safari camp meals

Jan 27th, 2006, 05:44 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 335
safari camp meals

Just curious as to what to expect food-wise? Can anyone tell me what kind of meals they had at the camps? What exactly were you given to eat? Is there enough variety available? thank you
susan300 is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 05:51 PM
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Hi Susan,

I would have to say that this question for me, is way too wide to answer. I do not know the camps you are going to, or the country for that matter.
I have just been to the Sabi Sands with an incredibly fussy 22 year old, and she found enough to eat. So if you are picky, I would let the camp know in advance of your wishes!
KayeN is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 06:27 PM
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I agree with Kaye, need to know where you were going. At Luangwa River Lodge, it was all gourmet meals, at Chongwe it was more "homestyle" (lasagna, chicken, stew etc.) but very delicious...and I ate it all!
matnikstym is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 07:28 PM
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to formulate it as a british understatement - food is not a problem in safari camps...
aby is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 07:50 PM
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You have to be specific, in terms of where you are going to. But by and large, the problem usually is.......overeating and not being physically active.......
Jan 28th, 2006, 02:41 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,501
Hello Susan,

I'm a foodie, so I've made a study of the food at various camps. Again, it depends on where you're going -- but most camps I've been at (in SA and Botswana) serve the following meals: pre-morning game drive coffee/tea and muffins/pooridge; post game-drive brunch (eggs, bacon, sausage, etc., with lots of fresh fruit); pre-afternoon game drive tea with savoury and sweet options; post-afternoon game-drive supper. Lunch is more rarely served since brunch is usually around 1030-1100, but if you arrive in a camp around noon and have missed the brunch the kitchen will usually provide a lunch for you.

The style of cuisine varies from camp to camp. CCAfrica camps do a wonderful pan-African gourmet cuisine, whereas Wilderness Safaris do more home-style cooking. Both are quite tasty. In general, food tends to be simpler in more remote camps due to transport and storage issues.

Meats are usually chicken or beef, with game making a frequent appearance on the menu (if you don't want to eat what you've seen on the game drives, you should let the camps know in advance). Seafood is rarer except in SA. Salads are well-prepared, and there is always a large selection of tropical fruits.

Wine is usually decent South African stuff, though some of the premier camps (especially CCA) have very nice cellars. Places with a cellar will charge extra for special vintages, whereas the house wine is included. Wine is always served with dinner, and you can also have a drink at the bar during the day. Cocktails can be made up with varying skill depending on the barman.

Coffee includes espresso and cappuccino at most places I've stayed at.

One lack is tea -- they usuall only have Five Roses (the South African generic brand) and if you're lucky Earl Grey. If you enjoy your tea (as I do) you may want to bring your own. Most kitchens are happy to make it up for you if you do, or to provide hot water so you can make it up yourself.

Quantity is never an issue -- as others have noted, the main problem is too much food and too little exercise! My trousers were getting a bit tight after my last safari in Botswana...

I've found that the camps I've stayed at in South Africa and Botswana were very responsive to dietary requests if there is anything you are allergic to or sinply prefer not to eat. I loathe potatoes and don't care for onions, and when I was on safari some rice was specially prepared for me in lieu of potatoes on the nights they were served.

If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, or your dietary requirements are particularly unusual (or food is particularly important) get in touch with the camp beforehand so they can order in what they need -- particularly in Botswana, the camps are very remote so menus need to be planned in advance. Usually there is not extra cost, but if you require particularly expensive or specially prepared food (kosher, halal) there may be a small food supplement.

Hope that wasn't too much information!

jasher is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 02:51 AM
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I was going to post but Julian's post is spot on!

I'd add that, if you're vegetarian do let them know (in advance as food is pre-ordered and often flown in) whether you are a true vegetarian or you actually do eat fish/ seafood.

We have mostly stayed at Wilderness Safaris properties and have enjoyed the food far too much! Brunch is often the most varied as you'll often have a chef cooking eggs etc to demand, plus the cooked meats, lots of wonderful different salads and then several dishes that are lunch/dinner items rather than breakfast items, I can recall things like BBQ lambchops, macaroni cheese, lasagne and of course, fruit too. Dinner is similar except that it includes a starter and dessert. At WS camps these are often brought to you whereas the main course is often a buffet. Many camps also arrange an outdoor meal once every few nights which is more informal but also delicious.

My experience in South African national parks restaurants is quite different, as you might expect given the huge difference in prices etc. Buffet dinner was usually around 80 Rand per person and gave a reasonable choice for meat eaters but would not be great for a veggie. Food was acceptable with some good dishes but not comparable, understandably, with that on offer in private camps.

I have even less recent experience in East Africa and can only comment on Governor's Camp - when we were there some nights were buffet and some served. Served meals weren't great with limited choice and the quality didn't impress me. Buffets were OK with lots of choice but not as good as ones we ate in Botswana.
Kavey is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 04:54 AM
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Hi Julian,
I always liked your postings. Now I understand, there's a commonality.

My DH and I are both foodies, love nice wines, drink tea, don't care for onions or green bell peppers (they seem to be in everything).

Now I know, I'll have to bring my own Earl Grey and Tazo chai. One more thing to schlepp. Tea drinkers are always forgotten .
Red Rose tea, huh - wasn't that the one with the chimps in the commercial carrying on - your probably too young.
cybor is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 05:02 AM
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Sorry to be so vague. I am going to Botswana and will be at Savute, Chitabe and Kwetsani. Julian- thank you for your rundown, appreciate it. Now I better start exercising!
susan300 is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 05:22 AM
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Hi Sherry,

I'm glad you like my posts -- I like yours too!

Personally I find that the hardest thing to avoid is potatoes, especially in the UK. I just absolutely despite their texture, that slightly grainy gritty feeling. French onion soup is another bete noire -- I don't know how people can stand it, as it flavours the rest of your meal with onion. They did serve it one night in Botswana but I got a goat's cheese salad instead.

At least tea is lightweight! I also take my own tea on airplanes as the stuff they serve is pretty undrinkable...

jasher is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 09:27 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
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Hi Susan,

We were at Wilderness Camps also (Mombo, Duma Tau, Kwetsani). The food was very good at all three. Mostly buffet style, western food. Things like roasted lamb, chicken, fish, pasta, and lots of good salads, vegetables, fresh fruit.

Also, I think once a week or so the camps do a "traditional" evening where you eat African food around an open fire in the boma. That's very fun. We experienced twice at different camps. At Duma Tau, it was very authentic and everything is cooked on the open fire. the menu is this "pounded beef stew" with tomatoes and spices, mashed pumpkins, cabbage. All delicious. At Mombo it seemed less authentic. Can't remember what it was but it was cooked in the regular kitchen and served buffet style.

In any case, all delicious. Only thing you have to worry about is eating too much and gaining weight!


linjudy is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 06:12 PM
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Sherry, tea drinkers are not nearly as forgotten as they are in America, where you're lucky to get a tea bag and some lukewarm water!

Throughout southern Africa, tea and coffee are both served at breakfast, and the tea is actually made and served in a pot, along with a second pot of hot water, for maintaining the right strength. You may not be offered a choice of teas, though. I always take along a few bags of Earl Grey to have as an occasional treat.
Celia is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 04:01 AM
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My experience has taught me that all the lodges may boast of the big five, but will not guarantee it, however they should write intotheir marketing collateral that they do guarantee five 5lbs.......

They food always seems plentiful and if you ever are not doing anything you find youreself feeding!
mkhonzo is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 04:52 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
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Hi Celia,
How true it is that you can't get a decent cup of tea in the US and so many other places as well.

Lot's (and I say this loosely) of the better rest., coffee shops and tea rooms in the US, that are paying attention, will give you a good tea (boiled water in a pot) with a nice selection .

I've recently found out that I'll need to bring tea on my cabin charter in the Seychelles, even though some of the finest teas in the world come from that area - go figure.

I say, we should start tea riots world wide .
cybor is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 07:48 PM
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Of the camps/lodges i have visited so far, as i hv stated.......i have never had a problem, but if i was to pick my top 3.......i would say,

1.) Mombo camp (Chef Craig is amazing!)
2.) Lion Sands (very good food, with different settings for dinner every night....dinner on a river bead, bush lunches etc etc
3.) Kings Pool

The camps/lodges in East Africa serve good food, but are no where as fancy as Southern Africa (in terms of quality and gourmet variety). Governors camp food is pretty average......nothing to complain about, however.

Serena lodges do have an Indian option.......usually pretty decent...

Mala Mala has a fantastic Multi-grain bread....that i can recall.

Kwando camp foods are all very good, but their Breakfast/brunch options are pretty boring (if you stay for say a week......). The quality of their luches and dinners are very nice. Fresh tasting, healthy meals.

Wilderness camps offer too much to eat...there is cold breakfast, brunch, tea, sundowner snacks, dinner......they are hands down #1 for food.

I would love to visit Luangwa River Lodge someday........i hear it's pretty gourmet......Rocco, maybe you should fill us in......
Jan 29th, 2006, 08:24 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 7,391
santharamhari~ I stayed at Luangwa River Lodge and the food is incredible. Cereal, juice and fresh baked bread for the pre-morning game drive meal, brunch upon return: chicken or another meat, fresh salad, a few side dishes and another fresh baked bread. For the pre-afternoon game drive was a fresh baked sweet-lemon tart, chocolate torte for example. sundowners was an excellent hor's dourve like meat roll ups or foccacia bread. Dinners were the best, soup (the best butternut squash soup ever), salads, veggies and the entrees were everything from leg of lamb to bar-b-q chicken, schezwan ribs to roast beef, all with a freshly baked bread and followed by a great dessert. In the five days we were there, we never had a rerun of anything including the breads! Going back in March, lost the 11 pounds I gained on the last trip, so ready to pack it on again!
matnikstym is offline  

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