Mzoli’s is a “restaurant” in a Cape Town township called Gugulethu (and a township is a district like the one that aliens inhabited in “District 9”). The reason why I put the word restaurant into inverted commas is that it’s not exactly one. You have to both order food and pick it up when it’s ready yourself, the service only takes care of cleaning. Therefore, the place has a vibe more similar to a bring’n’braii (or bring’n’barbecue or przynies’swoja’kiełbę’na’grilla) than to a typical eating venue.
The ones who fear the world township should learn that Mzoli’s is a rather famous tourist spot for people who want to experience “the real South Africa” so it is relatively safe to visit. It is situated on the outskirts of Gugulethu and easily accesible by car, public or private taxi. If you choose to use your own transport, fancy cars parked outside the venue will give you hope that we you’ll find your car untouched when you’re ready to head back. The place is better enjoyed in a company so don’t forget to bring a few friends with you and choose wisely. If you’re planning to have highly intellectual conversations with someone it’s just not the place to do that as the loud music of all sorts forces people to shout what they’re trying to express.
Although it’s an all day experience (heading back before the sun sets is recommendable) you don’t have to bring too much cash with, a R100 note should be enough to enjoy the day. The three most important points on the agenda when at Mzoli’s are:
The nearby shops provide limitless amounts of booze at the cheapest price in town. One doesn’t have to be prudent for getting drunk seems to be acceptable there and as long as you’re not agressive it shouldn’t get you into trouble. Depending on your personal preferences you may want to drink your beverages out of the bottle or to purchase a drinking vessel made of recycled glass (R10 each).
You can have as many bottles of cider and beer as you want, however, getting a bottle of a stronger spirit may turn out to be a problem. One member of our crew decided to get a bottle of tequila for the table (I SWEAR IT WASN’T ME) and that’s what he came back with:
The coffee liquer turned out to be a poor Tequila’s replacement, however, if you add it to beer it enhances its flavor.
Please be warned before you drink too much: the toilets at Mzoli’s are quite rural – toilet paper hangs outside and the door won’t lock, you also don’t want to sit your ass there (pol preferowana pozycja na Małysza) so I suggest you start with these deep knee bends today.
Whether you drank alcohol or decided to stay sober, the hunger will get you sooner or later and that’s exactly what Mzoli’s is waiting for. You can choose between a wide variety of meat (no photos taken from the fear of an iPhone snatch) – chops, sausages, stakes – whatever it is that you like can be yours, yet again at the best price you can get. There’s no vegetarian option so unless you feel like indulging yourself in chakalaka (spicy, veggie relish) with pap or bread I’d suggest lunching somewhere else.
If you’re unsure of your dancing skills you may decide to just move some parts of your body to the rhythm or you may be drunk enough to join the joll (to joll – SA slang for to party). Either way you’ll have fun as even observing the madness around you improves one’s mood. Apart from the music from the speakers (all sorts), there are guys with traditional instruments walking around and playing some of their own tunes joining the surprisingly enchanting cacophony of the place. The guys we’ll demand a small retribution for their efforts, so have some coins prepared.
Upon departure, which is advisable before the darkness falls, keep some coins at hand for (a) car attendant(s) who won’t let you go without paying him/her/them for keeping your car safe. Please, also remember, that you’ve visited an attraction rather than a real, township and that life inside the shack is probably not as much fun as a visit to Mzoli’s.