A Culinary Safari in Kenya

Published in Gourmet Live 10.12.11
Gourmet Live’s Kelly Senyei traveled to east Africa to experience the culture and cuisine of the native Samburu tribe

Trip of a lifetime. That’s how I describe my recent safari to remote villages throughout Kenya, a trip my family and I had been planning and dreaming about for years. The tour—led by Robert and William Carr-Hartley, a team of brothers who specialize in custom safaris across east and southern Africa—included stops at the Sarara Camp in the foothills of the Mathews Mountains, a tented mobile camp amid the rolling hills of the Masai Mara, and Enasoit, a private wildlife reserve on the Laikipia Plateau near the base of Mount Kenya. And at every turn, we were greeted by members of one of the country’s tribes, the Samburu, who welcomed me into their homes and kitchens so that I could capture this glimpse of everyday life 7,360 miles from my New York home. I was particularly intrigued by how they cooked out in the bush, with little in the way of ingredients or technology. What I found was while they had a paucity of resources, they more than made up for it in invention and expertise. Here is a window into their kitchens.

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A Man-Made Refrigerator

In addition to using an electrically powered refrigerator, the Samburu at the Sarara Camp crafted their own power-free cooler to shield fresh produce from the region’s 90°F temperatures. The man-made cooler consists of a large steel frame with wire-mesh walls filled with charcoal. Water consistently drips from a bucket down to the charcoal, and as the wind passes through the walls the natural process of evaporation causes the temperature inside the cage to drop to the low 70s—not cold enough to store meats or cheeses, but a suitable shelter for lettuces, carrots, citrus fruits, and eggs.


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