The exclusive Elephant Café had its official launch this week [THURSDAY 7 JULY] on the banks of the Zambezi River near Livingstone in Zambia.
Visitors can now reserve a seat at the SAFPAR property for the ultimate African experience – which combines dining at an exclusive five-star venue in the wild, surrounded by the Zambezi Elephant Trails (ZET) family and overlooking Zambia’s famous river.
Guests will be treated to an unforgettable encounter with the resident rescued gentle giants grazing close by the river-deck restaurant; and have the opportunity to see, stroke and even feed them.
Elephant Cafe which opened on the 6th of July offers an unparalleled dining experience with its exclusive and enchanting setting. The scenic atmosphere coupled with the opportunity to interact with elephants makes it a unique and unforgettable excursion.
Situated just off the shores of Zambia, the restaurant is accessible from Livingstone. Guests have an option of reaching the restaurant via jet boat, which departs from David Livingstone Safari Lodge & Spa jetty (or Royal Livingstone on request).
Let the steady flow of the Zambezi River transport you upstream of the Victoria Falls to an earthy oasis. The bush breathes around you, steadying your heart rate and instilling a sense of wholeness and calm within you. The Elephant Café veers off the beaten track not only in location but with its unique blend of wild eatables, foraged from magnanimous natural resources. The elephant are gentle giants and their peaceful demeanour washes over their guests, as diners taste buds are taken on an African adventure.
Chef Annabel Hughes combines indigenous ingredients to create exotic flavours. She commissions community members to delve into the bush and bring her mongongo nuts, marulas, wild sourplums, baobab and muchingachinga fruit. These delicacies are popular with both elephants and humans, simultaneously enriching palates and the local economy.
The seasons change, the scenery transforms and the menu evolves with it. Summer, winter, autumn and spring bring with them a unique bounty of ingredients, so the treats on the menu mirror the treasures hidden in the surrounding landscape. Feast your eyes on a few of the crazy culinary concoctions that make Elephant Café such an exciting dining experience.
The nomination came as such a surprise. I’d neither heard of the Zambia Hospitality Awards (ZHA), nor expected any sort of recognition for The Elephant Café because we were still so new. But on October 10 we received a letter announcing we’d been nominated in the ZHA’s Best New Restaurant category, and were invited to attend a dinner at the Taj Pamodzi Hotel in Zambia’s capital, Lusaka, on October 28, where the winners would be announced.
Chris and I were unable to attend due to a prior engagement, but my colleague, David Vinton from the David Livingstone Safari Lodge & Spa, a nominee for the Hotel of the Year Zambia, went instead. Below is the photograph David sent of the trophy he collected when we were announced as the winner.
Once again I was commissioned by The Cook’s Cook magazine in the United States to write a feature article, this time on The Elephant Café. You can find the original story published in the December/January issue by clicking here, or for those with slow internet connections, I have reproduced my story below.
When I’m introduced to a new indigenous ingredient, I experience a similar reaction to that of a prospector unearthing a new mineral deposit. My eyes alight. I examine and prod and my fingertips tingle. I giggle. I have an urge to squirrel away what I come across until, that is, my taste buds demand a part of the action.
These are flavors few people out of Africa have tasted. Every Zambian who works with me, either at the restaurant or on the farm, is aware of my enthusiasm to learn about indigenous ingredients I haven’t used before. Ephraim Nyambe, a young kitchen assistant who I employed at the cafe in his first job, was the one to bring my attention to masawa fruit. He arrived at the café with a palm-sized bag of fruit he’d bought from the market with his own money. “Here,” Ephraim said. “Try these. They are called masawa.” Raw, the grape-sized fruit hinted of apple; boiled down into a purée, masawa WAS apple.
Africa is an inspiring continent. Nature is breathtaking, people super friendly and the meeting facilities and hotels in the main cities outstanding. Everywhere you can find unexpected experiences that will take your leisure, MICE or business trips to the next level.
From visiting a traditional tribe and enjoying wildlife on a game drive in South-Africa to dining with elephants in Zambia.
The Elephant Café – the new kid on the restaurant block in Livingstone, Zambia – has received the first feather in its cap, just four months after its official launch in July 2016.
The exclusive restaurant (an Explorer Club Africa property) – situated on a deck in the Zambezi River, 10 kilometres upstream from Victoria Falls – was presented with the Best New Restaurant Award by the Zambia Hospitality Awards (ZHA) at a glittering function in Lusaka, Zambia on 28 October.