Warthog for Dinner at the Boma
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, Africa
Smoked crocodile, chibuku (the beer of good cheer) carried to our table in a bucket, marinated and grilled warthog and impala, gem squash, stir fried vegetables, and dessert were all served up to the exciting sounds of Zulu drums, tireless dancers and melodious song at the Boma.
Visiting Victoria Falls, one of the greatest natural wonders of the world, can make a person ravenous. And a way to savor the local cuisine and take in tribal dancing is at the thatched roof restaurant called the Boma.
We could have had chicken or a slice of the roast pig turning on a spit over a bed of coals, or ostrich shish ka bob, but warthog is a favorite food for lions and we like it, too. It has a delicate flavor and texture and after sighting many warthogs on the loose, we knew it was organically grown. We watched the chef grill the meat we had chosen . The smoke rose into a night sky filled with stars we could see through the openings between the huge umbrella shaped roofs of thatch.
Our waiter ceremoniously brought us water to rinse our hands and we wiped them on the large stiffly starched napkins. He then brought us chibuku beer and poured a small amount into an earthen ware cup. My husband took a sip, and said to me, "Don't drink it!" This startled me. It was some of Zimbabwe's home brew--an acquired taste we decided. So then we ordered some of the excellent bottled beer of the region.
The floor show at the Boma is extraordinary. Several different tribal dances and songs kept us tapping our feet all through dinner. The cast danced and sang with such enthusiasm that we could feel their unquenchable pride in their traditions.
Known for their warrior traditions the Zulu dancers moved with grace, joy and exuberance. The dancers wore animal skins around their waists, and legs and feathers in their hair. Their singing has been made familiar through songs such as "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" and those popularized by Paul Simon.
We also were treated to dancing and singing of other tribes that evening. There are traditional African songs for many occasions, especially love songs. We felt far away from the generic food and music served up in ordinary restaurants and wished we could bring some of this home with us.