I am one of the pickiest eaters I know. In fact, I am the pickiest. I lost over ten pounds in the first month of travel alone because I was afraid to eat the food everywhere. With that in mind, my friends were hesitant to suggest going to the interactive dining experience in Victoria Falls, the Boma Restaurant. They needn’t have worried, because if there’s anything I will eat, it’s meat. And virtually any kind of meat at that.
The Boma is a restaurant that serves a remarkable selection of game meats along with the traditional salads and desserts you’d find in a typical restaurant. Where it differs from a typical restaurant is in its interactive atmosphere. Fine dining is intermixed with interactive drumming lessons, a show, and even face painting.
Lots of Options, With Only a Few Exceptions
I was a bit disappointed to find out it’s illegal in Zimbabwe to serve up giraffe, lion or zebra on the menu anymore. A decade ago, you could find this in a bunch of different restaurants, but now they are virtually nonexistent. Still, the Boma offers a wide variety of legal game meats to tempt your palette and push my picky limits.
To begin with, I had the Ikhekhe LeMpala, a rough knuckle impala terrine that was one of the best meat dishes I’ve ever tasted. After you’ve selected one of four appetizers, you’re free to go through the endless buffet of meat dishes, stews and salads. Many of the meat choices can be cooked to your preference in front of you on a giant grill, while a big fire pit slow roasts a lamb for the entire day until perfect succulence.
Warthog, Kudu, and Crocodile!
Throughout the night I feasted on impala, had a perfectly grilled buffalo steak, enjoyed smoked baby crocodile tail (Ingwenya Yasekhunjini LukaZambezi, say that three times fast!), slurped down kudu stew and nibbled the most amazing ribs of warthog.
During dinner, the actors and waiters eagerly interact with you through dance, storytelling, interactive drumming and even face painting! Toward the end of the night, we each got a personal drum and learned to replicate different drum beats for a rhythmic dance the men put on, along with a fire show.
After a few too many cocktails, the giddiness in the room was too much to resist and we found ourselves dragged into a dance-off between the customers and the professional dancers. I quickly learned my dance skills do not rival a Zimbabwean warrior, and even less so with so much meat weighing my stomach down, but one of my New Zealand friends was not to be beat in a show of warrior dancing: upon presentation of the Haka to a baffled group of Zimbabwean dancers, he was awarded a necklace of a wood covered worm, so there’s that.
While I had initially wondered if this experience would be the usual gimmicky tourist activity, I was pleasantly surprised that this ended up being one of my fondest memories of my trip throughout the African continent. It also ended up being my most delicious one, too. I still dream of those warthog ribs.