Meet Darren Meltz; a self-confessed creative jack of all trades. “The world is a delicious pie of creativity so why have just one slice.” If he’s not on stage or in the rehearsal room, he’s searching for new and beautiful things to photograph. He’s an actor, educator, clown (yes believe it or not) but above all else, he’s a writer. His biggest passion is creating amazing things with the words that race around in his head. He’s ambitious to a fault and he lives by the question, “Why the heck not?!”
My Home Town
Joburger through and through.
5 things I love most about Joburg
A few quirky/cool/fun things only locals know about Joburg
Not many people know but our beloved Jozi has been rebuilt 4 times. From a tented city to the multi-cultural metropolis it is today. I haven’t tested this yet but I’ve heard it takes one minute longer to boil an egg in Joburg because it is so high above sea level.
Even though Joburg is a city, it has around 10 million trees which makes it the world’s biggest manmade forest. Just as South Africa has many languages, so Johannesburg has many names. It is affectionately known as Egoli (Place of gold), Mzansi, Jozi, Joburg or Joeys.
Best place in Joburg to enjoy…
It’s not quite in Joburg but river rafting in Hartebeespoort is always a thrilling experience.
On the other end of the scale, Emmarentia Dam and Walter Sisulu Botanical gardens are a wonderful spot for tranquil boat rides and picnics by the water.
The Magaliesburg mountains- The second oldest mountain range in the world where you can canopy tour or take a leisurely cable car ride up the mountain.
Maropeng, The Cradle of Humankind, where you can ‘return to our place of origin’ as the name suggests.
Melville Koppies Nature Reserve; A Johannesburg City Heritage Site in the heart of Joburg.
Nirox Foundation. 15 hectares of landscaped gardens and waterways.
Dinokeng Game Reserve. The first free-roaming Big 5 residential game reserve in Gauteng – and probably in the world
Melville and Chinatown in Mayfair. The vibe and food are authentic and honest and there is a great variety of places to choose from.
The general vibe or nightlife
Melville. Braamfontein. 1 Fox Precinct. A much more cosmopolitan and non-pretentious atmosphere and it’s not in a mall or casino.
Gerakaris Winery. The only winery in Joburg.
We are so lucky to have a variety of great homegrown coffee options. Father Coffee. Motherland. Truth. Bean There Coffee Company are all worth a visit or two.
Maboneng. Known for being a hub of collaborative culture with a real sense of urban togetherness.
What makes a city/town special for me
Most definitely the people. They are what gives a city/town its personality and spirit. It’s who you meet that makes your experience when visiting a new place.
My favorite small town in South Africa
Riebeek-Kasteel- One of the oldest towns in South Africa. There’s always something so magical about destinations that are steeped in history and have a real story to tell.
If I could do a 10 day road trip through South Africa, I’d travel from…
North to South. I’d start out in the Lowveld and travel through to Limpopo, Tzaneen, Dulstroom. Then on to the Free State, Clarens, Drakensberg and the Midlands Meander.
The ultimate bush experience anyone can have in SA
The private game reserves such as Sabi Sabi and Timbavati where you can have a breathtaking treehouse experience under the stars.
The ultimate bush experience anyone can have in Southern Africa (Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia)
The Desert Express in Namibia. a seven-day train tour from Windhoek to Swakopmund, Etosha and back to Windhoek.
Zambezi Queen. A 5-star, 42-metre long luxury houseboat which sails along the banks of the Chobe River.
My best beach/island experience in Southern Africa
The secluded beaches of Tsitsikamma. Natures valley. Knysna Forrest. Where the lagoons and waterfalls flow into the sea and can only be accessed from the Otter Trail.
The most magical place in South Africa and why
Sutherland in the Northern Cape. The best place in Africa to go star gazing at night.
Nieu Bethesda during the New Years Festival of Lights.
Mapungubwe lookout point. The confluence of 2 rivers and 3 countries where you can see elephants crossing the borders between South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe.
The best places to visit in South Africa for
Small, quirky towns like Rosendal where you can meet the locals and people just passing through. Make new friends and hear their stories.
The luxury Rovos Rail train and definitely the smaller towns north of Cape Town. They are not as busy as the Mother City and have many beautiful beaches and restaurants to explore.
The South Coast beaches with their temperate weather and waters are perfect for family getaways.
Again the Rovos Rail or the Blue Train. Exclusive but a different experience from your luxury boutique hotels.
Those seeking off-the-grid spots
The Karoo. Tankwa town during the Afrikaburn festival. The Transkei Wild Coast and Namaqualand to see the daisies.
Darren is from More Than Food is a collaboration of currently 41 unique voices on what’s hot, hip and happening in cities from Cape Town and Joburg to London and Toronto. We are in 16 cities on 4 continents and our main focus areas are EAT, DRINK, EXPLORE. We cover food and wine, lifestyle, entertainment and travel and give our readers access to the minds behind some of the most creative events, kitchens, bars and businesses in the world. We’re all about sharing real, honest, straight forward opinions and experiences (hence our #RealPeopleRealTalk hashtag!)
Find More Than Food on Facebook and on Instagram @morethanfoodmag ( Darren @dazz1210)