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AROUND THE CAPE OF GOOD HOPE

The drink for which South Africa is best known is Rooibos which comes from the Cederberg Mountains. It was first mentioned in 1722 by the Swedish botanist Carl Thunberg, who noted his experience of the tea in his travel journal. It is impossible to say for certain how long the indigenous tribes of South Africa had already been enjoying Rooibos, but the global trade in this drink began in the early part of the 20th century. That’s when the Russian merchant Benjamin Ginsberg began importing it. Attempts to cultivate the wild plant rapidly ensued. Known as "farmers' tea", Rooibos is now South Africa's national drink and is enjoyed by most parts of society. A kettle is always on the boil in a South African home, in order to brew up when necessary.

The traditional method of drinking Rooibos in South Africa is without any extras, though honey and a dash of milk are occasionally added. It is prepared in special tea bags that resemble small cushions, which are placed in boiling water to infuse. These are also used as dressings for wounds and for fertilising plants. In contrast to other countries, South Africa does not have any well-known rituals surrounding tea. Instead, enjoyment of it is a routine part of daily life.