city as our storyteller dishes out delectable stories that will both whet your appetite and leave you satiated!

Places To Visit In Puducherry For South Indian Food

south indian food-indian street food-places to visit in pondicherry

Join us as we eat our way across Pondicherry, uncovering delicious tales at every turn

On this food trail, you’ll talk about Puducherry, meet the people who make it a cheerful city to live in, and taste the foods that have tagged along with travellers for centuries. Uncover the mysteries and forgotten stories of people who have built this white-and-yellow town, as you try the different cuisines that make this city famous.

Find out how ancient Indians made frozen desserts under the sweltering sun? What most hard-working politician eat for brunch in South India? What kind of meals are served to prisoners? How does the caste system determine the kind of food we eat? Dig into this and much more while you indulge in a variety of South Indian food and treats. Join us as we eat our way across Puducherry, uncovering the most delicious stories at every turn.

Special Instructions

Since our trails may take you walking through markets, we recommend you dress conservatively, keeping your shoulders and legs covered. If you have any gluten or other food-related allergies, please check Storytrails to see if these food tours are suitable for you.

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A bright sunny day calls for a visit to a food market! And the weekend food markets in South Africa are no less than delightful. Whether you are a fan of farm-fresh organic vegetables, artisan breads or a good old-fashioned cinnamon pancake, these weekend markets have something in store for all. The cuisine and setting of this Rainbow Nation is such that you can spend days eating and drinking your way around! Sounds exciting, right? So, let’s not wait and get to know everything about these weekend food markets in South Africa.

Top 5 Weekend Food Markets In South Africa

No one knows African cuisine better than the locals, so block your weekends and head to these markets for a taste of some amazing and tantalising dishes! Let’s check out 5 best weekend food markets in South Africa that you just can’t afford to miss.

#1 Neighbourgoods Weekend Food Market

weekend food markets in South Africa - Neighbourgoods market

Visit the bustling outdoor Neighbourgoods market for a wide range of international eats, cocktails & more

Cape Town is home to a plethora of food markets but your food experience is incomplete without a visit to Neighbourgoods Market, one of the best weekend food markets in South Africa! This warehouse-style market is extremely popular, so much so that it has become a social event over the years. Seasonal fruits and vegetables, fair-trade goods, artisan chocolatiers, craft beer, vegetarian fare, top-grade meats and a variety of ethnic cuisine await you at this market. Early mornings are usually the best time to visit this market if you are a major foodie, but, if you want to relax and enjoy the hustle and bustle of the market then mid-morning should be your pick. Queuing up with the locals for paper-thin crispy pizza or for a scoop from gigantic paella or the popular bacon-and-egg rosti is a different experience all together.

Where is this weekend market food in South Africa? Cape Town

What are the trading hours? Saturdays, 9am to 3pm

#2 Golden Hours Family Market

weekend food markets in South Africa - Golden Hours Family Market

Set under mango trees in Durban North, the Golden Hours Family Market offers handmade soaps, fresh fruits and vegetables, clothing & more

A market with a cause, the Golden Hours Family Market is held to raise funds for the Golden Hours School for Special Needs Children. Shaded by mango trees, the stalls here are set against a beautiful backdrop and are filled with food products, handicrafts, clothes, handmade soaps, books and so much more! After your shopping, you can settle down in the tea garden for some live music and yummy treats. The market even has a playground for children and offers plenty of activities like train rides, quad bikes, pony rides, etc., to keep your tiny tots entertained. It is one of the top weekend food markets in South Africa for family with kids.

Where is this weekend market in South Africa? Durban North

What are the trading hours? Sundays, 10am to 3.30pm

#3 Bay Harbour Weekend Market

weekend food markets in South Africa - Bay Harbour Weekend Market

The vibrant Bay Harbour Weekend Market is known for South African novelties and handicrafts shopping

Amid beer-loving visitors swapping stories over trays of tasters, jam-packed live music line-ups, and people pushing back tables to make room for dancing, weekends here are nothing less than a party! Adding to this unique vibe are the market’s over 80 stalls that sell South African novelties, baked goods, world cuisine, vintage clothing, handmade jewellery, wellness goods, soft furnishings, antiques, handicrafts and more. Doesn’t matter if you are a shopaholic, a foodie or just someone looking for a happy hour; Bay Harbour Market is where you need to be!

Where is this weekend market in South Africa? Hout Bay, Cape Town

What are the trading hours? Fridays, 5pm to 9pm; Saturdays and Sundays, 9.30am to 4pm

#4 Bryanston Organic and Natural Markets

weekend food markets in South Africa - Bryanston Organic & Natural Market

A local favourite, Bryanston Organic & Natural Market is known for freshest local produce and artisanal products

Started by a couple of farmers 38 years ago, this organic market has now become a haven of peace in the busy city of Johannesburg. Tourists can shop and experience the African cuisine in an outdoor market setting. As the name suggests, the market focuses on quality, hand-crafted goods like natural cosmetics produced from the freshest local produce. In addition to beauty products, it also sells organic fruits and vegetables, local coffee roasts, homemade preserves, raw chocolate, organic teas and more. If you are looking for an authentic experience, Bryanstion Organic Market is one of the best weekend food markets in South Africa.

Where is this weekend market in South Africa? Johannesburg

What are the trading hours? Thursdays and Saturdays, 9am to 3pm

#5 Pretoria Boeremark Weekend Food Market

weekend food markets in South Africa - Pretoria Boeremark

Pretoria Boeremark is the ultimate farmer’s market experience with homemade pies, chocolate croissants and other hand-crafted items

South Africa’s best kept secret, Pretoria Boeremark (Farmer’s Market in Afrikaans) has won multiple awards. Every Saturday, the locals are up bright and early to stock up on organic produce, artisan cheese, traditional South African fare, freshly baked breads, meats and preserves. If there’s a ‘haven for foodies’, then this is of the yummiest weekend food markets in South Africa! The aroma of fresh coffee, pies and chocolate croissants greets you as you pull up in the parking lot. Make sure to reach early though, because there’s just so much to eat and see, you don’t want to miss out on anything!

Where is this weekend food market in South Africa? Pretoria

What are the trading hours? Saturdays, 5:30am and 9am

We’re sure this list of fabulous weekend food markets in South Africa has got you drooling and making plans for some delicious weekends in South Africa. So hurry, grab your shopping list, and head to one of these markets, you’re on your way to a gastronomic high!

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 Peninsular India encompasses the states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana, Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Puducherry. Renowned for its gorgeous beaches and verdant backwaters, South India is one of the most popular tourist destinations of India. With a rich historical and cultural heritage, this area is home to some of India’s best architectural and archaeological wonders.

South India is known for Dravida architecture

South India is known for Dravida architecture

Temples In South India

Some of the country’s greatest temple architecture can be found in South India, especially in states like Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Exceptional reflections of Dravidian architecture, some of the ancient temples here have even been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Read on for more about the most famous temples in South India.

Kapaleeshwarar Temple

Ornate carvings on Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Mylapore, Chennai

Marvel at the ornate carvings on the Kapaleeshwarar Temple in Mylapore, Chennai

Built around the 7th Century, the Kapaleeshwarar Temple in Mylapore, Chennai, is dedicated to Lord Shiva and his consort Goddess Parvati. The Vijayanagar rulers of the Tuluva Dynasty are credited for the spectacular Dravidian architecture of this temple. The best time to visit this ancient structure is from mid-March to mid-April, when the neighbourhood celebrates its annual spring festival during the Tamil month of Panguni.

Kamakshi Amman Temple

Kamakshi Temple, one of the ancient temples in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu

The Kamakshi Amman Temple is the only Goddess Parvati temple in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu

Located in the city of Kanchipuram, the Kamakshi Amman Temple is dedicated to the worship of Kamakshi, one of the many forms of Goddess Parvati. As opposed to her typical standing pose, you will find the Goddess sitting in a Padmasana pose at this magnificent temple. Be sure to add this, Kanchipuram’s one and only temple for Goddess Parvati, to your to-do list when you next visit.

Varadharaja Perumal Temple

This temple is recognised as Hastigiri and was originally known as Attiyuran.

The Varadharaja Perumal Temple in Kanchipuram is recognised as Hastigiri and was originally known as Attiyuran.

Another famous temple in Kanchipuram is one dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The Varadharaja Perumal Temple is considered to be one of the Divya Desams – 108 Vishnu temples that were visited by the 12 poet saints. This spectacular temple, is often clubbed with the Kamakshi Amman Temple and the Ekambareswarar Temple, and commonly referred to as the Mumurtivasam (abode of trio).

Ekambareswarar Temple

Ekambareswarar is the biggest temple in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu

Ekambareswarar is the biggest temple in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu

Renowned as one of the Pancha Bhoota Stalams (five major Shiva temples), the massive Ekambareswarar Temple in Kanchipuram is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Spanning an area of 25 acres, this temple complex is one of the largest in the country. One of the most talked about attractions of this temple is the superb thousand-pillared hall that was built during the Vijayanagar reign and still stands as a glorious testament to their architectural expertise.

Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple

The Kailasanathar Temple is one among the three Kanchis, the other two being the Vishnu Kanchi and the Jain Kanchi

Kanchipuram’s Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple is one of three Kanchis, the other two being the Vishnu Kanchi and the Jain Kanchi

Yet another temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple was built by Rajasimha during the Pallava dynasty (somewhere between 685 and 705 AD). There are around 58 small shrines inside this temple that depict the different forms of Lord Shiva. This temple is also covered with numerous carvings, which is one of the main highlights of the Dravidian architectural style.

Tiruvannamalai Temple

A bird’s eye view of the Tiruvannamalai temple complex

A bird’s eye view of the Tiruvannamalai Temple complex, which sits at the base of the Annamalai Hills in Tamil Nadu

The Tiruvannamalai Temple is one of the Pancha Bhoota Stalams (five major Shiva temples). It is also known as the Annamalaiyar Temple because of its location at the base of the Annamalai Hills in Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu. The masonry at this temple can be traced back to the 9th century, when the Chola dynasty ruled this region. Every year, millions of pilgrims visit this ancient temple during the months of November and December for the grand Karthigal Deepam festival.

Jambukeswarar Temple

The Shiva ling at the Jambukeshwar Temple

The Shiva ling at the Jambukeswarar Temple

Located in the city of Tiruchirapalli (Trichy) in Tamil Nadu, Jambukeswarar Temple was built approximately 1,800 years ago. One of the earlier Chola kings, Kochenga Chola was the creator of this temple, which is one of the five major Shiva temples or Pancha Bhoota Stalams of Tamil Nadu. Do not miss out on the artistic Chola period inscriptions inside this grand temple.

Ranganathaswamy Temple

The famous temple in Srirangam Island in Trichy

The famous Ranganathaswamy temple on the Srirangam Island in Trichy is the world’s largest functioning Hindu temple

Situated on the Srirangam Island in Tamil Nadu, this Hindu temple houses the deity Ranganatha – one of the forms of Lord Vishnu. One of the 108 Divya Desams, this temple boasts of Tamil style of architecture. It is also considered to be the world’s largest functioning Hindu temple. with the main entrance or Rajagopuram that soars up to a height of 73,000m.

Meenakshi Temple

This temple is as vital to the aesthetic heritage to South India as the Taj Mahal is to North India

The aesthetic heritage of the Meenakshi temple is as vital to South India as the Taj Mahal is to North India

Located on the banks of the Vagai River, the Meenakshi Temple in Madurai is dedicated to Goddess Parvati. The present structure of this temple dates back to the 16th Century as it was plundered and looted in the 14th Century. It is home to 14 towers (gopurams) and approximately 33,000 sculptures. This temple gets about a million visitors from all over the country during the months of April and May during the Meenakshi Tirukalyanam festival.

Shore Temple

The pyramidal structure of this temple earned the title - 'Seven Pagodas''

The pyramid structure of the Shore temple in Mahabalipuram has earned it the title of ‘Seven Pagodas’

One of the oldest granite temples in South India, the Shore Temple overlooks the Bay of Bengal and was initially identified as part of the Seven Pagodas in Mahabalipuram. This structural temple was built by the Pallava Dynasty, under Narasimhavarman II’s rule, and dates back to the 8th Century. The Shore Temple houses three temples and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Shopping Opportunities

South India is a treasure trove for silk sarees, handcrafted jewellery, wooden and stone carvings, traditional handicrafts, and coir products. Some of the best places to shop in South India are:

Chennai

T Nagar in Chennai

Grab amazing bargains on quality items at T Nagar, one of the most famous marketplaces in Chennai

Whether you love luxury shopping or street shopping, Chennai has innumerable shopping opportunities, right from wholesale stores to colourful markets. Tanjore paintings, sandalwood boxes and blocks, terracotta items, silk sarees, and sweets are great souvenirs to pick up from Chennai.

Kanchipuram

Pick a kanjeevaram saree for yourself

Pick out a beautiful Kanjeevaram silk saree (or two) for yourself when in Kanchipuram

When in Kanchipuram, you must buy at least one of the Kanjeevaram silk sarees. This city is famous for hand-woven silk sarees, with intricate designs and amazing contrast borders. Some of the other things that are worth buying in Kanchipuram include hand-made jewellery boxes, baskets laden with fresh fruit, and idols of various deities.

Madurai

When you want to shop in Madurai, look for Sungundi sarees and batik shops. The government emporiums are perfect to pick up wooden or brass souvenirs from this city.

Trichy

Stone carvings, paintings, jewellery, pottery, and traditional handicrafts are some of the things that you can buy from the local bazaar or private shops in Trichy.

With the traditional South India tour of Cox & Kings, you will be covering all these temples and enjoying all these shopping venues in just a week.

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There are so many reasons to visit to South Africa–safaris, vineyards, dazzling cities, stunning cultural diversity, natural splendours and exotic wildlife. But if there’s one thing you mustn’t miss, it’s the food! Here are 5 dishes you can’t leave the ‘Rainbow Nation’ without tasting!

 

1.Biltong & Droewors

Lover of beef, are you? This special delicacy from South Africa, then is a must try!

When in South Africa, you must try this special game meat delicacy

Love beef? You’ll love Biltong even more! Usually made of beef or game meat such as kudu, impala or ostrich, Biltong is dried and marinated to a traditional South African recipe of rock salt, pepper, vinegar and coriander. This delicacy is often enjoyed as an evening snack or during sporting events.

2.Boerewors

Do you have a thing for exotic, flavourful dishes? This one is just unmissable delicacy in South Africa!

Have a thing for exotic, flavourful dishes? This one is unmissable!

Boerewors is a traditional South African sausage made from beef, mixed with either pork or lamb and a mixture of spices. The word ‘boerewors’ comes from the Afrikaans and Dutch words boer (farmer) and wors (sausage).

3. Malva pudding

Try out South Africa's favourite dessert the Malva Pudding which originates from the Cape Malay region!

Try South Africa’s favourite dessert, the Malva Pudding which originates from Cape Malay

This sweet and sticky baked Dutch goodness is a must try when you are in South Africa. Prepared using apricot jam, Malva pudding is a sponge based dessert best savoured with hot cream sauce.

4. Amarula Don Pedro

This popular South African drink available in restaurants and bars everywhere

This popular South African drink is available everywhere /image credit: Pinterest

This cocktail dessert makes the right use of the South African Amarula, a cream liquor made from the exotic marula fruit, blended with ice cream. Because this is very widely consumed all around South Africa, you won’t find it difficult to get it in a bar or even a general store.

5. Bobotie

Pronounced ba-boor-tea, the national dish of South Africa is delicious

Pronounced ba-boor-tea, the national dish of South Africa is delicious

You definitely can’t leave South Africa without trying out the national dish here; the Bobotie. Prepared using delicious minced meat soaked in spices (usually curry powder, herbs, and dried fruits), this dish is served in sinfully delectable baked goodness, topped with egg and milk.

South Africa Fact File

Location: Africa
How to Reach: South Africa has 10 international airports and are conected to all major cities in Asia, Europe, America and Australia. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg is a major gateway for tourists to enter South Africa.
Official Language: South Africa has a total of 11 official languages. Some of them include Afrikaans, Zulu, Tsonga, etc.
Currency: South African rand
Time Zone: SAST (UTC+2)
Climate: Generally temperate

Love Africa & its cuisine? Check out this article on 9 Foods To Try In Morocco!’

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Bucket load of unforgettable experiences, a wildlife that lures every traveller around the world, cuisine that gets your mouth watering and places to visit that blow your mind away; South Africa is one such amazing wonderland!
Join Divya Prasad on her journey through her pictures to see how she spent 9 days around Johannesburg to Durban.

 Dreams of hope, education and joy for every child fill up the Ntshuxeko primary school in Shalati Village, South Africa

Dreams of hope, education and joy for every child fill up the Ntshuxeko primary school in Shalati Village, South Africa

The Iktomi dream catcher; all ready for a journey to catch beautiful dreams!

The Iktomi dream catcher; all ready for a journey to catch beautiful dreams!

The Iktomi dream catcher finds its home at DukuDuku Creche Dukuduku creche and orphanage to bring hope and joy for every child, Zululand

The Iktomi dream catcher finds its home at DukuDuku Creche Dukuduku creche and orphanage to bring hope and joy for every child, Zululand

The man of the jungle - Derrick, finds a key to his dreams of football

The man of the jungle – Derrick, finds a key to his dreams of football

The African sunset paints an orangey sky, complementing the Acacia silhouettes to mesmerize the senses

The African sunset paints an orangey sky, complementing the Acacia silhouettes to mesmerize the senses

A Swazi tribal woman welcomes me into her world of Ikwani grassA Swazi tribal woman welcomes me into her world of Ikwani grass

Morning reflections with crocodiles at the Milawane wildlife Santuary, SwazilandMorning reflections with crocodiles at the Milawane wildlife Santuary, Swaziland

Waking up to the call of nature at Kruger National Park, South AfricaWaking up to the call of nature at Kruger National Park, South Africa

Chilling with Ostriches on a beautiful morning at Airport Game Lodge, JohannesburgChilling with Ostriches on a beautiful morning at Airport Game Lodge, Johannesburg

Divya's companion for my adventures across South AfricaMy companion for my adventures across South Africa

Streets full of art, crafted with love by AfricaStreets full of art, crafted with love by Africa

Catching the smiles and Duku Dukus (Heartbeats) of ZululandCatching the smiles and Duku Dukus (Heartbeats) of Zululand

An evening with the lazy and not-so-saintly hippos at St. LuciaAn evening with the lazy and not-so-saintly hippos at St. Lucia

When the Ostrich turns down selfiesWhen the Ostrich turns down selfies

Wild encounters on Safari at Kruger National Park, South AfricaWild encounters on Safari at Kruger National Park, South Africa

 My grandest company in the wild at Kruger Park, South AfricaMy grandest company in the wild at Kruger Park, South Africa

 Zulu dance moments by the beach in Durban, South AfricaZulu dance moments by the beach in Durban, South Africa

A Nelson Mandela bead sculpture embracing the World Cup in full glory at Durban, South Africa

A Nelson Mandela bead sculpture embracing the World Cup in full glory at Durban, South Africa

 A glimpse of the magical mountains of SwazilandA glimpse of the magical mountains of Swaziland

Swaying grasses tell a tale of the Ezulwini valley, SwazilandSwaying grasses tell a tale of the Ezulwini valley, Swaziland

South Africa practically bowls visitors over with its exotic wildlife, friendly faces and of course, natural splendour. There are hundreds of reasons to visit this great continent – dazzling Cape Town, savannah safaris and the vineyards of Stellenbosch, to name but a few, but once you’ve gotten yourself here, you’ll discover millions more.

If you are a woman traveller and wish to take on a journey like Divya Prasad, check out Getaway Goddess!

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