By : Ryan Maidwell
25 October 2012
Of all the instances in our lives where food can make a difference to our enjoyment of a situation, I cant think of one that is more evident than when you go on holiday. What you eat whilst away from the relatively safe confines of your own kitchen or the local Chicken Inn, has the ability to elevate your vacation to the status of greatness or lay you low in the blink of an eye. A recent trip to the MAGNIFICENT Victoria Falls gave me a chance to test theory. Say it with me now people…. ROOOOOAAAADTRRRRIIIPPPPPP!!!!!!.
Getting to The Falls is by no means an easy feat these day as the gaping hole left by Air Zimbabwe has yet to be filled. Bus trips are available and offer a well priced means of getting to and from the Falls. However if you really want to do a roadtrip then the best option is to drive yourself. Why not stop over in Byo and enjoy what our 2nd City has to offer by way of refreshments. True roadtrip food can be obtained from places like Ma Moyo’s, Eastern Delights, the ever popular (and still open) Eskimo Hut and last but by no means least Orientals! Hailing from the Land of the Matabeles myself, Orientals has always held a special place in my heart. They truly are experts in making a Pie, and as for their Braai Chicken rolls, there really are no words to describe how good they are. Stocking up for the 2nd leg of the trip proved to be an easy task given the plentiful options at hand, but I digress….. Mosi-oa-Tunya awaits…..
So onwards and upwards we went, through the Teak forests, past the Colliery and finally into Victoria Falls. At this point let me advise those of you who have a Tom Tom Navigation Device that these things are not always entirely accurate. Having been in a hurry to get to our destination, I chose Fastest route as the option and found myself delivered to the Service Entrance of Victoria Falls Safari Lodge (our home for the duration of our Visit). Luckily the accomodating guards allowed us through and we were soon booked in and ready for our break. The Falls itself has numerous attractions (apart from the obvious). Bungee Jumps, Gorge Swings and White River Rafting are all adrenalin filled pursuits designed to showcase the Falls and their surrounds. If I am being honest though, the experience I wanted to try more than other was dinner at the Boma. The aptly named “Place of Eating” has long been on my “Must see” list, so the chance to finally visit had my tastebuds dancing in anticipation the entire weekend.
Upon arrival at the restaurant, guests are greeted and informed that they need to be properly attired. Suitably re-dressed in “chitenges”(traditional robes), we then proceeded to the next checkpoint where we had our facepaint applied…. All the while I was thinking….”Feeeeeeeeeeeeeeed me”, as the tantalising aromas issuing from the main enclosure began to reach me. Once inside and seated at our table, we washed our hands and were given a complimentary taste of Chibuku. Even having grown up in Zimbabwe, this is an acquired taste and the looks upon many tourists faces were quite comical. The Boma itself seats up to 300 people and is a most impressive area. There are two cooking stations, as well as a central “spitroast”, plus salad and dessert areas. Servers circulate frequently making sure drinks are always on the full side, and there is much to entertain you as you sample the food and atmoshpere in equal proportians. “Sangomas”, Story tellers and Hair Braiders all offer their services as do crafters and the very jovial “Boma Man” who was dispensing his lethal Boma cocktails to all who dared try them.
Of course though all of the afore mentioned are merely hors d’ouveres to the main course that is the food…. Starters on the night included Smoked Guinea Fowl Breast,Smoked Crocodile Tails and a goats cheese and mushroom tart, as well as a smoky butternut soup cooked over the open fire and served in a small potjie. I was in heaven and I hadn’t even gotten to the grill yet.
Standing in line awaiting the chefs attention, diners are greeted with a mind boggling array of meats to try. On the night we were there, the choice included Eland, Kudu, Warthog and Impala on the spit, as well as Guinea Fowl and Buffalo Stew. For the less adventurous, there is also the boring options of Chicken , Pork Sausages and Sirloin Kebabs (I will be honest I never even thought about trying them). The side dishes included rice, Samp mealies and of course our traditional staple SADZA… I will admit here and now, that the buffalo stew and sadza was possibly my favourite combination on the night, although the kudu steaks were so good I possibly ate half a kudu’s worth on my own. For the health conscious, there was salads galore, from green to greek and all the potato and coleslaws in between.
Once you have had your fill of the main courses, the delights don’t stop as the dessert section offers fruit aplenty in the form of Kebabs and Salad. There is a swimming pool sized, rich, decadent chocolate mousse to linger over, as well as creme caramels, chocolate eclairs and trifles, and enough custard and cream to drown them all many times over. My one main gripe of the evening was the fact that the fresh fruit ran out and the kitchen didn’t seem to be able to replenish it fast enough. This disappointment was not long lasting though as the entertainment was about to be unleashed. A fantastic drumming and dancing session was both entrancing and all involving. Letting your newly braided hair down Vic Falls style was truly a memorable experience
We staggered out of dinner that night, feeling remarkably like beachballs rolling along towards the chalet. The Place of Eating did not disappoint in the slightest. I can honestly say that I would go again anytime I am in the Falls. At a cost of $40 per head for all you can eat and a rowdy exuberant dance-along after its well worth it. A perfect way to cap off what was a fantastic break in one of Zimbabwes most beautiful and scenic destinations.
Right, now I am off for a walk. The problem with holidays and holiday food is that it generally contains calories that require some shifting afterwards. You have been warned!!!!!!