Sandton Times Hour

Sandton Times Hour Edition 120 Podcast Show Notes

The weekly Sandton Times Hour is a Sandton magazine show that brings the wanted online pages of The Sandton Times to life.


  • Matt Botha, Founder of Wild Child Africa chats about taking an adventure along the Pondo Trail on South Africa’s Wild Coast.
  • Health and Wellness Expert Vanessa Ascencao shares some useful tips to help you sleep better.
  • Chef Martin Kobald, Vice President of the World Chefs Association and Chef Zana Alvarado, Chairlady of the SA Chefs Women in Culinary reveal the results of the BRM National Burger Challenge 2023.
  • Brent Hutcheson, Director at Care for Education talks about the importance of kids learning to play beyond a tablet or mobile-phone screen.
  • Visit for more stories.


As the only radio show and podcast dedicated to Africa’s richest square mile, this Sandton magazine show is packed with an array of entertaining and informative interviews blended with the best music, every week on Mix 93.8, Mondays at 7pm.


The Sandton Times offers readers all they ever wanted online, and The Sandton Times Hour is the go-to weekly magazine show broadcast from greater Sandton. The Sandton magazine show features fabulous food spots, luxurious lifestyle bits, first-hand travel tips, motoring notes, and world-class entertainment, business and so much more beyond the borders of greater Sandton. In 2023, the radio show and podcast was selected by Feedspot panellists at #15 on a ranking of Top 40 South Africa Podcasts on the web.


In this week’s show [Edition 120 | Week 26] The Sandton Times covers an array of topical news as well as these interviews:


THE PONDO TRAIL With Founder Of Wild Child Africa Matt Botha

Sandton Times Hour
The 2022 edition of The PONDO Trail Run introduced the “Pondo-People-Planet” initiative, which encouraged participants to rally together and support the cause. Image: Wild Child Africa

The PONDO Trail Run, organized by Wild Child Africa, offers participants a fully catered, multi-day adventure along the scenic Pondoland coastline. The event’s “Pondo-People-Planet” initiative, launched in 2022, raised funds for community centers in the area and corrective surgery for children with cleft conditions. Through the support of partners like Cipla, Devil’s Peak, and Sealand, the event not only provides an extraordinary running experience but also contributes to the preservation and well-being of Pondoland’s natural beauty and local communities.


The brainchild behind The PONDO Trail Run is Matt Botha, the owner and founder of Wild Child Africa. Matt expressed his deep connection to Pondoland’s coastline, as he and his brother spent a significant portion of their childhood there. He considers it a privilege to share the area’s natural beauty with others while actively contributing to its preservation.


The event raised over R140’000, which was donated to The Pondoland Conservation Trust and the Cipla Foundation’s ‘Miles for Smiles’ initiative. The latter provides funds for corrective surgery for children with cleft conditions.


For more on the Pondo Trail, visit the Wild Child Africa website.


SLEEP BETTER With Health and Wellness Expert Vanessa Ascencao

Sandton Times Hour
Vanessa Ascencao, a health and wellness expert, emphasized the importance of quality sleep, citing the growing body of evidence linking lack of sleep to impaired daily functioning and long-term health issues. Image: Vanessa Ascencao

Sleep disorders, such as insomnia and sleep apnea, which negatively affect sleep quality, are prevalent in South Africa but often go undiagnosed.


A recent study conducted by Charité Medical University in Berlin suggests that people require more sleep during the winter season compared to other seasons. The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience, involved monitoring the sleep patterns of 292 participants with sleep-related difficulties over the course of a year. Participants were instructed to sleep naturally, without alarms, while the quality, type, and duration of their sleep were measured month-to-month.

The findings revealed that during winter, participants experienced an additional 30 minutes of REM sleep compared to summer, even in urban areas with artificial lighting. Additionally, the study showed a decrease in deep sleep during autumn. Although total sleep time was approximately one hour longer in winter than in summer, the researchers noted that this difference was not statistically significant.


According to the researchers, the human body clock is set by the sun, and variations in daylight and light exposure throughout the year can impact sleep duration and quality. Dr. Dieter Kunz, a clinical psychiatrist, sleep researcher, and study author at St Hedwig Hospital in Berlin, highlighted the need for adjusting sleep habits, including duration and timing, according to the seasons. Alternatively, societal schedules such as school and work could be adapted to accommodate seasonal sleep needs.


Vanessa offered suggestions for creating an optimal sleep environment, such as removing electronic devices from the bedroom, maintaining a cool and dark room, consuming high-quality food and nutrients, engaging in daily exercise or movement, reducing caffeine and sugar intake, and refraining from eating three hours before bedtime. Practices like meditation or yoga and the use of natural supplements such as Magnesium and Rescue Remedy drops were also recommended.


BRM NATIONAL BURGER CHALLENGE 2023 With Vice President of the World Chefs Association Chef Martin Kobald, and Chef Zana Alvarado

Sandton Times Hour
The first-place winner received a cash prize of R15’000 and also earned the prestigious title of National Burger Challenge Champion 2023, giving them the ultimate bragging rights. Image: BRM National Burger Challenge 2023

Get ready to celebrate the art of burger making with the National Burger Challenge 2023! This exciting competition brought together burger enthusiasts and talented chefs to showcase their skills in crafting the perfect burger. Now in its second year, the BRM National Burger Challenge 2023 saw a remarkable improvement in the quality of burgers presented compared to previous years. With a staggering 200 entries received, the judges had the difficult task of selecting only 28 burgers to be showcased live at the Africa’s Big 7 event.


Chef Zana Alvarado stole the show with her winning “The Shahi Burger” featuring flavours from Pakistani and Indo-Iranian cuisine, ticking all the boxes that the judges were looking for. Not only did her burger patty have the potential for commercial success, but the presentation in the bun left the judges speechless. The combination of flavors and the freshness of the ingredients made it an unforgettable burger that will be remembered for a long time to come.


To participate in the National Burger Challenge, had to have burger recipes that were original and unpublished. Finalists were selected by a panel of judges from the South African Chefs Association, ensuring that only the best of the best make it to the competition.


However, the challenge doesn’t stop at just creating a delicious burger. Next year, the competition aims to find a burger that can be easily commercialized and reproduced for the majority of people in South Africa.


KIDS LEARNING DURING PLAY With Care For Education Director Brent Hutcheson

Sandton Times Hour
Play not only fosters emotional connections between parents and children but also teaches important skills like resilience, problem-solving, and emotional expression. Image: Lego

Childhood memories of playing outdoors and using imagination to create fun games are cherished by many millennials today. Unlike children in the 80’s and 90’s, today’s children face numerous challenges and navigate a stressful and overwhelming environment. However, the LEGO Play Well Study 2022 reveals the significant benefits of play for families.


According to the study, 95% of parents feel that play strengthens family bonds, improves family well-being, and enhances overall happiness. Surprisingly, one in three parents admitted to not playing with their children as much as they should, while 84% of children expressed a desire for more playtime with their parents.


Miroslav Riha, LEGO South Africa’s country manager, emphasizes the importance of nurturing these connections, as they make parents the go-to person for children when facing challenges or confusing emotions.


To encourage playful interactions at home, parents can engage in various activities that promote creativity, imagination, and spontaneity. This can include board games, puzzles, imaginative play, building with LEGO DUPLO, and physical activities like dancing or playing catch. Parents can also infuse playfulness into daily activities such as cooking or cleaning, transforming them into enjoyable and engaging experiences.
Whether children engage in construction toys, imaginary play, or digital gaming, play serves as a vital avenue for learning, development, and finding comfort and safety amidst the chaos of the world.


In a time when children face numerous challenges, nurturing a playful environment at home can provide them with essential life skills, emotional support, and a sense of joy. The power of play extends beyond entertainment—it strengthens family bonds and contributes to the overall well-being of both children and parents.


Sandton Times Hour Music Playlist

  • MOUNT & Emdey – Venus
  • Boris Way – Pink Soldiers
  • Diplo & Sonny Fodera – Turn Back Time


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Sandton Times Correspondent

Curated content from The Sandton Times newsroom desks.


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