Sunday, July 11, 2010

Chief's Camp, Botswana

Listen up vegans! If, like me, you've always wanted to see the incredible animals of Africa in their natural environment, but were afraid of vegan food availability, fret not! I'm here to tell you that every place we stayed had plenty of fruits and veggies (and bread and lentils and beans and squash...) to go around, and some, like Chief's Camp on the Okavango Delta in Botswana (sunset shot from the porch there), even go above and beyond. I knew I was in good hands when the chef came to meet me only a few minutes into my stay. Chef Phinias and I talked for a while - me insisting that salad and bread was fine, him insisting they would do better - and then he was off. Pretty soon it was tea time, and well....

I got these delicious nibbles. Better yet was that while everyone else was at the tea buffet, I was hand delivered my own plate! The cucumber and basil bread rounds were topped with either a refreshing guacamole or an avocado and veggie tapenade and both were delicious. But you see those biscuits in the back? Those were the real show stopper. They are actually sweet, with a nice anise flavor, and Chef Phinias made them especially for me (using olive oil instead of butter) which I just thought was so nice. A great start to the stay, and that was just the beginning.

For dinner that night, I started with this really slurp-worthy soup of pureed veggies, coconut milk, and spices. It doesn't look like much, but trust me, it was awesome. Not pictured, but also scrumptious, was the homemade herb bread to go with it. So good.

My main course was this very palate-pleasing rice and veggies. It was seasoned to perfection, the tomato flavor was incredibly rich and the veggies weren't overcooked at all. A home run dinner for sure.

Breakfast was a dizzying array of tropical fruit, and then a snack of some more of those biscuits was served on the morning game drive. Lunch back at the camp? Amazing:

I told Chef Phinias exactly what I like to eat (lots of greens, some grains and lentils, tons of veggies....) and he made it happen. The lentil salad, in particular, was one of the best I've ever had. Light, citrusy, and herbaceous. I wish I could have more of it right now.

Chief's Camp also holds the animals in their preserve in the highest regard, treating them with respect and dignity, and not just as tourism. I was amazed by the knowledge of all the guides, and supremely happy with the eco-consciousness of the camp in general. Yes, I did have to politely decline a taste of impala and hippo meat, much as I would have to politely decline hamburgers here, but that is a small price to pay for the experience I had.

Next up: Veganism in Uganda!

No comments: