A Cross-Continental Culinary Journey, Part 1: Cape to Kenya

The African landscape is a colourful tapestry of character, culture, and culinary diversity. We travel to sample a taste of each; an encounter of people, place and plate. Food, flavour and the festivity which surrounds it is an integral part of a country; its traditions and rituals passed down from one generation to the next.

Our practises, perspectives and attitudes about food literally become a part of who we are. It nourishes not only our bodies, but our souls; the smells, textures and tastes transporting you home, to family and friends. Or to across the world where your senses savoured an unforgettable seasoning, conjuring memories of a far-off land.

Food is our cultural connection. It has shaped societies, influenced settlements, formed mythologies and inspired explorers to cross the seas in search of foreign flavours. We gain a deeper understanding of a destination once we have experienced its food. Meals are prepared and cooked with a cultural pride; one’s identity and the dish becoming interchangeable. History, beliefs, values and traditions are folded into a community’s cuisine.

Sharing this heritage and ritual is an honour. A portal to a culture is opened as we sit together, in gratitude, lost in time and taste. Jenman African Safaris recently embarked on a virtual cross-continental culinary adventure. We have selected locations which embody the essence of a destination, infused with a historical, cultural or contemporary twist. To begin with, we explored dishes from Cape Town and Kenya, nourishing our minds with culture, ingredients and history.

South Africa, Cape Town: Cape Malay Bo-Kaap Kombuis

Situated in the oldest residential area of Cape Town, the Bo-Kaap Kombuis restaurant is an institution. Formerly known as the Malay Quarter, a melting pot of Malaysian, Indonesian and East African cultures resided here during the 1760’s. Many were brought in as slaves to the Cape, and are now recognised as integral members of the South African community. The colourful houses of the Bo-Kaap reflect the Cape Malay culture, as does the flavourful and aromatic food. The vibrant houses signify emancipation from slavery, residents painting the all white painted walls in celebration. Recipes, like history, date back centuries. Each dish is prepared with passion and cooked to perfection, tastes preserved through ongoing tradition. Favoured spices are those of tumeric, cumin and coriander, as well as additions of masala, cloves and cinnamon. A Cape Malay curry is an absolute must on your culinary bucket list, experiencing both the taste and time of South African culture. The Bo-Kaap Kombuis boasts both a culinary and visual feast, with phenomenal views of the iconic Table Mountain.

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Kenya, Nairobi: Nyama Mama

Serving a variety of traditional Kenyan dishes with a contemporary twist; Nyama Mama is an unpretentious yet stylish African roadside diner. Inspired by local flavours and childhood home-style dishes, Chef Mama will take you on a Kenyan culinary adventure. Famous for her stew pots and sharing platters, including local flavours and ingredients, Mama honours the relishes and roots of her past. Kenyan cooking is infused with multi-cultural influences dating back to the 1400’s when the Portuguese arrived, introducing pineapple, chillies, peppers and cassava, eventually becoming local staples. Indian and Arab traders brought rice, spice and coconut; now a predominant part of local Swahili diet. These spices and seasonings are woven into Kenyan dishes, as the events of the past are woven into history. Colourful and character filled, a visit to Nyama Mama will leave you with the lingering flavours of Kenyan cooking and welcoming culture.

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Food reflects the heritage and history of a destination, each of the above a perfect example of the tapestry of tastes throughout Africa. Contact us to ignite your travel taste buds and embark on a mouth watering venture, satiating your African cultural and culinary appetite. Stay tuned for the next edition of this cross-continental culinary journey, exploring the flavours of Africa with Jenman African Safaris; your adventure, our expertise.