Holidays are the ultimate form of escape, aren’t they? With great anticipation, we all look forward to those two or three weeks a year when we can escape our daily routines with wild, reckless abandon in order to experience the extraordinary.
We escape the city confines, our responsibilities, our inhibitions and the monotony of the working world and we cherish the absolute freedom to explore, learn, laugh, relax and reconnect. This is what travel is all about; escaping the ordinary and expecting the unexpected.
But let’s face it, most of us also escape our diets. Everyone knows that holiday calories don’t count and when we’re on holiday, we certainly want to experience all of the thrilling tastes and foreign flavours of these exciting and far-fetched corners of the world.
Well, lucky for the &Beyond traveller, we LOVE food. Our teams have scoured three continents in search of the finest (and often lesser known) gems of the foodie world for our guests to experience and devour. And, at our award-winning safari camps and lodges, our teams of expert trained chefs have one daily task, which is, quite simply, to delight our guests through their tummies and tastebuds.
Did you know there are seven official mealtimes on an &Beyond safari? That’s right, seven. They don’t call it “lodge podge” for nothing! We tempt our guests’ tastebuds with delicious, wholesome and hearty meals that are sourced, wherever possible, using fresh, local ingredients. From garden to table, and from dessert trolley to guilt-free lips, it is a food safari of the soul where ‘diet’ is always a four-letter word
So, bon appétit. Tuck into all seven of those mealtimes, go back for seconds, savour that glass of wine and indulge in that sinful dessert. You’re on holiday!
With food-lovers and diet-haters in mind, today we invite you on a gastronomic journey through the new, exciting and irresistible menus now on offer at &Beyond Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge in Botswana’s Okavango Delta.
The food scores at &Beyond Sandibe have never been better, thanks to Executive Chef Moses Shabalala, who joined the team last December and has inspired his fellow chefs to experiment and have fun in the kitchen. Our discerning, food-loving guests continue to compliment the food experience, which is testament to Moses’ skill, passion, creativity and dedication.
In 2008, Moses completed his diploma in Culinary Art and Food Preparation at the International Hotel School and immediately set out to create an impressive portfolio, not only working for some of the top cruise lines like Royal Caribbean and P & O Cruises, but also making his mark at some of Southern Africa’s top luxury resorts and lodges. From the Seychelles to Sandibe, Moses eventually left the island life behind when he followed his dreams and joined &Beyond last year.
Guests visiting &Beyond Sandibe can truly escape their diets and treat themselves to a smorgasbord of culinary delights. Every morning, a different selection of fresh fruits, hot porridges and straight-out-the-oven breads and pastries is set out and hot, made-to-order breakfasts range from the classic eggs Benedict to personalised omelettes served in Sandibe’s signature copper pans.
Lunchtime is an interactive affair, with Sandibe’s ever-popular pizza-making station, where guests can choose from a wide array of toppings, then watch as their pizza cooks to perfection in the blazing, traditional pizza oven. The make-your-own gourmet burgers are also a huge hit. In addition, the lunch menu includes a wide selection of not-too-filling, but deliciously moreish dishes, from Cape Malay chicken skewers with peanut satay, Middle Eastern meatballs or squashed pumpkin ravioli, to traditional fish and chips on a wooden board, vegetarian moussaka and deconstructed Caesar salad.
The make-your-own pizzas and burgers aside, perhaps one of the most popular new menu items is &Beyond Sandibe’s jaffle stop. Ever heard of a jaffle? Cooked in a cast-iron pie iron on an open fire, these are certainly not the average toasted sandwiches you enjoyed as a child.
This unforgettable brunch stop is enjoyed out in the bush amidst the fresh air, sunshine and magnificent Delta scenery. Hanging from a large, shady tree, you’ll find an overflowing array of jaffle fillings. Like I said, these are not the plain toasted sarmies your grandmother used to make – these are golden culinary creations filled with the most unexpected ingredients.
Opt for the bacon, egg, avocado and homemade chutney jaffle, or the traditional mince jaffle served with banana, chutney and coconut. Or for those with a sweet tooth, you may prefer the French toast jaffle with banana, chocolate ganache, cinnamon sugar and whipped cream or the classic apple pie jaffle made with cinnamon bread, honey, maple syrup and whipped cream.
Sit back and snack on a mixture of muesli, yoghurt and berry compote in a handy kilner jar while you wait for your work of art to toast to golden perfection, then wash it all down with a cheeky morning mimosa or two.
Blissfully full from brunch/lunch, you’ll swear hand-on-heart that come high tea time, you’ll refrain from indulging. But where’s the fun in that?! Before you depart on your afternoon game drive, Moses and his team will wickedly coerce your evil sweet tooth with red velvet cupcakes, strawberry chiffon sponge cake, buttermilk spice cake or dark chocolate cupcakes with ganache, to name a few. Not to mention the wooden platters overflowing with creamy cheeses, sticky figs and tangy preserves.
Dinner is an elaborate three-course affair served al fresco on the veranda or in the boma beneath a blanket of stars or in the grand spacious dining area. For starters, we’re talking wild mushroom tortellini, smoked salmon terrine or blue cheese crème brûlée with parma ham. For mains, you might choose from crispy cranberry and thyme duck breast, honey and mustard chicken ballotine, slow roasted pork belly, spiced Moroccan bean casserole or venison fillet with creamy Amarula and pepper sauce.
Skip dessert if you can. Actually, we dare you to try! But you’ll miss out sorely if you don’t taste the ginger milk tart with ginger ice cream, deconstructed meringues or the chocolate fondant with truffles, Amarula and ice cream.
So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your once-in-a-lifetime safari to the groundbreaking architectural masterpiece that is &Beyond Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge and be sure to leave your d-i-e-t at home, where it belongs.