After all the excitement of bungee jumping and hanging over the edge of the Victoria Falls, I was really in the mood for a dose of culture while in Livingstone (Zambia). As luck would have it, I found the perfect tour operated by Kennedy Chaile. Kennedy worked at a number of lodges in the area and started up his own small tour company a few years ago, aided by the directors of Jollyboys, a popular backpackers in Livingstone. Kennedy offers a village cooking tour that is as authentic as it gets. On the trip so far, I had chewed my way through a crocodile caesar salad, some ostrich steak and even a mopane worm, but all at restaurants filled with fellow tourists. I wanted the real thing — pumpkin leaves, nsima, tough chicken and okra, all cooked on a wood fire.
Victor, a friend of Kennedy’s from church, picked me up from my hotel early in the morning and whisked me off to the local market. Armed with a live chicken, dried fish, cooking oil, maize meal, and a huge variety of greens we took a taxi to Simonga village. As I took a quick tour of the village and handed over gifts of salt and soap, the chicken was being plucked and the cooking fire stoked. For the next few hours I helped three local ladies cook a twelve dish lunch that ended up feeding half the village. It was delicious, educational, fun and extremely relaxing.