- I have been travelling with Bruce and Judy Meeser of Wildlife Encounters on and off for 10 years now and have had numerous terrific wilderness experiences, learned a tremendous amount and become a family friend. I am very grateful that they shared their expertise with me.- Paul Hendrick, Holland
News & Updates
Birthday in the bush
nDzuti Safari Camp is still closed after the floods in January when during the space of 18 hours Cyclone Dando rained down some some 500 mm of steady down pour. The rivers burst their banks and dam walls broke causing enormous damage to camps situated along the water courses. After the flood, we were fortunate to secure the use of a private lodge neighbouring our concession to accommodate our forward bookings and it was here that we celebrated the birthday of Megri Schmidt from Germany recently.
With the electricity supply damaged by the floods cooking a birthday cake was a quite challenge. I had to think back to many years ago and our first bush camp Khoka Moya in Manyeleti Game Reserve in 1988. Here we never even dreamt of getting electric power and so cooking on the fire was second nature to us. A black cast iron pot on the fire would act as an oven and a smaller make- shift cake tin would go inside to produce an somewhat smokey and no doubt lob sided birthday cake. Visualising the process brought back yet another Khoka Moya reminiscence- the Elephant Dung birthday cake! At the fire side at mid night with the family we plotted the birthday surprise while Megri slept on blissfully unaware.
The monsterous scat was smuggled back to camp in a jacket after that morning game drive, was suitably dry and predictably lob sided but had a perfect pudding- like shape otherwise, even exhibiting a little peaked apex! Gerti Ngwenya our Smiling Chef expertly iced the “cake” with cooked meilie- meal porridge with a dash of vanilla essence for aroma. The thick porridge clung to the undigested sticks and grass in the dung and dried to form a shiny smooth surface that looked decidedly edible. The cherries she arranged transformed it into an appetising cake covered with glittering icing snow. The other birthday offering was surreptitiously baked on the fire while the guests were out on an extended game drive and the outcome was a little dull when place side by side with the sugar plum delight.
At dawn of the birthday the deck was decorated with balloons and the tables were set with champagne flutes, cake forks and side plates while the two cakes waited in the wings hidden in the chest freezer to keep the frosting fresh! The cork was popped and bubbles flowed into glasses. Megri was delighted with the splendid looking cake and posed with her glass and knife in hand. Then she sliced into the un-giving mass of tightly packed dried vegetation. She immediately suspected, her eyes found mine and she burst out laughing- an unforgettable African birthday fortunately with a substitute edible cake close at hand.