Who would have thought our 2020 New Year's resolution of travel would be limited to walks in the backyard and trips to Woolworths. No tropical nights in Bali or the Contiki we've been saving up for. Not even that long weekend trip to Cape Town seemed realistic a couple months ago (And for the most part, doesn't even feel realistic now, 6 months into lockdown!) 

King Shaka Airport in Durban empty during COVID19 lockdown

Since early March the effect of COVID19 started to ripple through the travel industry - yes, that's even before lockdown. At that point, international flights became almost non-existent and domestic travel seemed to slowly decrease in volume - I mean the whole reason COVID19 came to South Africa was because of travel, so it's completely understandable that even before lockdown, people started to feel uneasy about hopping on a plane filled with strangers. When the initial 21 day lockdown began on 27 March, and the complete standstill of airports and planes hit home. And of course it wasn't just us all the way down here in SA, the whole world experienced what might even be the biggest standstill in air traffic since air travel became mainstream.

View of Durban, flights to Durban, FlySafair


As of right now, 4 August 2020, flying is still only reserved for essential travel - with leisure travel not being permitted. While a naughty few (*cough* me) have found sneaky ways to get around legislation, the flight and travel industry are far from their pre-Corona levels.

Johannesburg city, joburg city, airport in Johannesburg

I recently took my first domestic flight since lockdown began (With my last flight having been 9 March 2020 - feels like a lifetime ago) and boy was it different to anything I've experienced before! I thought I'd share a few tips for anyone travelling on what to expect and hopefully it will help take away the anxiety.

I flew DUR - JHB return with Flysafair (Mango Airlines also operates on this route and a few other airlines operate on different domestic routes).

Durban airport, FlySafair plane

TIPS FOR FLYING DURING AND POST COVID19


• Firstly, it’s not as bad as you think BUT don’t get too comfortable - you still need to make sure you sanitize as much as possible! I carried a hand sanitizer and aerosol sanitiser to sanitize my hands and clothes after coming into contact with surfaces

COVID19 coronavirus vending machine COVID19 essentials

• There are very few flights a day - only 5 at most on the DUR - JHB route but I booked the day before so it's not imperative to book in advance however with there being so few flights, the flights that are operating tend to be quite full. • You’re only allowed to enter the airport if you’re flying and the first thing you do when you enter is hand in your (Already filled in) health declaration and get a temperature check.

Air travel during COVID19 in South Africa

• The airport is probably gonna be empty. Like resembling a zombie apocalypse empty. Don’t freak out! • Leisure and nonessential travel is still not permitted and legally you do still need a permit to travel - there are lots of different types of permits for whatever reason you need to travel but the most common is a business permit filled in by your employer • There’s a no contact policy - you scan your own boarding pass and instead of handing in your ID at check in, you hold it against the clear petition for them to see. They also ask you to remove your mask for them to confirm your identity. Apart from that you wear your mask the entire time at the airport and during the flight😷

Social distancing in South Africa

• Most restaurants and facilities like lounges are closed. At King Shaka, the long stay parking was also closed - rather check in advance and don’t assume everything is operating as normal • On the flight it isn’t a given that you’ll have an empty seat next to you, some airlines give you the option to book the seat next to you to ensure that it’s empty

Full Safair flight during Covid19 •On the plane, services like inflight magazines and drinks and food may not be available onboard
I hope this helped you. Lets support the travel industry as much as we can in the coming months❤️

As featured on the prestigious lifestyle TV series Top Billing, Antbear Eco lodge truly lives up to its expectations!


One thing I definitely missed during this lockdown (And I'm sure most of us can say the same!) is travel. Having been stuck in the house for literally months, I craved the feeling of being free in the outdoors and getting some fresh air. I recently traveled to Antbear, an ecolodge in the Drakensberg, over a weekend to get a taste of what travel will look like post-covid.  The first thing I can say is I was definitely right about wanting to experience the freedom of the outdoors - being out in nature in the middle of the mountains was literally the most freeing experience and took me to such a happy place, away from the daily stresses of this pandemic. 



Affordable Drakensberg accommodation, Drakensberg hotel, Antbear Lodge


With all the negativity and negative impacts during this pandemic, I thought why not find the light at the end of the tunnel and find the good and positivity. Lockdown sucks and difinitely brought to the surface a lot of issues in our society - property, hunger, unemployment and just plain sadness, isolation and a general sense of cabin fever for even the most privileged. We want things to go bad to "normal". But were things that good to begin with? As I'm sure you've heard, a phrase that's stuck with me lately, is why not create a new "normal"? A normal that's obviously a multitude better than the pandemic but also better than pre-pandemic life. I'm definitely not trying to undermine the struggles that people are going through but overall, lets think of this as a do over, and come out of it stronger than before.


To start off and to inspire you to hopefully ignite a sense of optimism in you, I'm going to highlight some of the people and brands stepping up and playing their part for the better of humanity :)




While the idea of a romantic Valentine's Day dinner at our favourite restaurant sounds amazing, the reality is most likely a loud and crowded (More than likely filled to capacity) restaurant with less than stellar service and highly unlikely to come at a competitive price tag.  
You don't have to be an introvert or party pooper to want to spend Valentine's Day indoors. If anything, you're in for an even better time spending the 14th of February in. 




While I've never been much of a Valentine's Day person, this year I have someone extra special to spend it with and I want to make the most of quality time together. Going to a crowded restaurant filled with couples and instagrammable heart-shaped decor just to spend half the night documenting it on IG stories just for clout (Cue the "7 billion smiles and yours is my favourite" caption). While that's hella mainstream and basic, it's definitely not me. My love language is quality time and the idea of spending quality time with the people I love is something I prioritise. Notice I say "quality time" and not just "time"? 

Now spending Valentines Day indoors with your significant other doesn't have to be boring at all either. We're talking movie nights, games night with some board game classics like Monopoly (Even make it a double date with your favourite couple-besties), or even go all out and light some candles and music and have a romantic candlelit dinner (Who says you can't still make it a 3-course meal?!)

For me, the question definitely isn't whether to have a romantic dinner in with Uber Eats or not; the real question is what to order when I do. There are so many options and here are just some suggestions:

1. CHANNEL THE ROMANTIC ITALIAN WITH A PIZZA NIGHT



Mi Amore! No one does romance as the Italians do. And no one does food as they do either so you can't go wrong with a pizza. Pizza is a very safe option because who doesn't like pizza? Although make sure to clarify your S/O's preference - pineapples on pizza or nah? Plus, with the app’s allergy filter, you can be sure that you’re getting the allergy-friendly food your body loves, ensuring that your day isn’t ruined by a trip to the ER. 

Some pizza places on Uber Eats:

Durban:

Johannesburg:

Cape Town:

2. AIN'T NO CHEAT DAY - KEEP IT HEALTHY


It's only February so hopefully most of us are still on track with our fitness goals? No? Well, it's never too late even if you've strayed and had one too many pizzas already this year. While you can make Valentine's Day your cheat day, you can also still enjoy the occasion while sticking to your diet. The app has partnered with Discovery to provide you with Vitality approved meals, so you get to reach your goals and earn some points! 

Some healthier options on Uber Eats:

Durban:

Johannesburg:

Cape Town:

3. HOT AND SPICY - I'M TALKING ABOUT THE FOOD


I know Indian food isn't everyone’s cup of chai (Get it? Chai as in tea?). But there's something so satisfying about a hot plate of biryani or butter chicken that just makes it the perfect comfort food for quality time with bae. Just make sure your significant other can handle the heat.

Some Indian food options on Uber Eats:

Durban:

Johannesburg:

Cape Town:

BONUS:

4. TAKE ME SOMEWHERE UNIQUE AND EXOTIC


Surprise your significant other with something different - why not try out a foreign cuisine you both love or explore one you haven't tried before? It's a way to keep things interesting and maybe even have a new first-time experience together.

Durban:

Johannesburg:

Cape Town:







Last year I did a post on Galentines Day (My all time fave fake holiday!) and while I'm still planning on having an epic Galentines on the 13th of Feb, I figured this year I'll be less of a grinch and celebrate the day after too - which just happens to be another holiday you may or may not have heard of, VALENTINES DAY!




"When you buy from a small business, you are not helping a CEO buy a third vacation home. You are helping a little girl get dance lessons, a little boy get his team jersey, a mom put food on the table, a dad pay mortgage and a student pay for college."

I'm sure you've come across this quote somewhere, and I can't think of it being more relevant than it is right now. Where's the local is lekker spirit?

In South Africa supporting local is even more important because these businesses give our economy a much needed push and employ locals so that they have more cash money to support themselves and their families.

This year I wanted to prioritise supporting small to medium businesses.

Black Friday may be long gone, but truth be told many of us haven't finished Christmas shopping yet. I mean, empty stockings and Christmas trees are a real struggle fam. We're also presented with so many options, that finding the right one can be difficult. 





"Tiger’s Milk is the best destination for ‘dude food’, made good. Epitomising handcrafted goodness with a menu that takes pizza, grills and burgers to the next level, pair these with our locally made Tiger’s Milk Lager and you’re sure to leave satisfied"
Tigers Milk, a restaurant that falls under the Life & Brand Portfolio of restaurants, recently opened a long awaited branch in Durban (Finally!). What's even better is that Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World is home to the new Tigers Milk restaurant - adding the benefit of an awesome location that's centrally located and has a ton to do just a few minutes away (Not to mention beach views for days!)



While just having launched in September, it's already a favourite with so many people I follow raving about it on social media. Positioning themselves as the new happening place to be in Durban, you can expect good music, instagramable spots, live performances on some nights (The launch party on 12 October saw Micasa party up a storm) and even quiz nights (Like a Harry Potter one).

And we haven't even got to the food. If you're thinking they're the kind of place that prioritises a good vibe and alcohol so much that the food is sidelined, think again. In fact, all other things not considered, Tiger's Milk brings something new to the table with their dishes and turns pizza, grill and pizza classics into delicacies with a twist.

I've already visited the restaurant twice (And plan to again soon) so I'll give you a look at lots of different options on the menu, what I liked, what I want to try and what's just downright unique to Tiger's Milk.



Location


Tiger's Milk Suncoast is located in Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World in Durban. Suncoast has lots to do right on the premises with shopping, restaurants, a hotel, casino, games and other entertainment, so you can make a whole afternoon of it if you like. 

Tiger's Milk also has other stores in the following places throughout the country:

JOHANNESBURG
Bryanston
Melrose Arch
Cedar Square

PRETORIA Lynnwood Bridge

CAPE TOWN
Century City
Claremont
Kloof Street
Long Street
Muizenberg
Stellies
Camps Bay

DURBAN Suncoast


Port Elizabeth







Food



Starters



The starters menu has a lot of interesting choices and some unique ones like the Party Parcels, Mac 'N Cheese Bacon Balls, Amazeballs as well as their Mexican Tacos and Nachos options. I asked what the popular choices were and settled on the Sticky BBQ Chicken Wings and the Amazeballs.
















The Amazeballs were just that - they were amazing! Picture a warm, super cheesy centre covered in a crunchy pastry and that's what you can expect from the Amazeballs. If you love cheese (And who doesn't) this will end up being the most simple yet incredibly satisfying choice for you!

On the other hand if you're looking for something meaty and want to dig in, get the Sticky BBQ Chicken Wings. I looooove me some chicken wings but the wings I had at Tiger's Milk were a whole other level and no doubt THE BEST CHICKEN WINGS this foodie has had EVER. I can honestly say this is the starter I'm going to order every single time I go to Tigers Milk.




Mains



The options of mains are between salads, pizzas, burgers, grills and steaksLuckily I can tell you a bit about all of them. 






I've been trying to prioritise that #summerbody and eat healthy lately so I wanted to see if Tiger's Milk would cater for that. Finding places that serve healthier options and especially tasty, healthy options can be a whole mission.

I tried the Crouching Tiger salad - and it was definitely the best and most satisfying salad ever. It was absolutely delicious and had so many wholesome yet tasty ingredients. The salad had seared tuna, edamame beans, cashew nuts, cucumber, cabbage, pineapple, avocado, sesame seeds and a creamy wasabi dressing. Far from the bland salads I've gotten used to at other restaurants - Tiger's Milk clearly doesn't do bland or ordinary. 



But here's the thing, it's not just the salad that's amazing. On a previous occasion I had the F.A.B.ULOUS pizza which definitely lived up to its name. I don't usually like thin base pizza's but with it being made in a wood fire oven, it was perfectly crispy and had a hint of a flame cooked taste which just ties it all together. This particular pizza has avocado, feta and bacon. 

Twice lucky maybe? Well my plus one (AKA my mama) ordered the sirloin steak with mushroom sauce and salad which also ended up being delicious. Next time I'd love to try the steak as well! And I'll let you know what I think ;) Another option that a friend of mine loved was the Rockstar burger. It has cheese, bacon and guacamole. 




Dessert


Wanna fall in love? 4 words. BREAD AND BUTTER PUDDING. I kid you not, if happiness was a dessert, that's what it would be. It completely blew me away (And that's saying a lot, because I've tasted some damn amazing desserts in my lifetime). It's not the typical style of warm pudding, and is a dessert baked in cinnamon-vanilla custard with raisins and apricot jam, toasted almost flakes with vanilla bean ice-cream on the side. If you haven't had vanilla bean ice-cream before, I highly recommend you try it. The texture it's absolutely melt in your mouth. Don't know what vanilla bean ice cream is? Basically it's the "real" ice cream - actual vanilla beans are used and you can actually see the minuscule black grains. 



Every place I go to I tend to try out the cheesecake and as such I just had to. The cheese cake at Tiger's Milk is more of a deconstructed cheese cake topped with berry coulis and vanilla bean ice cream on the side. The crust is also not on the bottom layer of the cheese cake but rather can be found separate with the ice cream. Personally I found the cheese cake on it's own to not be sour enough (I like me some sour cheese cake) although when you have it together with the berries it gives it more of a tang. The texture was also a bit too smooth considering there wasn't any crust base. 





Drinks


Unfortunately on this particular day I was driving so no alcohol for me (*sob*) so I tried the Sherbet Smack virgin cocktail. If you aren't drinking alcohol and don't mind a sweet drink, I would definitely recommend it! I also tried the Virgin Mojito, but I found it a bit too bitter.






Overall


Overall it really does make the perfect place for a weekend lunch or casual dinner and drinks with friends. The food is delicious but you'll also love the overall ambiance. Be sure to check out their specials - on Monday Tiger's Milk has a 2 for 1 burger special and everyday you can enjoy happy hour from 4pm to 6pm. I'd love to check out their events and quiz nights sometime so maybe I'll see you there ;)


Us millennials don't just think of food as a way to satisfy our hunger - food is a whole experience. For that very reason you expect the restaurant to be a whole vibe and 14 on Chartwell lives up to that expectation.

This classy restaurant located in Umhlanga, Durban makes the perfect destination for drinks with the girls, a date night or a special occasion like a birthday party. Notoriously usually fully packed especially on the weekend (With a reservation pretty much always necessary to get a table fyi), you can tell that it's incredibly vibey.



What makes you feel the most wanted? What does it mean to feel the most wanted? It means feeling flamboyant, passionate and authentic, feeling free, adventurous, untimeable and playful. In other words feeling the most wanted is about feeling like the most empowered version of yourself.




When you think of touristy things to do in Cape Town, there's no doubt that Table Mountain dominates that list. The list of people who've been to Cape Town and people who've been up to Table Mountain is pretty much mutually exclusive right? While the actual mountain is what we consider synonymous with Table Mountain Nation Park, the Good Hope also falls under Table Mountain National Park. And within the Good Hope is where you'll find the Cape Point Nature Reserve. 




Waking up to the sound of birds chirping faintly in the background. You've just had the most relaxing sleep on a gigantic king size bed, lying on a cozy electric blanket. You get up, freshen up in the en suite bathroom then make your way to the lounge area of the cottage. You go straight for the curtain that covers the huge glass doors to the patio. Unlike any other patio, yours comprises of a cute little wooden stoep surrounded by a brimming dam. In the distance you see a picture picture backdrop of trees, some covered in sparse autumn leaves and some as green as emeralds. As you open the glass door you feel the midlands chill - first the cold hits your lips then your nose then your whole body. But the cold fresh air makes you feel alive. 



Saturday night is curry night at Vasco's restaurant in the Hilton Hotel Durban with their Curry Cup buffet. Is there any other food you'd want to dig into on a Saturday in a city known for its rich Indian cuisine? I think not ;)




When it comes to steak houses I can be as picky as the next person. You want your steak to be extra juicy and just the right texture, right? I was recently invited to experience a meal at Hussar Grill - regarded as one of the premium grill rooms in South Africa - a restaurant I've had my eye on for a while, and decided to give their steak a try. They have branches throughout the country and I tried out the Hussar Grill in Gateway, Durban.


Location


The restaurant is located at Gateway Theatre of Shopping in Umhlanga, Durban. Being located in Gateway Boulevard with so many restaurants around, it takes a special restaurant to stand out and Hussar Grill does just that. 


Here is a list of all the branches: 


Western Cape:
Camps Bay, Durbanville, Franschhoek, George, GrandWest, Mouille Point, Paarl, Rondebosch, Somerset West, Steenberg, Stellenbosch, Willowbridge, Worcester


Gauteng: Midrand - Waterfall, Montecasino, Morningside, The Grove

KZN: Gateway, Kloof

Eastern Cape: Walmer

Zambia: Lusaka

Saudi Arabia: Khobar




Ambiance


Walls of books from a time passed, line the restaurant - I spotted everything from volumes of the World Book, all kinds of Encyclopedia's as well as Popular Mechanics books that could easily be over 50 years old. In sections, you'll find bottles of wine and wine glasses on the shelves, overall giving it a very cosy feel. 

On the other hand, the entrance leads you straight to the bar - where I clearly felt right at home ;)






Food


Deciding on what to eat was so difficult because for any meat lover, the options are incredibly appertising. They also do a lot of house specialties, a few of which are on my list to try out the next time I visit.




Starters


I ended up having 3 starters so I can share on a few different options.  


Starter: Hussar Beef Biltong


To nibble
while I properly looked through the menu, I chose the biltong. It made me wonder, why don't more restaurants have biltong on the menu?? I love that they had the option! And biltong as a pre-starter is so satisfying.






Starter: Prawn and Fresh Avo Cocktail


This option consists of sweet queen prawn meat covered in their Marie Rose sauce on a bed of greens (Yes, with avo). As a cold option, it's a good summer starter however, in winter I prefer something warm to start off. 



Starter: Hollandse Bitterballen


Now this was my favourite part of the whole meal - and literally what I've been craving ever since! It consists of double cream Bechamel studded with beef jus and beef bits, then crumbed and deep fried with Dijon mustard on the side. Holy cow (no pun intended) this was DELICIOUS on another level! The texture is crispy on the outside and soft and creamy on the inside. And it made my taste buds so happy.





Mains


Choosing a main from 3 pages of meat options, most of which sound unique in some way and many of which are specialties is such a difficult task. I walked in knowing I want a simple Sirloin steak and while questioning all the scrumptious sounding options, ended up going with my gut feeling.





Main: Sirloin Steak


I chose a simple sirloin steak (medium) with a mushroom sauce and mash. Should I have chosen one of their specialty dishes? Probably, especially given most of them sounded amazing. It was a good steak, but not the best I've had. The texture and sauce were perfect but the flavour lacked a bit. On the other hand my choice of potato mash on the side complimented it nicely. I usually order wine with my steak but because I was driving opted not to but I've heard such good things about their house wines that I definitely will try next time.






Main: Hussar Carpetbagger 


My partner ordered the Hussar Carpetbagger, one of their house specialties. It consists of a fillet mignon stuffed with a combination of smoked oysters, cheddar cheese and topped off with a brandy and wholegrain mustard sauce. The fillet steak was tender and succulent and together with the sauce, very flavour-rich. However, whether the combination of oysters and steak compliment each other will probably depend on your personal taste - it's a bit of an aquired taste combination.




Dessert


I always end up having cheese cake or lemon meringue for dessert so I'm quite the expert at comparing different restaurants offering of the 2. There's also the option of a Chocolate Vodka Martini as a Signature Dessert on the menu, which I want to try next time. While I didn't get to taste it, my partner had the Creme Brulee and thoroughly enjoyed it.







Dessert: Baked Cheese Cake


Described as "Velvety smooth cheesecake atop a traditional buttery biscuit crust and baked to perfection" - don't these words just make your mouth water! You know that aunty in your family that loves to bake and makes the best dessert for family occassions and functions? This cheesecake tastes like my aunty made it. It's absolutely velvety and buttery melt-in-your-mouth cheesecake. It also isn't too rich or sweet and served in a huge slice, that's perfect for 2 or even 3 people.





Overall


The food was delicious with clearly a lot of heart being put into its preparation. The staff were phenomenal! I also have to mention the food was ready so quickly - the main came just 10 minutes after ordering, so it's a great option if you're in a bit of a hurry.


Fun fact: On the day prior to my visit, there was a petty theft with some of the table clothes having been stolen (As they were delivered outside the restaurant). The funny thing is, I hadn't even noticed it. But the manager made a point of apologising for it immediately - I thought it was part of the aesthetic since the lovely green tables matched the seats anyway!



Rating


These are my personal ratings based on the above experience. It is of course subjective.


Location: 10


Ambiance: 8


Food: 8 


Service: 9







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