Two of the many highlights of a trip to Africa are the food and the music and I can strongly recommend that you sample both before you head off on your African safari.
There’s a superb new African themed restaurant at No’s 4-8 Duporth Avenue, Maroochydore called Mulu Char. It’s owned by Tex and Kellie who share my passion for Africa. They also run Kharma Waters restaurant in Mooloolaba. The cuisine there has a Portuguese influence.
The décor is contemporary but with a very stylish African twist – much like the food.
There is a shop selling some great African artworks and artifacts and live African music on Friday and Saturday nights. It also has a great location right there on the waterfront. Brilliant for outdoor dining on a steamy, summer Sunshine Coast night.
Food and drink are a really important part of any holiday and it’s wonderful to try out the local food. You don’t go to Thailand, India, China or France and eat at McDonald's every night. Well, some people do I know, but they’re really missing out.
Pretty much every privately run game lodge in Africa is run on a full board basis – breakfast, lunch and dinner and often morning and afternoon tea as well. Many also include alcoholic drinks, though these tend to be the more expensive lodges. Given that there is usually nowhere else to eat, (You can’t exactly trot of down the road to another restaurant when you’re staying at a game lodge. Not unless you want to become dinner yourself.) the quality of the food served is quite remarkable. You can expect to gain about a kilo per day, or maybe that’s just me. Actually I must admit to being a light eater. As soon as its light I start eating. I’ve found I have developed a real taste for South African food which has an interesting blend of European, African, Indian and Malay influences.
Try some of the local beers too. Some of them are really good. Castle or Windhoek Lager in South Africa or Namibia, Tusker in Kenya, Mosi Oa Tunya in Zambia and Serengeti in Tanzania. South Africa has some of the best wines in the world. Even Kenya produces wine, though not in the same class. Once in a hotel in Nairobi my wife and I sampled several bottles of a wine called “Papaya” over a few nights. It was drinkable - just, but every bottle had a different taste.
So go on. Be adventurous. Try the warthog chops or the buffalo steak. Have a bash at the kudu kebabs or the eland curry, and certainly tuck into the ostrich – it’s really good for you. If you are vegetarian or diabetic or have a gluten intolerance let the lodge know, they will cater for you no problem at all. My wife is allergic to mushrooms and if the meal contains these dreaded fungi they will always produce something special for her without them.
So loosen your belts and save the diet for when you get home.