Virtual dinner parties, garden camping and date night at home – fresh ideas for lockdown socialising

As we gradually get used to living through a global pandemic in a newly socially distant world, online socialising is becoming ever more sophisticated. Hanging out online is no longer just about checking into the Houseparty app to see who’s around or face-timing your mom. In fact, after more than 50 days of lockdown, the concept of Friday night ‘Zoom drinks’ with friends is honestly starting to get a bit tired.

However, if there’s one thing that this pandemic has shown us, it is that innovation is rapid, and in the space of just a few weeks, socialising online has evolved drastically!

Here’s a look at some ‘new normal’ ideas that have cropped up for making virtual socialising during lockdown a bit more fun.

Virtual dinner parties with Dine4Six

In our pre-corona times Dine4Six was a fun new start-up that aimed to help people find new friends by organising small dinner parties for complete strangers. As Dine4Six puts it: “A stranger is simply a friend that you haven’t had dinner with yet”.

With restaurant dining off the cards, Dine4Six’s dinner parties now offers ‘virtual social dining’. If you are living alone, trying to navigate the social distancing dating scene or just want to connect with some new like-minded folk, Dine4Six’s dinner parties are the perfect platform.

Hosted on Google Hangouts, Dine4Six will connect you up with five fellow diners online, for a dinner party (you will need to cook the dinner yourself of course). To make sure that you are connected with people who are likely to be on the same wavelength as you parties are themed. There are singles parties for those who love travel, the ‘bakation’ dinner for those addicted to baking or a sports party where you can meet up virtually with new people to discuss your favourite sports and how much you miss them.

It costs just R50 to join the party and dinner starts from 19:30. Check out the schedule of dinners and book at

Garden camping and an early morning game drive

If you’ve got a garden and a tent, all that’s left to complete your virtual family safari experience is an online game drive. If you want to do something fun with the kids this weekend, why not stoke up the braai, pitch the tent in the garden and after an outdoors sleep at home set the alarm early to join in WildEarth’s virtual safari on youtube, beamed live and direct from the Kruger Park at 06:00 daily.

Make it more social by organising with friends and family to tune in to the game drive at the same and enjoy a morning coffee and rusks while you all ride virtually through the bush together.

Find out more about how to tune in to WildEarth’s game drives here.

Fresh ideas for lockdown Date Night at home

Spending every hour of every day locked up at home together can really take the romance out of a relationship. Which is why ‘at home’ date nights have become more important than ever.

A Happy Hour drink after work can be a good place to start (even if it’s a beautifully presented pineapple beer), or better yet order in takeaway from your favourite restaurant and get your best crockery and candles out. Making an effort to dress up is key (ditching you PJs for a day is a really good way to show you care both about your partner and yourself) as is switching off your technology. Ban use of your phones during date night, and if either of you does get tempted to start scrolling you can always implement a penalty!

If you aren’t too competitive, having a game night is another great way to reconnect with each other as opposed to your screens, or alternatively get up super early and take an early morning walk together to go and watch the sunrise.

The family garden picnic

While it is not yet clear when we will be allowed out to enjoy picnics in the park, you can still make an effort and enjoy a picnic at home instead. Get the blankets out and order in a family picnic from Milk Bar. The family picnic offer includes a full rotisserie chicken, sides and flatbreads. Find out more here.

Online pub quizzing

Nothing can ever replace the thrill of competing against strangers in a pub over beers in order to win token prizes and glory, but online quizzing is at least helping us to keep our trivia skills up to speed. As the lockdown has continued South Africa’s quiz masters have become more adept at hosting engaging online quizzes, complete with music and picture rounds, and many now are also hosting in aid of charity.

Regardless of how much you trust your opponents and their ability to abide by the honour code of not looking things up online, the greatest joy of quizzing has always been that feeling of knowing the answers, a feel-good factor that can be obtained in both physical and online worlds.

Classic Joburg quizzes to look out for include Quiz Whizz (now on Zoom), Vitamin Q (hosted on Twitch) and Quiz Nights SA (streamed live on YouTube with a online quiz form).

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