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#ThisIsSouthAfrica: Our First National Instameet

Two weeks ago I left Joburg on a road trip around South Africa, in a van full of bloggers and Instagrammers. We went lots of places in that van, and ate lots of potato chips. But I’ll get to that later. The major goal of our trip was to visit a tiny town called Graaff-Reinet, to participate in the first-ever South African national Instameet. I’ve written about Instameets before; see here and here and here. I’ve participated in dozens of Instameets in Joburg and a couple in other cities. But last weekend’s gathering was the first time that Instagrammers from all over South Africa traveled to one place for a […]

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King ARabic Sandwich boy

Where to Eat in Mayfair (as Seen in Sawubona)

I occasionally write blog posts for, the online version of the South African Airways in-flight magazine. I was so pleased with this post about where to eat in Mayfair that I asked permission to re-publish it on my own blog. Please check out the original post, which also includes a great video about King Arabic Sandwich. I’ve blogged about three of these restaurants before but one of them, Ebrahim Qaxwo, is new and actually deserves a future post of its own. A Food Safari Through Mayfair The chef at Burhan’s Butchery and Kebab House carves schwarma meat from the spit outside […]

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Bike screen shot

Ode to Instagram

Dear Instagram, Yesterday I reached 50,000 followers on your app. I don’t want to focus too much on that number because what do social media numbers really mean, anyway? My large Instagram following has something to do with my photography, sure. But it also has a lot to do with luck and being in the right place at the right time. There are lots of great photographers with far fewer followers and lots of crappy photographers with more. (Nonetheless, reaching 50,000 Instagram followers is pretty flipping cool. If I told you I wasn’t over-the-moon excited about it, I would be lying.) […]

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02 Orlando-West

10 New Discoveries in Soweto

As mentioned previously, I spent 72 hours in Soweto as part of a campaign promoting the Soweto Wine Festival. It was an epic journey. Before this trip I thought I knew Soweto, kind of. I’d been there a lot, doing a lot of different things. But #72HrsSoweto held many surprises. Almost everything we did over the course of the weekend was new (or at least partially new) to me. Here are ten new things I did during our #72hrsSoweto weekend. 1) The Soweto Hotel The Soweto Hotel, the only 4-star hotel in Soweto, is on Walter Sisulu Square in Kliptown. If this hotel were anywhere else […]

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Acrobranch Zaahirah

A Cheap, Easy Way to Have Fun in Joburg

This past Saturday, I was invited along with a few other bloggers and Instagrammers to spend the day having fun around Joburg. The day was sponsored by the Entertainer, and the idea was that we would go around town taking advantage of various special offers through the Entertainer app. We participated in three different activities, none of which I had done before, and ate at two restaurants. It was one of the funnest days I have ever spent in Joburg. (This is saying something because I have spent many, many fun days in this city.) I can’t recommend the Entertainer […]

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From the Melville Cat: Move? What Move?

From the Melville Cat: Heather asked me to write a blog post this weekend. Apparently my fans have been asking her about my wellbeing. She says they want to hear the full story of our move from my perspective. My initial response was, “What move?” We moved? I had quite forgotten about that. Then I thought some more and yes, I vaguely recall this. I used to live somewhere else, perhaps a month or two ago. I remember now that I was very hesitant to leave that place. I’m not sure why. But I musn’t disappoint my loyal fans. I will recount the moving […]

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The Best Night Ever in Soweto

It was the first night of the #72hrsSoweto campaign, the day before the start of the Soweto Wine Festival. It was freezing cold, raining, and I was ridiculously underdressed. We had just finished a home-cooked meal — lamb stew, pap, spicy chakalaka, steak, and vegetarian curry — at the legendary Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers, followed by live music and poetry around the fire. Our group was preparing to leave. I shivered, thinking about burrowing under the covers back in my room at the Soweto Hotel. “We’re going somewhere else now,” one of the other bloggers told me. I sighed. Maybe I’m too old for this […]

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Four Days, Four Massages: The Perfect Holiday in Mauritius

As previously mentioned, I recently visited Mauritius courtesy of Constance Hotels. This was one of those trips in which I spend the whole time ogling everything around me and marvelling at the blogging miracles that have led me to get invited to things like this. Anyway, it happened. It was every bit as wonderful as you would imagine. Sunrise at Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius. Mauritius is a tiny island in the Indian Ocean, about 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) off the southeast coast of Africa (east of Madagascar). Mauritius was uninhabited until the Dutch established a colony there in 1638, and now has a population […]

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72 Hours in Soweto

Like many newcomers, Vilakazi Street in Soweto was the first real tourist attraction I visited upon moving to Joburg. Here is the blog post I wrote about that visit, just a week after I arrived. (I’m a little embarrassed by the pictures and the words — I’ve come a long way since then.) Soweto — which is technically part of Joburg but really a city-state unto itself — is a legendary place, with a population larger than many small countries and a larger-then-life history to match. I live 20 minutes from Soweto and have been there many times over the years. […]

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Nelson Makamo and security guard

“Joburg is more Brooklyn than Brooklyn.”

Today I took my American friend Bob, who is in Joburg this week for work, to the Maboneng Precinct. Bob passed through Joburg a few times before, back in 2010 and 2011. But this is the first time I’ve had the chance to properly show him around the city, and the first time he’s been to Maboneng. I parked near the top of Fox Street at around 11:30 a.m. I took Bob over to Curocity Backpackers and introduced him to my friend Bheki Dube. We meandered down Fox Street, admiring the technicolor graffiti murals and browsing outdoor clothing stalls in […]

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Everything in Mauritius is Beautiful.

I went to Mauritius for five days. I’ve concluded that everything there is beautiful. I have lots to say about the trip and dozens of photos to post. But here’s a 10-photo teaser to prove my above statement. 1) The beaches in Mauritius are beautiful. The beach at Le Prince Maurice, part of Constance Hotels and Resorts, where I stayed in Mauritius. This beach is particularly lovely because it’s on a lagoon, where the water is completely calm. 2) The hotels in Mauritius are beautiful. The lobby at Le Prince Maurice. 3) The sunrises in Mauritius are beautiful. Sunrise from Belle Mare Plage, the other Constance property […]

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A Few Words From the Melville Cat

Dear fans of the Melville Cat, I know that you have been waiting to hear from me, eager to learn how I’m faring in the ordeal I explained to you in my previous post. I apologize for the silence but I’ve had many matters to attend to that are more important than blogging. I’m busy establishing my new domain. I will explain this photo in my next post. Until then, I’ll let you formulate your own theories. Also, I don’t have much time to write because Heather, my typing assistant, is leaving today for a place called Mauritius. How rude. Why she […]

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