We met with the owner of Saffa Maso, Nicolaas Uys, who moved to the Czech Republic in 2017 with his “main goal” being to play rugby at a international level.
Fast forward five years and Nicolaas is not only playing for the Czech Republic national team but is also playing at club level for Tatra Smichov rugby club, fell in love with and married a Czech woman and has now set up a South African biltong company.
The South African community in the Czech Republic is fast growing, with “around 1000” South Africans currently living here. Nicolaas tries to organise monthly events for the community in Prague where they have a “braai” (a traditional South African grill) and other monthly get-togethers.
When asked what inspired him to start a biltong company in the Czech Republic, Nicolaas was clear that not only did he want to bring the flavours of South Africa to this part of the world, but he was passionate about the practicalities and health benefits of this protein-packed snack.
“I was unable to source good quality dried meat in the Czech Republic and was running out of supplies from my friends and family back in South Africa,” says Nicolaas to Prague Morning.
Biltong, a traditional dried meat commonly made from wild game or beef, is a great source of protein that Nicolaas believed was necessary for his personal sporting needs and for those around him.
In the beginning, he started making it just for himself, his teammates, and the rest of the South African community in Prague.
“However, as interest grew and people started to positively react to his products, it became clear that it might be possible to introduce it to a wider range of people in the Czech Republic,” he adds.
Nicolaas takes his products to market regularly and sells them in restaurants, bars, and rugby clubhouses across the country. He says that going to market is an integral part of his brand promotion in the Czech Republic as he has found that “Czech people tend to not buy something they do not know” so getting them to see and taste the biltong is very important.
In the next few years, Nicolaas hopes to expand to some bigger markets with the end goal of opening a shop that not only sells his biltong but other traditional South African products.
He also sells his products online where you can buy flavoured or unflavoured biltong. “We sell boxes that would make the perfect Christmas gift for any meat-loving friends or family or some starter packs for people who are new to biltong. On the website, you can also find delicious recipes that use the biltong products with everything from pizza to wraps to soup.”
A light-weight protein snack, biltong is an ideal way to stay satisfied when out and about.
You can get in touch with Nicolaas via his website, Facebook or WhatsApp +420 703126148