Country Cuisine: Bushwa Private Game Lodge, Limpopo
Annamarie Meyer believes in making her dreams come true. After many years in the corporate world, she finally swapped her hectic city life for one on a game farm – complete with a tame eland calf called Ellie. The biggest problem was not the transition from city slicker to bush dweller. What worried Annamarie was how she was going to keep herself busy.
Text: Leilani Basson
Photography: Jannie Herbst
“We always dreamed about owning our own farm,” Annamarie says while busying herself in the big lounge of the lodge. She is utterly petite, with thick, blonde hair framing her lovely face. “We bought the farm quite a few years ago, but there was barely anything on it. It was just a weekend retreat for us and our two sons.
“We loved the place and wanted to move here permanently. So in 2009 my husband, Deon, sold his business and I sold my shares in a real estate company. We made the move and decided to build a 20-bed bush camp where the original farmhouse had been. Unreal though it was, we were starting a family business.”
Together with Annamarie’s passion for food and sharing the good life with everyone around her, she longed to have an upmarket tented camp, high on a hill, where she (and her guests) could enjoy the breathtaking views of the bush.
So they built a large wooden deck overlooking the waterholes and four luxury safari style tents – each with its own magnificent views, rustic yet stylish interior and outdoor showers.
“We also built a treehouse in the middle of the bush next to a waterhole, where guests could get close to nature. It’s amazing! The sounds of the bushveld nightlife are just so soothing.”
After two years, Annamarie felt the need to expand. “We are now building a real bush spa where our guests will be able to enjoy moonlight couple’s massages, or just relax in the Jacuzzi with a cocktail while enjoying the beautiful views of the bush and the Waterberg mountains.”
Juggling family life with running the lodge and the busy kitchen led Annamarie to rethink her key functions. She was hesitant about sharing or delegating the cooking to someone else, but when she met James Adamu, a Malawi-trained chef, she knew that it was time to loosen her grip on the kitchen and grow the rest of their business. “I work closely with James in planning the menus to give the guests excellent cuisine. We use only fresh vegetables and herbs from our own garden. James shares my passion for food and its presentation.” Originally a pastry chef, James can bake anything from the most delicious bread rolls to country apple pie and milk tart. His lamb shanks and venison dishes are also amazing.
“We are a small but talented team, here at Bushwa,” says Annamarie. “We have one admin person, Soné Botha, one guide, Jordan Geldenhuys and our two sons, Henco and Andre, run the farm and look after the animals with Deon. “Enjoying a meal together as a family is still hugely important to us.” The boys love their mom’s food. One of their favourites? Annamarie’s lamb racks.
Bushwa lamb rack recipe
What you need
6 lamb racks with three rib bones (rib bones must be cut clean)
Sea salt and ground black pepper
½ cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp rosemary – chopped
2 tbsp fresh parsley
Juice and rind of one lemon
What you do
Cut the excess fat from the rack of ribs. Rub with salt and pepper.
Marinade the meat in the rest of the ingredients for about four hours. Preheat the oven and place the racks with fatty side up in the oven. Roast for 20 minutes. Pour leftover marinade over the racks and roast for another five to ten minutes. For well-done meat, leave in the oven for a little longer.
Place the lamb racks on a serving plate and sprinkle with remaining sauce.Serve with parmesan potatoes and summer vegetables.
The racks can also be grilled in a Weber braai. Double the marinade recipe and pour half of it over the meat as soon as it comes off the braai.