Braai spots-Heritage Day-min

What better way to celebrate the balmier weather of spring than by lighting a fire? We’ve found five picturesque spots where you can cook your food over the coals and enjoy memorable views. By Arnold Ras

There’s just something about lighting a braai fire in the outdoors. Is it being surrounded by so much natural beauty? Is it the soundtrack of birds singing their hearts out or the feel of sunshine on skin? Whatever it is, we’re huge fans.

Ask any South African: a braai truly does make everything better. Put your Wild Card membership to good use and choose between more than 80 parks and reserves for a spring braai in the wild.

Tell us where you braai, what you braai, and remember to tag your social media posts with #wildadventuregoals.

Need some inspiration for your next braai destination? Check out these scenic sites.

Dam vibes

Last #braai at the dam tonight. #africa #sunset #nature #naturelovers

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Home to KwaZulu-Natal’s third largest dam, Chelmsford Dam Nature Reserve near Newcastle is the ideal spot for combining a family braai with water sports and angling. The dam, also called Ntshingwayo Dam, promises refreshing dips while the braai master’s treats are sizzling away. The pretty dam views make for great braai moments for lunch, or enjoying sundowners while waiting for those dusky skies. Pack an elaborate picnic basket fit for a king, or keep it simple with boerewors rolls and chilled drinks. Either way, Chelmsford will in no time become one of your favourite spring braai spots. Oh, and try to spot the very rare oribi antelope.

Gate times: 06:00–19:00

Silence is golden

If vast landscapes and clear blue skies tickle your fancy, Karoo National Park is calling. Situated just outside Beaufort-West, the park offers two picnic sites: Bulkraal Picnic Site (with a swimming pool, ablution and braai facilities) and Doornhoek Picnic Site, which is located in the game area. Before summer temperatures reach soaring heights, spring is when a Karoo braai comes into its own. Take in the silence and rolling arid panoramas with a juicy Karoo lamb chop in hand. Yes, a braai in the Karoo is definitely not a braai without lamb chops, jacket potatoes with sour cream and, of course, an ice-cold brew.

Gate times: 07:00-18:00

Not just any old braai

#bicultimatebraaimaster @ryankentgibson @bradmelin

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Just over an hour from Cape Town, Kogelberg Nature Reserve will blow you away with its beauty. Not only is it a World Heritage Site with exquisite mountain fynbos, it also features five stunning eco cabins, each with outdoor braai. This is braaing in a setting that will mesmerise all the senses. Fill your days with birding, mountain biking, swimming, and hiking – not to mention whale watching at the coast. But reserve spring evenings for braai feasts and long chats with loved ones. And with a fully equipped kitchen, everyone can join in to create home-made bread, gourmet salads, fresh ice teas and grilled treats.

Book online, or visit CapeNature’s website for more information.

As wild as it gets

Bigger than many countries, the Kruger National Park has more than 15 picnic sites for adventurous day visitors. Each of the spots boasts different natural charms – from river beds and baobabs to swimming pools and birdlife. Like Kruger lovers often say: braai on the wild side, and this Big Five setting deserves a big spread. Think mealies, heaps of white pap, tomato relish and ribs. If you’re not in the mood to organise your own firewood, gas skottels can be hired at most picnic sites. Where else can you gather for a braai with the sounds of elephants, hyenas and hippos in the background?

Gate times: 06:00–18:00

Relaxed and rustic

Nestled in the Valley of Heaven between Mbabane and Manzini, Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary’s grassy plains, green hills and forests are a recipe for a wild braai like no other. Relax next to Mlilwane Rest Camp’s swimming pool – with summerhouses – where your companions might include cute little warthogs. Enjoy chicken kebabs and a spicy potato salad, catch up with old friends and head out to enjoy some of Mlilwane’s many activities: game drives, guided hikes, horse rides, nature trails and Swazi cultural experiences. As Swaziland is an independent kingdom, remember your valid international passport.

Gate times: 06:00-17:30