Ruckomechi Camp's Pancake Surprise

Edmund Mudzimu, Wilderness Safaris • 1 June 2018

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Your game drive vehicle rounds the corner and comes to an impromptu stop in the middle of nowhere… BOOM! You find a table and chairs set out with a couple of happy faces to welcome you to this famous bush treat that has become synonymous with Wilderness Safaris' Ruckomechi Camp in Mana Pools. It is always secretly coordinated and organised around guests’ mid- morning tea- and coffee breaks, but always happens when you least expect it.

Our most popular venue has to be the iconic First Cathedral. Yes, we call it First Cathedral because there are in fact two cathedrals, but tucked away discreetly beneath a canopy of nyalaberry, wild mango, Berchemia discolor (birdplum), sausage trees, palm trees and feverberry bushes is this famous spot.

Driving along the Ruckomechi River, from a distance you would have no idea what is beyond the corner, or the next feverberry thicket; as you come out from the Three Sisters direction and head into the river bed, there we set the morning treat: well hidden from the prying eyes of baboons, impala and zebra, and away from the elements like wind and dust.

A traditional four-legged grill with a small mopane wood fire, a couple of frying pans – the size used in camp for a single fried egg – and of course, the most important element of this activity, the pancake batter – nicely whipped into a thick, creamy paste ready for the pan – await your arrival.

When you eventually get over the surprise, the warm welcome is followed by a quick hand wash and guests are ushered to their seats. Now comes time for the treat to begin: meanwhile, an improvised shovel with burning charcoal embers warms the coffee, the aromatic whiff of which you catch the moment you enter this magnificent enclave.

Orders are taken and eventually the ball starts rolling with toppings set out on the table to suit all tastes. We have cinnamon, lemon juice, maple syrup, marmalade and strawberry jam, and also some butter to spread as you salivate over your tempting treats. Besides the steaming coffee, we also serve tea and hot chocolate, all to go down the same way as the pancakes.

Pancake stops are a regular spoil in winter when we interrupt your game viewing to indulge you with a warming snack. After a few rounds, and be assured nobody is counting exactly how many, your guide will announce that it’s time to get back up on the vehicle and carry on with your drive. Well fortified now, maybe you’ll rush back to a rare sighting or to where you left the lions lazing in the shade of the crotons…

For more information and contact details, check out Ruckomechi Camp  and, if you're lucky enough to have stayed, submit a Travel Review at the bottom of the listings page linked above.  We'd love to hear from you!


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