For the most part, it’s exquisite encounters with wildlife—not fabulous cuisine—that’s usually considered the major draw for safari travellers. But thanks to a growing number of distinctive dining experiences that highlight Africa’s culinary traditions, gorgeous landscapes, and (yes) wild creatures, that may not stay the case for long. Here are just a few of the culinary escapades worth savouring on Micato Safaris.
A signature pleasure of safari travel is enjoying an alfresco bite while surrounded by Africa’s glorious natural scenery. Just about every Micato safari itinerary includes traditional post-game-drive sundowners—where guests savour cocktails and snacks as dusk settles over the veld and wetlands. But others offer more elaborate open-air dining experiences, especially in the mornings. At lodges in Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve, for example (such as Bateleur Camp and the Fairmont Mara Safari Club), breathtaking morning hot-air balloon rides over the preserve always culminate with breakfast at an acacia-shaded breakfast table, beautifully laid with white tablecloth and silver cutlery, and featuring cooked egg dishes, locally made sausages, baked goods and sweets, and chilled Champagne. Further east, in the shadow of Kenya’s highest, 17,000-foot peak, the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Lodge provides a similarly lavish breakfast spread—but on a lushly forested slope overlooking the mountain, for guests who have arrived on horseback.
While spotting wild creatures makes up a large part of most safari itineraries, some lodges where Micato guests stay have also crafted unique dining experiences focused around local wildlife species. In an effort to educate guests about the plight of one of Kenya’s most endangered antelope species, the striking Mountain Bongo, for example, Mount Kenya Safari Club offers “Breakfast with the Bongos”—an excursion which includes a game drive in the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy to specifically look for and learn about the antelopes, and an outdoor breakfast in their native habitat.
Lodges in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park (such as Serengeti Migration Camp and Singita Grumeti Reserves) similarly provide sumptuous picnic lunches for guests who join “Day With the Wildebeests” jaunts—during which they track, and view, vast herds of wildebeest during their Great Migration across northern Tanzania and Kenya. And then there’s Abu Camp, set in a private concession in Botswana’s Okavango Delta. Here, guests delight in taking traditional high tea—served on fine china, with canapes and tea cakes—beside a watering hole frequented by a local family of elephants.
Some of the most memorable safari meals take place at the lodges themselves—and often at dinnertime. Some properties, like Ulusaba in South Africa’s Sabi Sand Game Preserve, and Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, have sophisticated dining rooms, where evening meals are served beneath vaulted ceilings adorned with chandeliers. Others, like Solio Lodge, on Kenya’s Laikipia Plateau, have intimate open-air dining platforms, and onsite gardens that produce organic vegetables, fruits, and herbs used to make guest meals.
Most every lodge, however, treats Micato guests to the most justifiably famous safari dining ritual of all: a traditional barbecue set in a boma (a fenced open-air area), with long tables set next to a blazing campfire and beneath the glittering African stars. These sumptuous meals typically include an array of coal-roasted local game meats, such as kudu, oryx, or impala; handmade sausages; and myriad accompaniments including spiced rice and stewed vegetable dishes, and regional staples like ugali (maize porridge). Barbecues are often followed by entertainment from local indigenous dancers and musicians, whose chanting, foot-pounding performances make the dining experience more delicious still.
Whether you consider yourself a ‘foodie’ or not, you will be delighted with the dining experiences to be found in Micato’s Africa. After all, we weren’t recognized as Culinary Tour Operator of the year by Saveur Magazine for nothing! To begin planning your safari, contact the experts at Micato.