If you've ever wondered what safari camp dining is like, Bushtracks guest blogger Kelly Evans takes you inside the boma at Mashatu, where delicious kudu wellington and home-made ice cream are served up by the fireside and complemented by the good company and stories of your Motswana guides.
The wildlife is not the only highlight on a Botswana safari. In fact, many guests are equally in awe of the adventure which their taste buds experience: world-class dining in the remotest places. This is because all food is prepared at the safari camps by a team of experienced chefs and cooks who strive to present the best traditional African cuisine, as well as favorite western dishes. And this is no different at Mashatu Game Reserve.
Dining in the Boma
The culinary experience differs depending on the time of day, but there is something uniquely magical about dinner. After drinks in the bar, guests make their way to the boma. The boma is a traditional livestock enclosure, stockade, small fort or a district government office, however, at Mashatu, like many other Botswana safari camps, this is the dining area. A fire is situated in the middle of the boma, surrounded by a semi-circle dining arrangement. The boma is illuminated by gas lanterns which glow with a yellow sparkle (white light attracts too many insects) and set the romantic atmosphere. There is sometimes much amusement when a moth or small flying insect does land in a guest’s glass of water and is found swimming breaststroke on the surface. But it is all part of the bush experience.
Combining Traditional African Fare and Western Dishes
With the starlight night sky twinkling above and the silver moon hanging overhead, the menu is presented. The role of the dinner meal is not only to provide sustenance after an exhilarating day on safari, but also to take guests on a culinary journey which leaves them completely satisfied, yet anticipating the next scrumptious meal. A three-course meal is served ranging from traditional meals such as kudu antelope Wellington, goat stew (an absolute favorite) and African soup, to more western dishes like creamy chicken pie, local fish, crème brûlée, and the famous homemade, vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. All the food is hand prepared daily with the freshest ingredients and according to carefully crafted recipes. Plated meals are elegantly presented and introduce guests to the zests and tangs of the flavors and spices of Africa.
Storytelling Around the Fire
Stories are shared about the exciting, past day’s activities, as well as legendary folktales from the Motswana guides. In the entertainment department, guests are often surprised by a herd of elephant drinking at the waterhole in front of the Boma, and delighted when the Mashatu staff perform their local songs, encouraging the guests to join them in singing, whistling, clapping and even getting up to dance around the boma. The black of night settling in signals the end of the day is drawing near and everyone retreats to the quiet of their suites to recover, before the following day’s adventures begin.