Monday, May 26, 2014

Campsite food and Nyama Choma in Mto Wa Mbu

A basic camping safari is fun in so many ways. You are nomadic, and get to travel with your home, food and all your belongings. You get a chance to decide what you eat. You can even replenish your stock from stores and markets. You help out in setting-up as well as packing-up the tent and food related things. Most of all, it's a lot of fun chatting and joking with your driver and cook throughout the trip. 

At Roika Tented Camp which is an unfenced camp just outside Tarangire Park, we had a private enclosure all to ourselves. We cooked our food there, photographed the night sky and ate our meals. 

Dinner consisted of Grilled Potato and Fish, and a Curry with Rice. Under the clouds and stars!

Moses always prepared our game drive picnic boxes the previous night. Our menu consisted of fruit juice, sandwich, grilled chicken or equivalent, hard boiled egg, banana, cup cake and biscuits. This meal would be adequate to sustain us till about 7 PM which is when we typically got back to the Campsite, after a 12-hour or slightly longer game drive. No restrictions on number of kilometres or hours. 

Night time is good to get to know insect noises. We said hello to a Dung beetle that wandered by. I understand they can process dung many times their body weight per night.

Breakfast was ready by about 06:0 AM or 06:30 AM, depending on our game drive plans. The fresh, cool air felt really thrilling. 

Luxury! Did we miss anything? I think we had too much to choose from. The bottle of honey was left unopened. We had a choice of bread-spread, honey, jam, milk powder, cocoa, chocolate, coffee, fruit juices, tomato sauce and chilly sauces, including Tabasco, to spice up the proceedings. 

Breakfast is served!

A look at some of our food related possessions sitting in the box. 

Here is an excellent example of teamwork!

Time to pack up and load the boxes into the 4x4.

Hmmm... that backpack needs to go into the passenger area. Amos has perfected the art of packing all the gear, heavy and light.

We had very few demands during the trip. A little tent, a small table to eat and a place to set up the tripod for the camera. And, yes, reasonably clean toilets, as well.

Sweet pancakes formed part of the menu now and then.

Soup was served during dinner every evening. Cucumber soup. Pumpkin soup. Beans and carrot soup. Many other types of soup. Junior's Mamma would have been proud to see her boys' health-food intake.

Dinner under the stars aided by light from a couple of mobile phones at Tarangire Public Campsite, where we were the only guests.

Rice and Fish also formed part of the menu on some days.

The Nyani Public Campsite in Serengeti, being larger, had a fairly large dining hall. The furniture would be extremely transient as campers came and went. But the impressive aspect was the general cleanliness of the Campsite.

Breakfast in the Serengeti used to be very early in the morning. Yes, this was for real! 

Dinner options varied, including Noodles with Veg or Meat curry, or Ugali with Veg or Meat curry.

The cooking area at Nyani Campsite was a happy place, all the cooks were cheerful, smiling, laughing and joking all the time. It was like a festival!

Boiled veggies, part of our health food diet.  

Before we left Serengeti, Moses treated us to a huge brunch consisting of quiche, kachumbri (salad), roast meat, boiled veggies and potato fries. Ok, once in a way we are allowed an exception to the health food.  

Ngorongoro was super cold, so Moses treated us to a special Pilaf (Pulao) dinner one evening. That's when I miscalculated my fluid intake and went overboard with the hot, black coffee. The rest is history! 

Mto Wa Mbu village is a convenient stop to stock up on fruits, veggies and any other food and water that may be needed.

Our pit-stop was at Panorama Lodge overlooking Lake Manyara. 

We were keen to give Moses a bit of rest one evening and to paint the town red with our friends. I wanted to sample the ubiquitous "Nyama Choma" which I had missed during our trip to Kenya a year ago.  

We ordered the roast meat which would take an hour or so to get done.

So we went strolling around the stores and markets. There were little things to be bought.

We bought a Maasai blanket for Junior's Mamma, a perfect gift which will keep her happy and spirits up. That helps all of us. She starts shivering as soon as the temperature gets below 20 C in Bangalore. This blanket will add to our Maasai blanket collection, which so far consists of one from Kenya. It's a good idea to learn from past experience and not buy jewelry and handicrafts. 

We sat around and chatted the evening away. Notice the little pot and bowl on the right side of the picture? That's the portable hand wash which is brought around by the staff.  

Time to try Konyagi, the local brew. Like the Brem and Urak experience in Bali and Feni in Goa, all made of different raw materials. This one is made of sugarcane, quite sweetish. Nobody else wanted to sample it, so I had to do the honours, spread over two evenings. 

Finally, the Nyama-Choma arrives, preceded by the portable warm water hand-wash, and accompanied by Ugali and Chili sauce. Several kilograms of Nyama Choma vanished in a flash! 

We had stopped at Panorama Lodge for a night on our way to Lake Natron. Perched on top of the Rift Valley near Mto Wa Mbu, it was a terrific spot to unwind in after our Empakai and Ngorongoro adventures. Breakfast was an all-local affair, including Sweet Potato and Avocado. 

A wonderful drive took us to Lake Natron in about three hours. Lunch in the Riverside Campsite was outdoors, within  the enclosure, useful to keep the grey volcanic dust away. 

All we had asked for was as much local food as possible. So Moses happily obliged. Lunch at the Lake Natron Campsite consisted of Ugali and Greens. 

The setting sun lit up Ol Doinyo Lengai as we settled down with our evening Coffee and Hot Chocolate, after our memorable Waterfall hike. 

Our morning schedule was busy. We left the Campsite at 06:00 AM for our hike around Lake Natron. After our return, Moses treated us to a huge brunch just before we left for our drive back to Arusha. 

The Arusha story is reserved for another post. Thank you for joining us as we attempted to provide you a glimpse of the simple and fun food in the Campsites along with the Nyama Choma experience at Mto Wa Mbu. 

-=-=-=-= Please click below for posts in this series:

Namanga Border Crossing

The Gentle Giants of Tarangire

Tarangire revisited

Endless Serengeti Plains

Migrating herds, Crocodiles and Vultures at Kirawira

Big Cats of Central Serengeti

Camping under African skies

Flamingos at Empakai Crater Lake

Ngorongoro Crater - Wildlife, Maasais and Flowers

Campsite food and Nyama Choma in Mto Wa Mbu

From green to gray, the stark beauty of Lake Natron

Videos - Tarangire, Central Serengeti

Videos - Central Serengeti, Western Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Lake Natron

Two nights in Arusha


1 comment:

  1. This was Yummy to say the least. It seems a full fledged picnic on the go. If looks can be appetizer the n I am already feeling for it. :-)


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