Kitchen garden at Solio Lodge

‘Shamba’ is the Swahili word for a small farm or field.

At The Safari Collection properties we are lucky enough to have our very own kitchen gardens. Here, you’ll find neat rows of lush, leafy greens and a plethora of exotic plants, herbs and spices.

Every day the chefs at our camps and lodges enjoy whipping up scrumptious dishes packed full of natural, fresh and healthy ingredients. Our farm-to-fork approach is an important part of our commitment to ‘going green’ and living sustainably. It means that the food at our lodges is seasonal, low-impact and often organic.

Sala’s Shamba
Vincent, known as Vinnie, is one of our chefs at Sala’s Camp in the Masai Mara. As the son of a farmer, he naturally has a strong connection to food and the land it comes from.

One of Vinnie’s signature dishes is his irresistible feta, spinach and coriander samosas. He picks the spinach, coriander and chillies fresh from the shamba just outside the kitchen.

Guests find that they go very well with a mojito, packed with fresh mint from the garden.

Shamba-to-table lunch platter at Sala’s Camp

Solio’s Shamba
At Solio Lodge, our manager Ava is a real foodie and her passion for vibrant and nutritional dishes means that meals are very much a central part of the guest experience. Solio’s famous ‘pilli pilli hoho’ is created from fresh chillis grown in the shamba and packs quite a punch!

Solio’s famous ‘pilli pilli hoho’

Herb garden at Solio Lodge

It is very easy to create: simply stuff a glass bottle full of fresh hot chillies (pili pili in Swahili) and a handful of green peppercorns. Next, raid your friend’s bar and fill the bottle right to the top with equal parts dry sherry, gin and vodka. Cork the bottle and hide it in a dark place for at least one month – the longer the better for the flavour.

It’s not just the chefs who spend time in the shambas. We have a dedicated team of gardeners and groundsmen to help ward off peckish birds and other wildlife. Elvis and Morris, the Solio gardeners, keep a keen watch for bush buck and monkeys who like to get in and feast on the lettuces and fruit trees.

Sasaab’s Shamba
In Sasaab shamba, the gardeners have even larger pests to keep out – elephants! Head gardener Cyrus works miracles in Samburu’s hard and arid landscape. He uses manure from local goats and cattle to help grow an array of vegetables and watches over a small brood of chickens who lay fresh eggs for guests.

One of Sasaab’s popular fresh veggie garden recipes is their Carrot, Orange and Ginger Soup, packed with vitamin C and a great aid for digestion.

To prepare:
Simply fry one chopped onion with a two-inch piece of grated fresh ginger and three freshly dug, chopped carrots. Add 340ml of stock and the juice and zest of one orange, then simmer until the carrots soften. Season, whizz up until smooth and garnish with freshly snipped chives from the garden.

Nutritious and scrumptious.

Cyrus in the Sasaab kitchen garden

Sasaab chef Peter selecting his ingredients

Produce that we cannot cultivate is sourced from nearby smallholder farmers, supporting local economies
and sustainable practices.

Unfortunately, conditions do not allow us to grow everything in our kitchen gardens (as much as we’d like to). Our Thoughtful Food philosophy ensures that we buy local, ethically produced, palm oil free produce and avoid all products that come in single use plastic packaging.

If, like us, you’re feeling peckish after reading about the tasty dishes prepared in our camps and lodges, then head to the kitchen and give one a try!