~Written and edited by Veronica Clark ~

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

A table with a view ~ Bush Banquet

I live in Cape Town, one of the most, if not, the most beautiful city in the world! But, I guess everyone thinks their little dot of our amazing world is wonderful...and so they should! I was not born in Cape Town but in the Bushveld as we call it here. Now, this is more Africa! Wild and a little more untouched by the human hand. And, although I love the sea, I am, for all my heart a girl from the African Bush! Nothing beguiles me more than driving through the bush looking for leopard, lion or what ever the bush banquet feels like serving up that day! That's what's so exciting, you never know what you might find. The feeling you get, sitting in an open vehicle when a lion walks past within touching distance is unparalleled magic and perfection. So for today's tablescapes I am taking you on safari with one of my favourite coffee table books, A Kitchen Safari. Stories and Recipes from The African Bush by Yvonne Short and Dumi Ndlovu.  Buy it HERE

This is one of my favourite books and always on my coffee table in the family room. It has started many a dinner conversation as visitors page through it to view the amazing pictures of the African bush and wildlife by way of a kitchen safari to some of the most spectacular Safari Resorts run by CC Africa all over the African continent and in some pretty remote places. It is a delight and demonstrates  the passion with which staff take care and pamper their guests, often in the most unusual of circumstances and and with limited supplies.

Not only, is the photography gorgeous but it includes illustrations by some of the chefs with little insets  on tracing paper with their sketches and recipes, anecdotes and stories. What happens when a hyena steals dinner from the fire, how to keep a herd of 200 elephant at bay with a pot ladle plus a myriad of mishaps ala bush kitchen confidential confessions. Of course last but most importantly some amazing recipes. Look out for them in future posts. Some include Can Can Chicken, Turkey with Pine Nuts and Sultanas and a great standby dish for me, named  Salad of Roasted Aubergine, Tomato and Mint. Quite delectable. But I am getting sidetracked. Today's post is actually about tablescapes!  So keep going...

Some gorgeous smiles to welcome you...

The local kitty...

With scenery like this and the atmospheric time of day, you do not need an elaborate table setting to distract your eye from the surrounding beauty...
Bateleur Camp at Kitchwa Tembo.

Pretty impressive for the middle of the bush...

                               A gracious hostess dressed for the setting in Phinda.

                                          A night under the stars...

Here is a little story from that night...
"We had a simple menu, that night under the stars - the trees bedecked with lanterns, the fire tossing crackles into the air and the Maasai appearing and disappearing into the darkness around us...Fillet of Kenyan Beef with an African Hollandaise, Fresh Mango drenched with Vanilla Anglaise. It all went wrong when a herd of wildebeest came rushing past for no apparent reason. We all ran for cover and the hollandaise and the anglaise bowls were swapped in the melee...funny, but no-one said a word!"

Tongomera, Ruaha National Park. Imagine a picnic here with tantalising Tanzanian dishes..

This is my personal preference. Absolutely breathtaking....
Ngorongoro Crater Lodge... Maasai meets Versailles...

Gumeti River Camp, Serengeti lies in the path of the Great Migration and offers great views of this natural phenomenon....

Tea done the Ngala Private Game Reserve way.. timeless with a soupcon of sass..

A marriage table. The caption says "The grandeur of the Ngorongoro Crater elevates every wedding to the sublime" And can you just imagine it?  A thick carpet of petals, the view, traditionally dressed Maasai choir..

Coffee break safari style

Did I pick a favourite table yet?..hmmm.. I have changed my mind... this one tops the previous...

It is an enchanting and heartwarming book that always keeps me coming back for more. I was in two minds to publish this post as the images are not perfect from being scanned in such a way as to not damage my favourite book, but in the end I decided that sharing them would be of more value. so, do accept my apologies for having you clean your glasses when they are in fact probably sparkling!

Look out for the Can Can Chickens and a few other favourite recipes in future posts. Whilst doing this post I have decided to try a few more of the delectable dishes on offer.

I do hope you enjoyed our little table safari and bush banquet. Please leave me a comment with your favourite one.

Happy Living


I am linking to Tablescape Thursday over at Between Naps on The Porch, so do wonder over there for some wonderful tables, please.


  1. Shhh...first fancy that...2 South African girls side by side!
    I love this post...definately going to get my hands on a copy.
    Thanks for your beautiful comments.

  2. Wow! I can see why this book would spark some conversations! It's not only beautiful but unusual. The wedding table is amazing, especially with the flower petals strewn on the floor. How utterly decadent! Thank you for sharing this marvelous book!

  3. I can't pick a favorite here! I must have this book. It's been awhile since I've gotten this much of a thrill reading a post. I've traveled to Kenya and Uganda and South Africa is just a matter of time. The views at a Safari Camp are always spectacular, but the settings you show here as just beyond dreamy. So glad you linked up!

  4. Wonderful post! Incredibly beautiful images!

  5. I can't pick a favorite - they are all incredible! Such lovely countryside!!!

  6. Thank you for your kind comments ladies. Ipopped by to see you all but could not always leave a comment...blogger...ugh! Jacqueline I do hope that you will visit South Africa and Cape Town. There is so much her, but you already know that having travelled to Africa before. Do follow the link I posted to buy it at Amazon. It was the best priced one I could find and they also sell used copies in good condition at a bargain price. Veronica xxx

  7. ABSOLUTELY beautiful!!!!! Can we come live with you for a while? Maybe a long while??? It would be such a nice change from Cleveland ; ) And I would say you are right on by stating that you live in one of the most beautiful places in the world..........

    Thanks for sharing!!!

  8. So many beautiful setups, but I think the one by the river would be my personal favorite. How fortunate to be able to take this trip!

  9. Hi everone.. Of course you can come and live... just imagine all the wonderful dinner converstion around the fire we would have!!
    Thank you all for stopping by and the lovely comments.


    Tassels and Twigs

  10. What fantastic pictures! My husband and I have travelled to the Masai Mara in Kenya and the Okavango and while we didn't dine in quite such style, the settings were just as magnificent. There is something about the light in Africa that I don't think you get anywhere else in the world! Lovely post. x Sharon

  11. So dreamy and so many beautiful table scapes!! Happy new week!

    Kristin xo

  12. Absolutely beautiful book, Veronica. The photos are breathtaking. My favorite ones were the Cabot Lodge and the last one. The views...there are no words to describe them. I can see why this is your favorite book. Thank you for sharing.

  13. How nostalgic, these photos reminds me when my mother passed away a few years ago.