What is the best braai wood?

The most memorable summer nights are those spent with family and friends, waiting patiently for your meat to cook, whilst surrounding a toasty fire that someone should have started a few hours earlier. And at about 10 pm, when the meat is finally served, you don’t really care that your hunger forced you to eat through a kilogram pack of peanuts or chips because the smoky flavours on your plate are so worth it.

And just like magic, the night has a renewed sense of energy as the music gets louder, more wood is thrown on the fire, the next round is served and no-one seems to be bothered that they’re eating pudding at 00h00. Then, long after the last embers cooled and everyone went to bed, you’re reminded of the beautiful fire responsible for such a wonderful night as you wake up to that distinct smoky smell on your pillow.

Much like good meals rely on good ingredients and produce, a great braai needs a great fire. Not just any fire though, whilst you could easily cook your chops on the bonnet of a bakkie in the midday summer heat, the real authentic South African braai is a wood fire. Here’s our guide to the best wood for your perfect summer braai.

Dry, Dense and Aromatic

Without a doubt, your braai wood needs to be dry as too much moisture creates that thick grey smoke that will have your guests running circles around the fire to avoid suffocation. Dense wood (heavy, in other words) burns long and slow – the longer a fire burns the hotter it gets, leading to those moments around the fire where you start to wonder if it’s possible to get sunburned in the middle of the night. But at the end of the night, the flavour of your meat is most important – the natural aroma of high-quality wood creates the most effective, classic ‘braai’ flavour in your food. We recommend the following types of wood:

Kameeldoring (Camel Thorn)

Dried by the African sun, this wood has the lowest moisture content of them all (usually below 5%) which of course creates a hot and long-lasting fire with very little smoke. This wood is popular for its unique, musky aroma.
Recommended for medium to large braais & fire pits.

Sekeldoring (Sickle Thorn)/ Sekelbos

This wood burns hot and produces beautiful flames. The coals are hot and long-lasting giving you plenty of time to find that ‘sweet spot’ to place your grid and to quickly dash to Woolworths for more garlic bread & ice. Sekeldoring has an aromatic and fragrant ‘bushveld’ smell and adds flavour to your meat. Recommended for Small to large braais & fire pits.


This wood is very popular in the Western Cape as it produces good coals and creates that nostalgic braai smoke smell that perfectly flavours your meat and is recognised by most Capetonians as a local “braai hout”.
It is often not well seasoned/dried and may cause some frustration with performance BUT some people are just Rooikrans diehards.
Recommended for medium to large braais & fire pits.

Namibian Hardwood Mix

Our Namibian Hardwood mix creates great fires that flame well, burn hot, leave coals perfect for braaing. Its what we call our Nambian Hardwood lucky packet, but it will deliver hot coals and put a smile on your face. The perfect partner for any braai.
Recommended for medium to large braais & fire pits.

In closing:

It’s always well worth investing in good wood – the last thing anyone wants is for you to show up at the family braai with wet/unseasoned wood that was cut down a few weeks ago. Worse still, unseasoned wood produces that unmissable, sour smoke which creates worry in your neighbourhood as passers-by grow increasingly nervous that you may have to finish cooking your braai meat in the oven.

To avoid all that mess and ensure perfect braais this summer, check out our full product range here.