Mzoli’s – a truly African experience in a township in Cape Town

Mzoli’s – a truly African experience in a township in Cape Town

Mzoli’s is a smash hit among both the township locals and visitors to the Cape who are keen to get a feel of “real” Africa.   Mzoli’s is an African food BBQ/Braai restaurant located in the heart of Gugulethu township.  In Africa a meal is not complete unless there is meat!  So, whatever you do, do not take your vegetarian friends with you!

Note that in order to get there you have venture into the township areas of Cape Town – so make sure you have a good map with you, directions and Mzoli’s telephone number in case you get lost (although they apparently very seldom answer the phone!).  Most locals will know where it is too – so you can always stop and ask.

Mzoli’s was started in around 2003 by a local entrepreneurial businessman – Mzoli Ngcawuzele – as a butchery.  In our local townships it often works that the butchery will have a facility to cook your meat, and you can then buy your booze next door.  Mzoli has stuck to only doing the meat side of the business and avoided going the full hog and doing the alcohol as well.  This way the surrounding businesses also benefit from their location.  You are also welcome to bring your own alcohol – most of the locals do!

Mzoli’s is great fun – they have a butchery counter where you start your visit – here you select the cuts of meat you wish to have braaied (BBQed).  You also select your starch – a choice of Pap (local maize based porridge made from ground corn), local steamed bread or  Samp & Beans, plus a relish called Chakalaka (a must to include in the mix!).  Your meat is then taken off to be cooked while you firstly head to a local Shabeen (pub) to buy some alcohol to enjoy with lunch – there are a couple to chose from right next door.  Mzoli’s has a designated person to welcome visitors and they will usually spot you looking dazed and confused and show you the ropes.  Our welcome man (Sam) was a suave, gorgeously dressed,  very camp and extremely fun guy.  Sam made sure we felt welcome and knew the ropes of how to get ourselves sorted out and relaxed.  He also very sweetly came to check on us throughout lunch.  Note that Mzoli’s is wonderfully quiet on weekdays and completely crazy on weekends.  People come from far and wide to enjoy the vibe at Mzoli’s, the excellent meat which is rubbed in their secret spice (extremely delicious!!) and to just hang out and socialize.  Locals have warned me that it can take hours for your orders to come out on a weekend – so they recommend going early (this way you will also get a table).  There is live music often on weekends, or a DJ, which adds to the vibe.

Note that this is not a Western restaurant – it is a local township eatery and is rustic. There are outside tables under a tin awning. Here you sit on the street, there are township dogs waiting for scraps, beggars who are also hungry……………so make sure you throw nothing away – there is always someone that will be very happy to enjoy your leftovers!

Overall assessment – I loved it!  I loved our “welcome committee” – he made the visit such fun!!  The food was great – authentic, well prepared and delicious!  I loved people watching while we were there.  I loved the vibe.  I am not sure I would be up to going on a weekend – but I think I should try so that I know what it is like – but waiting up to four hours for food…………..hmmmmm!  Perhaps the solution is to take our own snacks and just join the party!  I would recommend it to those who wish to see what the “vibe” is like at a local township restaurant and to experience the food.  But be warned – this is a rustic local experience!

Opening times:  7 days a week  until around 7pm

My Directions: Take the M10 Heideveld turnoff from the N2 highway (coming form Cape Town).  Continue straight over and then turned RIGHT at the Guguletu sign (this was at the 2nd set of traffic lights).  We then turned at the M18 KLIPFONTEING sight.  Continue straight.  Look for the PURPLE SHOP with a GREEN ROOF.  Turn left here and it is on your left.

OTHER DIRECTIONS FOUND ON THE INTERNET: If you take the Modderdam Rd exit off the N2 out of Cape Town, turn left when you get to Klipfontein Road, Cross the railway line, pass a petrol station on your left, but carry on down Klipfontein.

Turn left at about the second road after the intersection, and you will see Mzoli’s immediately on your left.

For Google Maps – click here (I think this is the safest bet for directions!!)

Telephone numbers: +27 (0)21 638 1355. Mobile +27 (0)78 606 7405

POST NOTE – VAMOS TOURS CAN INCLUDE LUNCH AT MZOLI’S AFTER THEIR TOWNSHIP TOURS.  Click here to visit their website or call them on

Tel: + 27 72 499 7866 or + 27 83 452 1112