Some years ago, myself and the love of my life, traveled by car across Botswana to visit the Chobe National park. This park is situated in the far northern part of Botswana, alongside the Chobe river.
Dotted all along the river are several very expensive hotels, as well as a variety of camping options for almost all budgets. These hotels most cater for tourists who earn USD, Euros and other currencies that are strong when measured against African currencies. Needless to say, we did not stay in one of these hotels.
On the last day of a 14 day holiday, my wife convinced me that we should at least go and have dinner at one of these expensive hotels. After some objection, I had to give in as I have a sex-life that I did not need to be influenced negatively .
So, at around 8 in the evening we duly arrived at the chosen hotel, dressed in our best holiday clothes, for what ever that was worth. A young buck from Zimbabwe was doing his one man band thing in the corner of the massive dining area. I never thought that I would hear a pitch black Zimmo oke perform a raucous rendition of “Smoke in the water” in a fancy hotel dining room.
A massive buffet was available at Pula170m per person and we decided to have that. A proper menu was also available and to this day I am glad that we did not order a steak from it. The buffet included delicacies such as smoked warthog, warthog stew, oven baked crocodile and ostrich neck stew. Honestly, the food was great.
Occupying a table right next to us was a middle-aged Japanese gentleman and his wife. I could see she was not going to eat anything and get pleasure from it. I suppose she was more of a sushi eater. The man however ordered a T bone steak and as we sat down it was placed in front of him by a peppy waiter of a round 18 years old.
After placing his napkin on his lap, making sure it was not skew in any way, he proceed to wipe off all the cutlery with the napkin that was on his wife’s side of the table. I suppose he knew she would not need it, due to the lack of sushi on the menu. He then start in the normal way to hold the Pula170 steak by the fork, cutting it with the knife. This was one massive failure. The steak was simply to tough to be cut by even the sharpest knife in Botswana or perhaps even on earth. After around 5 minutes the man gave up, grabbed the steak in his hands and simply tried to tear a piece of with his teeth.
Even that was a very difficult thing to do successfully, but he did finally get a bite-sized piece of meat into his mouth. Him chewing it reminded me of a cow re-chewing the grass she ate three days ago….it took a long time. In the time he took to chew that first piece, my wife managed to clean out a medium sized bowl of warthog stew, while I finished off a whole guinea fowl and my first beer.
By the time he was finished with the whole steak, he was red in the face with his arms covered in fat to the elbows. His wife looked at all this in a way that reminded me of a Doberman getting ready to tear the head of a poodle. As for us, we finished a helping of almost every kind of food that was in the buffet, I had at least six beers and we danced to at least 15 classic rock tunes belted out by the Zimmo.
As we left that dining hall, I remembered the words of an old friend of mine, who farms in South Africa, near the Botswana border:
“Botswana might produce more beef than any other country in Africa, but not one person in that population have a clue on how to properly marinate, cook, bake or grill a good steak”.
PS: once I ate another restaurant I ordered a beef burger and even that beef patty was f-d up to a point beyond where it could even be recognized as a beef patty. Sad but true.