Tag Archives: SABC 3

So Long and Thanks for All the Fish!

So Long and Thanks for All the Fish!

That’s a reference from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by the way. I think it’s a great line, but that’s definitely not the only aspect of South Africa that I’m thankful for.

Through my trip, I’ve been to thirteen different regions, and each region has provided me with a countless number of memories and experiences.


And through all of these experiences I’ve noticed one common thread: the people. I love South Africans. Really!

I love how you guys have embraced me with open arms (literally!!!). I love how most of the friends I’ve made here have kept in touch with me, and will stay lifelong friends. I love how my local guides of each different region were my mentors, and teachers – and showed me a very special view of their surroundings. And helped me to understand South Africa as a whole. (All those languages can get a little tricky for a young Aussie lad!!!)


I love how everyone who is behind making this show a reality has left a special impact on me, and on the show. I love how the HQSA Team took a cooking show and made it into an adventure. And I love that everyone on this adventure has had their own set of thrills making Hayden Quinn South Africa come to life.


I’ve loved all of the cultures – and with them, the clothes, the colours, of course the food and the languages and the traditions. And when it comes to South African languages – let’s just say I’m a beginner!!! But I have felt so honoured by your patience at teaching me your languages, and being encouraging even when I messed them up. I’ve loved learning them, and I hope you have even more patience when I come back next, and try them out on you!!


So thank you!! Thank you all of you.

Thanks for watching, for reading, for liking and following and posting and sharing your own Hayden Quinn South Africa experiences. I’m so grateful, and so privileged to have been able to share this experience with you.

I cant wait to be back with you next year to do it all again! And I can’t wait to hear where you think I should visit next!


Dankie. Enkosi. Ngiyathokoza. Ke a leboga. Ke a leboha. Siyabonga. Inkomu. Ndo livhuwa. Ngiyabonga. Cheers!



Hayden with his surf board

Sun’s Out, Surf’s Up!

I must say, Durban’s a place that suits me pretty well. There are more beaches than you can possibly surf in a week. There’s sun and warmth enough to wear thongs (flip flops), exclusively.

And then there’s the flavour that you look for when you want to spice things up.


It seemed a very appealing, and appropriate, destination in which to film our final episode of Hayden Quinn South Africa. Not to mention a fun one. We’d basically not even unpacked at the hotel before we headed off to the WaveHouse.

Here, some of the crew and I took our moment, and did final cheesy topless pose to mark our final episode (see below!!!). I could’ve stayed there all day – but I was dying to check out some cool cucumbers that I’d read about being grown, sustainably, in Durbs.


We headed to Qutom Farm, and it was great to see their use of solar panels, rainwater and other high tech techniques, that keep this farm green. And the cucumbers? They were pretty green too!
I headed into the city, to  Victoria Street Market. Here I learned how to recreate the ultimate bunny chow. To add a healthy twist to the meal, I whipped up a sambal salad (with my freshly picked cucumbers!). I then had to find the legends who were rumoured to live off bunny chow, while maintaining their perfect six packs: the lifeguards.


Having been a lifeguard myself, this was a really great experience for me. Though the lifeguard systems in South Africa and Australia are slightly different, the stories are similar – and so is the fitness!!! To keep in line with this, I prepared the lifeguards a tasty WWF SASSI Green List  hake curry. We shared it, swapped stories, and had a laugh along the way. The crew ate whatever was left after the scene was shot.


It was cooking!


Learning the ropes

Hayden preparing curry, behind the scenes

Getting hungry for some curry!

Hayden with the lifeguards

Feeling at home!

Hayden with his surf board

Surf’s up!

Hayden in Zulu attire

The Rhino Reality

I’ve always had a huge appreciation for the rhino. However, not being native to the African continent, I never fully understood just how dire the rhino poaching issue in South Africa was, until I saw it for myself. Through this scary reality of poaching, I saw die-hard positivity. I saw volunteers, organisations and funding to look after rhinos, assess stocks and better understand the risks to these amazing creatures. I saw people tracking and monitoring rhinos, from the ground to the air.

I was even lucky enough to meet up with these passionate people and get a hands on appreciation for what they do. I was inspired by these incredible men and women who work around the clock to protect one of South Africa’s biggest assets.


And when I saw these magnificent animals larger-than-life from the ground and small-and-distant from the air, I was hooked. Rhinos really shock you by their size, their beauty and even just by the way they move. And of course by the fact that they look like modern-day dinosaurs! I just love them.

That night our hosts at Ghost Mountain Inn treated the crew and me to a slap-up dinner. It was nice to be able to put the cameras away and to enjoy, especially after a long day of filming.

I moved from nature to culture, and explored the old set of the television series Shaka Zulu (which has just recently started a re-broadcast on SABC 3 prime time), and through this, got a taste for the Zulu culture. I even took part in stick-fighting! That was awesome (although my skills left a lot to be desired!). Apparently if you get married, the different warriors from each family fight to ‘get to know each other’. I loved that too.
It was so much fun, we wrapped it all up with a little bit of Zulu style dancing! (And wow – did the crew laughed at my clumsy attempt!)


Hayden and the Zulu Kingdom

I felt under-dressed.

Hayden in Zulu attire

My friend over there was calling me pasty – what!!

Hayden and Etienne in the helicopter

Guardians in the sky

Hayden experiencing rhino conservation

Rhino watch.

Hayden in a helicopter


Hayden and the cows

Midlands – Everything You Want

The Midlands is one of those places that you want to be your most excited, and child-like self.

There’s so much natural beauty around that you just have to stop along the side of the road and have a swim in the rapids (which is exactly what I did!).


I wanted to go to markets, hand-pick new supplies, and get the chance to hear the stories behind the food. To me a local market is the best place to get a feel for the food and people in the local area. They are filled with great snacks and people – both with their own stories to share.
I wanted to visit cows, milk them, call them my girlfriends, and then make the ultimate No Churn Ice Cream from their cream. I wanted to put that ice cream on top of a sugar cone, with crumbled honeycomb on top of my dish, and eat it right next to the cows’ paddocks.
I wanted to meet up with my new celeb chef of a friend, and I wanted her to join us on a hot air balloon experience of a lifetime! I wanted to pick the leaves off trees as my hot air balloon floated past trees. I wanted to the basket to touch the water, and to feel thrilled by this.


I then want to learn new dishes, tricks and tactics from my new cooking friend and I wanted to joke about her hatred of wooden spoons.


Midlands is the type of place that takes things that you want to do and makes them possible. It’s a place that you want to do the most of everything: to feel the people, the nature, the surroundings, the culture, and of course to taste the food. I wanted to experience the Midlands in the most real – and complete way as possible – and I got the best of it.


Hayden next to rapids

A quick dip

Hayden and the crew swim

The crew swims too!

Hayden milking a cow

Milking a cow – almost like a pro

The girls and me

Hayden and the cows

The girls and me.

Dairy cows

Dairy cows

Ice cream ingredients

I’m the ice cream man!!

Behind the scenes crew in the hot air balloon

Floating behind the scenes

Hot air balloon


Hayden Quinn in Lesotho!

Call Me Hayden “The Hobbit” Quinn

Let’s just say that my experience of Lesotho was pretty flipping similar to the first time when I read The Hobbit. Mountains? Check. Clouds? Check. Mysterious body of water? Check. Hobbit? Me. Check. Cooking on the road? Check.

And let me just say, the more I think about it, the more I fitted the role of The Hobbit’s “burglar” Bilbo. Like in The Hobbit, we travelled by horseback (on Basotho ponies). Similar to Bilbo, I was the hungry one, longing for food. All the time.


The treasure? Rose’s cooking. And experiencing a Basotho meal with her, and her home-grown veggies.

My first adventure as burglar Bilbo was to find Rose. On a pony. In a blanket (pig in a blanket anyone?!). With a Basotho hat. And I found her!
Like Bilbo and his burglar flaws, my messy flaws were exposed in helping Rose cook – and she decided that I was a messy cook – because I left my spoon everywhere but in the bowl!!!


Luckily, my spoon habits had nothing to do with the outcome of the meal – which was delicious.  Learning from Rose and spending time in her village was a special moment for me. It was great to see her friends, family, and neighbours going about their life. The fun and smiles that the kids shared with me and the whole crew was really a highlight for me. I’m going to take those memories with me for ever.

So that was my first adventure.
My next adventure in the Kingdom in the Sky (even the name sounds like The Hobbit!) took me to the banks of the Katse Dam. I conquered dam walls, rowed determinedly on the water, and made it to the Katse Fish Farm, in time to catch me some dinner.
Hunger-driven, I braved a broken jetty (haha it really was quite tretcherous! The lengths you go for a beautiful shot!), and prepared the tastiest trout fresh from the Katse Reservoir. And boy, it was tasty. We had reached the treasure, and the adventures were to come to an end….in Lesotho.
All in all, it was a surreal, breath-taking and amazing experience.



Beautiful mountain pass of Lesotho


Hayden riding a pony

Call me Bilbo!

The traditional Basotho outfit - how awesome is the blanket that I'm wearing?

The traditional Basotho outfit – how awesome is the blanket that I’m wearing?!!

Hayden and team on ponies

Trekking to Rose

Hayden and Rose in the Midlands

Rose, and the messy cook.

Sotho kids admiring the camera shots.

Brad showing the kids how it’s done!

Hayden and his guides at the Katse Fish Farm

At the Katse Fish Farm

Freshly caught trout

Trout time!

Hayden cooking on a jetty, on the banks of the Katse Dam

The rickety jetty – and the Katse dam.

Hayden cooking on top of the Randlord's building in Jozi

Sharp-sharp, Soweto!

Okay guys let me introduce you to my favourite South African word: “sharp”. As in, “sharp-sharp!” meaning hello, goodbye, or just to show you’re amped for something – especially if you’re bordering on the same excitement levels that I was when we visited Soweto.

And yes. Soweto is one of the sharpest places in SA if you ask me!!!

I met with Lebo, of Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers, and we cruised around Soweto by bike. Now, if you’re ever in Jo’burg and have a couple of hours free – Soweto’s where it’s at. I mean even the old cooling towers had been jazzed up to fit the vibe and display the passions of the people of Soweto! Lebo took to me to Vilakazi Street, which is probably the most inspirational street in the world. Honestly, how can one street have been the home of two Nobel Laureates?!
We also passed kids playing soccer, shabeens, and loads of little restaurants and bars. Seeing all of this I felt extremely honoured to be shown around by one of Soweto’s very own.
I felt part of it.

From the inner-city Soweto to the outskirts of Jozi I continued to feel part of it when we visited the Swartkop Valley Primary Farm School, who form part of the EduPlant project. They grow their own food, with a basis on permaculture, and of course educate – not only the children – but also the local community so that they can use the skills of growing their own food at home. It was so great to see how keen some of the kids were at gardening. We used their skills (and their carrots), and threw together an awesome chicken mayo and salad sarmie (love that word!!!). haha and there were smiles all round!

To top it off, I was run off my feet by the kids in an epic soccer game. Haha!!!


Behind the camera photo

Lights…camera…I think you know where I’m going with this.

Hayden cooking on top of the Randlord's building in Jozi


Hayden poses with Chef Khumalo

Chef Khumalo and I

Food preparation


View of Johannesburg

Look at this beauty!

Hayden drinking a beer with the locals

These quarts’s mean business – enjoying a cold one in Soweto

Hayden crawling like a leopard

Leopards Never Change Their Spots

Leopards never change their spots.

It’s a saying, but seriously. Why would they? Their spots are gorgeous. Spotting a spotted leopard (redundant?) in their local spot was such a privilege. Even if it was only on a computer screen, just to know that these majestic animals are roaming the same paths and valleys and veld that we too can walk is a pretty special thing. As was Dr Quinton Martins’ knowledge on my favourite member of the Big Five (like when he pointed out that most spots on a leopard are in fact rosettes, not spots! Who knew?!). The expanse over which these animals roam, to me was incredible. It just brings to light how much of an impact we as humans have on their lives.

Hayden crawling like a leopard

Leopard crawll. Not even joking!!

Hayden looking at the leopard footage.

Looking at the leopard footage.

From my leopard crawling in the Gamkaberg Nature Reserve, we drove on to Prince Albert via the Swartberg Pass. And boy – is that pass impressive! I mean, it was built over a century ago, one of the longest walls is apparently 2,4km(!!!). The pass is still used today, and being a bit of a mountain pass lover haha I can safely say (‘scuse the pun) that this road, even though it is all dirt and gravel is really really well kempt and to me very safe; the hardest part is keeping your eyes on the road for all the incredible views!. I know it probably sounds mad to those of you who haven’t driven it before – but for those of you who have, you get it, right?! It really was an awesome part of our long drive north to Priska and its madness that that sort of pass exists, let alone has existed that way for over a century…!


The next day we headed for Prieska. At first, I thought – snap. It’s South Africa’s outback. But the next thing we were cooking a potjie with spice combinations I wasn’t even allowed to know, swimming in a pool with dogs, admiring Damara sheep (they have quite peculiar tails!!! Sheep in Aus don’t have tails), and listening to an accordionist! Oh, and the windpump broke (did you see that!!!).

Potjie pot

Potjie time!

Hennie and Hayden standing in front of a windpump

Hennie and me, making a potjie

That’s when I realised, we were definitely, definitely not in the Outback. It may look the same, and it may be filled with similar characters but all these characters had a different story to tell.
And that bizarre, crazy fun day really epitomised my trip so far. It showed me that when you’re inundated with culture and experience – well that’s just the beginning of it; you can become so overwhelmed and pleasantly surprised when traveling that you end up eating a potjie, listening to an accordionist, and about to be hailed on in the middle of nowhere in Prieska. And that that’s not only okay – but you couldn’t imagine anything better.

Sky, sunset and clouds

How beautiful?!

An elderly man playing the accordion

Oom Piet the accordionist

This is why I love travel, this is why I love food, and these are the reasons that I am falling in love with South Africa.

Crew in front of a sunflower field.

Crew, just chilling!




Stand Up Paddle.

Nice One, Knysna

Nice One, Knysna

Okay South Africa, I know you don’t like to be compared to the rest of the world because you’re special, you’re different, and you’re proud of it. And rightly so.

But I must just say Knysna has the same sick coastal vibe as the Gold Coast (on the east coast of Australia).

Stand Up Paddle.


And destinations like Knysna lend to my favourite type of holidays with boats, canals, water sports – and great food. And speaking of which, this is the same town that introduced me to the likes of Ile de Pain


I cooked with Ile de Pain’s owners (Liezie and Markus – it was really a pleasure you two!) and really digged the smoky taste that the wood-fire oven gave the flatbread.


Hayden, Liezl and Markus cooking

The Ile de Pain owners: Liezl and Markus, and me

And that was just the first taste of my epic Garden Route experience.

Knysna’s only flaw is that it doesn’t have itself a proper beach – but with Vic Bay just around the corner it’s hardly a drawback. Markus and I went for a fresh surf at this sheltered spot (not from the locals, or tourists in season!). And boy, was the surf cooking.


We headed to the Tsitsikamma forest where I learned about the massive, ancient yellowwoods, and then ZIP LINED THROUGH THEM!!!!! I mean, being the brave – macho and fearless guy that I am…well. It’s a bit different when it comes to heights! But when I was there, while I was looking over the canopies, I couldn’t have been happier.


About to zip-line through the trees!

About to zip-line through the trees!

Flower in the Tsitsikamma

In the Tsitsikamma Forest

We went on to prepare an oyster dish, and I slipped the (responsibly farmed) oysters down. And yeah, they really hit the spot.

Knysna team cheers!



Oysters – yum!

Hayden and Etienne in Paternoster

Paternoster Gets Me

Paternoster Gets Me

When you’re travelling, you get to experience new places for the first time. These experiences are fresh, exciting and can even be jarring. And among all of the new, you find that some places feel inherently familiar. Some places suit you, and you suit them. You just get each other. These rare places make you feel relaxed; they make you feel at home.


That’s what I got from Paternoster.


Now I know you South Africans are used to your country, and I’ve promised in the past not to ramble on about its beauty too much, but you’ve got to be kidding me!!! Paternoster is picturesque to death! It really does remind me of a beautiful little Greek village: loads of nature, loads of sea, and loads upon loads of culture.


And it just got me.


You know when you smell the salty sea air, and it makes your veins pump – you just want to get out there? Now imagine loads of awesome wooden fishing boats (called “bakkies”) just waiting on the sandy shore; waiting to take you out fishing. Waiting to take me out. I hoped.


I approached some of the local fishermen, and not only did they offer to take me out, but they offered me overalls (green, to match my eyes, a crew member joked) to wear, a line to tug and a technique to master. They taught me how to catch Hottentots – it was so awesome!


With hooks full and tummies empty we (Pieter and Abel, my fishermen guides, WWF trailblazer chef – Kobus – and I) ate the fish, together with freshly foraged ingredients, right off the rocks.


On the rocks.

Mussels on the rocks

Mussels on the rocks

Hayden and Etienne in Paternoster

Etienne and me, (HQSA’s DOP)

Boat on the Paternoster beach

A Bakkie

Photobooth poses at the launch

HQSA Premier – Hayden Quinn South Africa


Hayden Quinn South Africa had been scheduled for 14 July for a long time – and when the time came there was nothing more that any of us could do, except to celebrate. And celebrate we most certainly did! The crew and our guests joined us on the balcony of The Expresso Show’s studio, where we had fun and acted out some of the scenes from episode one.

Hayden Quinn standing at the top of Table Mountain, having prepared his Yellowtail Crudo meal.

Preparing Yellowtail Crudo on Table Mountain

It was awesome. To warm everyone up there was an open fire, with SASSI green list fish to braai. Well, the fish were marshmallows and were meant to be dunked into dark chocolate; in reality in episode one I went up Table Mountain to prepare Yellowtail Crudo, so the marshmallow impersonation was a less-extreme, and slightly sweeter version of this.

Sticks, marshmallow fish on the Expresso studio roof, to roast over the fire.

The marshmallow fish braai at the HQSA launch

Looking up at Table Mountain from the ground, you think, mmmmm its big, its tall, it’s a massive massive table, but! Has anyone ever mentioned to you just how high it is? It’s pretty freaking high. And on top of this, the crew had organised for me to abseil down it! Luckily, Lars (our director) was wearing an exceptionally tight, pink shirt (that he continually attempted to get me to wear – all tight shirts are in HQSA have come via Lars!) I convinced him would look great on national television. So, I tricked him into heading off first and he scaled the mountain in my place.

(Also, I’ve been copping a lot of grief because of this fear ever since. People seem to think that riding big waves and climbing big things are similar. Well, I don’t see it that way.)

To carry on the bobotie-theme (which we made in Bo-Kaap in episode one), we were treated to bobotie that we served out of a pumpkin. And that one pumpkin? It fed about 40 of us. Awesome.

Zainie and me in Bo-Kaap

Zainie and me in Bo-Kaap

Eventually the brown popcorn-filled bags were handed out, the couches were prepped, and the screening begun (right in the middle of my intro speech!). So I shut up, sat down, and glued my eyes to the screen.

Hayden watching Hayden Quinn South Africa

Me watching me watching me.

What made it really special was that a lot of us (the crew) hadn’t even seen the first episode yet, so I kept on getting comments like the ones from our cameraman, Brad (2nd cameraman), saying things like ‘ah they used my GoPro shot!’ And that made it such fun as HQSA became a reality to all of us.

Also, I got to have another go at Lars for his tight pink shirt which was good fun.

Thanks to all who came, and don’t forget to tune into HQSA next week!

Photobooth at HQSA launch

Some of the HQSA Team

I'm 100% organic

I’m 100% organic

Babotie forks

Bobotie forks

Photobooth poses at the launch

Expresso presenters joining in on some sustainability fun