5 Unique Dining Experiences in Africa for Globetrotters

People & Culture

The dining car aboard the Royal Livingstone Express

For the true Globetrotter, travelling is about so much more than ticking off the ‘must-see’ places. It’s about discovering hidden gems off the beaten track, meeting the locals, trying out new experiences that take you out of your comfort zone, and it’s about tasting the food of the country, often in unusual and exceptional places. Here our Africa team share 5 special culinary experiences which will, as they say, not only tickle your taste buds, but all your senses!

1. Royal Livingstone Express (Livingstone, Zambia)
The Royal Livingstone Express offers discerning guests the ultimate fine dining experience going back in time to the age of steam train travel. This beautifully restored steam train (restored by Rohan Vos of Rovos Rail fame), consists of 5 air-conditioned carriages, 2 dining cars, a club/kitchen car, lounge car, and an observation car. Travel through the picturesque Zambezi Valley and the Musi oa Tunya National Park where guests may catch glimpses of white rhino, buffalo and other wildlife.

The gourmet dinner is beautifully presented and meticulously prepared, offering guests no fewer than five set courses (special dietary requests can be catered to with advance notice). Dress code is “smart casual.” No shorts are allowed

This unique dining experience is offered three times a week, it includes the 6-course dinner, wine, beer and soft drinks. The luxurious train leaves the station at 17h45 and dinner is served at 19h00. Guests will be returned to the Royal Livingstone Hotel at 22h00.

A Boma's Smiling Chefs
A Boma’s Smiling Chefs

2. The Boma (Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe)
When you’re planning the itinerary for your Victoria Falls holiday be sure to include an advance reservation at the often fully-booked restaurant, The Boma – Place of Eating (which we can certainly help you with!). Described as an unforgettable African experience infused with Zimbabwean cuisine, spirited performances and traditional African storytelling, The Boma has firmly established itself as a Victoria Falls highlight.

Partially open to the African skies, The Boma specialises in a superb selection of Zimbabwean dishes served on cast iron plates. The main course buffet offers mouth-watering grilled ostrich, buffalo curry, suckling pig on the spit, guinea fowl, game stew, kudu steak and even warthog fillet! There are also good vegetarian options and the adventurous are enticed with local delicacies, such as mopani worms.

Diners are treated to outstanding performances by traditional singers and dancers, and thrilled by a dramatic medicine man who will throw bones for you and tell your fortune. There is also a traditional storyteller who entertains guests with folklore tale. The acclaimed Zambezi Drumbeat provides a wonderful interactive drumming experience, encouraging all diners to take part in the evening’s festivities.

Chef Bruce Robertson's work
Chef Bruce Robertson’s work

3. Dine with Chef Bruce Robertson at the Flagship. (Cape Town, South Africa)

Chef Bruce Robertson at home
Chef Bruce Robertson at home

Chef Bruce Robertson is a legendary Cape Town character who is as known for his enormous personality as much as he is for his seafood. Robertson cooks a five-course gourmet lunch most days at his house, The Flagship. He only takes 16 people and you really are inviting yourself into his home for bubbly and conversation and a celebration of seafood. Everything is sourced from within 10 kilometers. For people who love seafood, wine and engaging with others, this is the place. Each course is meticulously prepared, paired with exceptional wine and hosted by Bruce. This is not a meal for those in a hurry, traveling with kids (they are not accepted) or seeking a traditional experience. It is, however, a meal you will remember. To see our prices and details of arranging a meal with Chef Bruce, check out our Boathouse Experience webpage
For a glimpse of the type of menu you can expect, see the following:

4. The Carnivore (Nairobi, Kenya)
Referred to as the ultimate ‘Beast of a Feast’, the Carnivore Restaurant serves a variety of meat including ostrich, crocodile and camel, roasted over charcoal and carved at your table. Since its inception the Carnivore has played host to over 2 million customers from across the globe including numerous celebrities. In fact the Carnivore visitors book reads like a global who is who! Whole joints of meat – legs of lamb and pork, ostrich, rumps of beef, sirloins, racks of lamb, spare ribs, sausages, chicken wings, skewered kidneys, even crocodile, and other tasty morsels – are roasted on traditional Maasai swords over a huge, spectacular charcoal pit that dominates the entrance of the restaurant.

The Carnivore doesn’t conform to the familiar restaurant traditions of passing out menus and waiting for people to order. Diners simply take their seats on the Zebra striped chairs and the movable feast begins. First comes the soup of the day then a sizzling cast-iron plate is placed in front of each guest along with a plate of home baked brown bread and butter. An army of carvers wearing zebra striped aprons and straw hats then move from table to table carrying the Masai swords laden with different prime meats deliberately carving unlimited amounts onto the sizzling, cast iron plates in front of each guest. Accompanying the meat feast is a wide selection of salads and vegetable side dishes, and also a variety of exotic sauces made from the Carnivore’s own recipes and stacked on to a double storey-revolving tray in the center of the table.

The feeding frenzy doesn’t stop until defeat is declared by the over-fed guests who signal that enough is enough by lowering of a white paper flag perched atop the central tray. This is followed by dessert and coffee. The full meal including a soup course is at a set price. A vegetarian menu is also offered!

5. Ricks Café (Casablanca, Morocco).
The spirit of the movie Casablanca is alive and well in downtown Casablanca. Rick’s Café is the fruition of a 2-year tourism project by Kathy Kriger, or Madam Rick, an American woman who has lived in Morocco since 1998. The interior of the multilevel former medina residence has been restored to resemble the era depicted in the movie, and is dominated by the central courtyard with its authentic 1930s Pleyel piano, where local pianist Issam Chabaa re-creates the ’40s and ’50s Tuesday to Sunday night; the Sunday night jam session regularly hosts international jazz musicians. If you’ve never seen the movie, it’s screened nightly in an upstairs dining room that’s decked out in movie memorabilia. The cafe is also Wi-Fi connected.

Lunch offerings include Moroccan standards such as lamb tagine, as well as chili con carne and even a good old-fashioned hamburger. A separate dinner menu is printed daily — and is encouraged to be kept as a souvenir — where six plats du jour accompany regular dishes that include a goat’s cheese, arugula (rocket), and fig salad; filet mignon with pepper sauce and sautéed potatoes; and the gloriously sweet Rick’s cheesecake. Saturday night is Oyster Night, which sees the oyster supplier’s son, resplendent in nautical attire, shucking out the fleshy meat for each guest. The bar is easygoing and satisfies every thirst, from the local Casablanca beer to French champagne. There’s also a rooftop pergola bar during the warmer months, offering sweeping views of the port. Note: Rick’s requires appropriate attire, with no shorts or flip flops.