Renowned for its 5-star safari product, which has just earned it the coveted top spot as the World’s Best Hotel in 2011 (Travel + Leisure Awards), Singita Grumeti Reserves has introduced an interesting new culinary option that integrates international cuisine with the authentic traditional foods of East Africa. Chief among the epicurean influences here is Swahili cuisine, featured on the new African Tasting Menu that is served at opulent, 1920’s-styled Singita Sabora Tented Camp.
Here guests may savour tastings of local dishes that reflect a diverse range of flavours, including mtori, a thick, traditional soup from the Kilimanjaro region made from onions, green bananas and a little meat. A choice of mezze style platters is served in the traditional Swahili fashion, comprising dishes such as dagaa mchuzi, a delicious serving of dried fish cooked in peanut tomato sauce; mchicha, a wild spinach grown locally – either blanched or sautéd with sunflower oil, tomato and onion; and kitandu cha nyama, a meat stew cooked with bitter local greens, which have a unique sour flavour with fragrant undertones of lemon.
On the menu too are tasty staple foods that are ubiquitous to Africa such as ugali (known as pap to South Africans), but best described as a white ‘polenta’ made from finely ground dried corn caked into a stiff porridge; and popular pilau and wali (rice cooked in coconut milk served with meat and stew). Also featured is the ‘African red devil’ piri piri (Swahili for ‘pepper’) and nyama choma – a form of barbecued meat, traditionally the entree of choice in East Africa.
Offering guests a tantalizing taste of local fare at its best, typical Swahili spices and local honey are also used extensively in the cuisine at each of Singita’s four lodges in the Grumeti Reserves. Manned by a team of expert chefs, each lodge boasts its own unique setting and quintessential charm, to combine the ultimate in savannah luxury with world-class service in a spectacular setting overlooking the plains along East Africa’s world-famous wildebeest migratory route. In addition to Singita Sabora Tented Camp, the Singita portfolio includes spectacular flagship Singita Sasakwa Lodge (a Relais & Châteaux property), unique and eco-friendly Singita Faru Faru Lodge, and the latest Singita product – Singita Explore, offering the ultimate mobile safari experience.
Tilapia, a local fresh water fish is another popular item on Singita’s menus, as is chapatis, a type of roti, served with curries and coconut, and organic home grown vegetables sourced from surrounding villages as part of various community support projects run by the Singita Grumeti Fund. Rounding off the taste of indigenous culinary culture is a selection of local Tanzanian beers, among which Kilimanjaro, Tusker and Serengeti. Local Chai tea and Kilimanjaro filter coffee feature among non-alcoholic beverages, as does the famous East African vodka, lime and honey cocktail, called a dawa.
Along with outstanding game viewing and highly skilled guides, as well as exceptional design and décor and its world class cuisine and wine offering, Singita Grumeti Reserve embodies the Singita ethos of Responsible Wildlife Conservation, combining low impact tourism with extensive community and conservation programmes that are both diverse and far-reaching. Funded by guest revenue, these projects underscore its status as an exemplary model for African eco-philanthropy.