A Face Full Of Citrus Cake

Spending 4 nights in Kenya’s famous Masai Mara game reserve during the annual wildebeest migration was a dream come true with every manner of animal on parade whilst we enjoyed our luxurious surroundings. The entire experience was amazing but capped off by spending a night   under canvas at  & Beyond’s Bateleur Camp.


On arrival at Bateleur you traverse an area of riverine forest where an animal I have never seen before popped its head out to greet us.

This tree hyrax is very cute, but wow! can it and its relatives howl the night away, particularly when mating! Although a resident leopard was rumoured to patrol this area I felt really blessed to have spotted one of the little guys.

SONY DSCBateleur is the epitome of bygone Africa where the  elegance of vintage Africa marries perfectly with the panache of canvas whilst scenes of both tranquility  and  life and death are played out before your eyes. Both the communal and private areas are aesthetically very appealing  and ooze comfort.

The communal and private areas were tastefully decorated with artefacts from the colonial era
Our tent had an uninterrupted view of the Mara plains


The staff was exceptional at Bateleur and lunch served under the trees with a view of the plains was superb. We could have lingered for hours watching the myriad of animals including giraffe, buffalo and elephants  sauntering past or listening to tales of Masai culture from  Masai warriors who were delighted to share many aspects of their lives with us. In fact, one of the warriors Makita  set off on a special mission for me to collect  medicine from the on call Swahili Dr. Not many people can lay claim to this service in the bush.


As I was not feeling up to par, for the first time ever I stayed in camp whilst my family went on the afternoon game drive. I thought I would rest, however the antics  of the resident Samango monkeys were too enthralling to miss and I was drawn to the common area by the sounds of cracking branches and shouting where I came face to face with a monkey face down in citrus cake.  “Mercy Uncle!” as my son would say – who could believe it.


Unfortunately could not get a photo but later in the afternoon when  relaxing  on my deck the monkeys decided to join me, bless them. Luckily I had not dozed off, and  just made it into the tent before they did  quickly zipping up the fastenings whilst the precious visitors hurled themselves against the mesh. Who would have thought I was that attractive to monkeys! At first it was kind of funny but then I became a bit freaked out and thought about googling “can canvas mesh hold out against renegade monkeys?!” Finally,my family returned, the monkeys dissipated and I was told I had to dress for a very special night drive.

Very special it was. Moses our ranger and Makita drove us to the most romantic setting in the bush where candlelit tables were draped in white tablecloths, candelabras and rose petals. We danced with the Masai whilst toasting the experience with vintage Verve which my husband had brought all the way from Australia accompanied by gourmet  african cuisine. To be honest the atmosphere was so amazing I could have been eating bangers and mash and been happy.


The very special &Beyond team had made my friend Pam and I a very special  birthday cake. Overwhelming.

IMG_1435Next morning we said goodbye to all our favourite animals and to cap  things off our wonderful guide Moses was rewarded with a first for himself when on taking us to the air strip we saw a roan antelope which had been extinct in  the Mara for a decade.  This is one thing I love about the bush – no two days are ever the same.

To book an exceptional experience in the African bush contact Kirsten.Arnold@andbeyond.com                  http://www.andbeyond.com

My Heart Lives In Africa

I just wanted to thank those of you who have either subscribed to my blog or who  check in every couple of weeks to see what new material I have added to my site.

Since my return from Africa in late August, I have been unwell (nothing I picked up on the Continent, just a “woman’s problem” which caused me to operate at about 70% capacity and left me with no energy for anything extra. I also had a bout of writer’s block as I was so overwhelmed by what I experienced during our African sojourn its been hard to process it all into words.

AFRICA really does affect you body and soul

Anyway folks, I am all well now and raring to share my experiences in the Masai Mara and Samburu. Watch this space for my take on the wildebeest migration and the privilege of staying at &Beyond’s luxury camp in the Mara – Bateleur.

Thai Massaman Curry with Amarula Liquor

Saw this recipe in a magazine years ago and have tweaked it a little. Delicious blend of Thai flavours with the Amarula.

2 tbs vegetable oil; 4 large chicken breasts; 2 tbs Massaman curry paste; 250ml coconut cream ;250ml coconut milk; 250ml Amarula; 250ml chicken stock; 1/2 cup unsalted, roasted peanuts; 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 3 cm pieces ;1 cinnamon stick; 2 bay leaves; 5 cardamom pods lightly crushed; 2 tbs brown sugar; 1 tbs tamarind concentrate; 1 tbs fish sauce; steamed basmati rice to serve; coriander for garnishing.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over moderate high heat until hot. Add the chicken and cook, stirring constantly until evenly browned. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add 2 tablespoons of coconut cream to the pan. Cook over moderate heat for 20 seconds or until hot. Add the curry paste and cook for 1 minute. Return the chicken chicken and juices to the pan. Add the coconut milk, stock, Amarula, peanuts, potatoes, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, cardamom pods, brown sugar, tamarind concentrate, fish sauce and remaining coconut cream. Stir to combine. Reduce the heat to a lower temperature. Cover with a lid and simmer, stirring occasionally 1.5 hours or until the chicken is tender and the potatoes have cooked through. Serve with rice and garnish with coriander. Serves 4.

Amarula Liquor Trifle

 20 x 20cm square  chocolate cake (the  better the cake, the better the trifle);1 litre of chilled custard;
 2 x flakes (or more!)
; 500 ml whipped cream
; Your choice of nuts (I used walnuts and flaked almonds)
; 2 tots Amarula

Cut chocolate cake into 2x2cm chunks. Place first layer on bottom of suitable glass bowl. Pour tot of Amarula over cake. Pour layer of custard over chunks of cake – approx half a litre. Whip cream until stiff. Add layer of cream over custard in blobs, working from outside in so that you can see the layers when you’re done. Roughly chop nuts. Sprinkle a layer over cream. Crumble a layer of flake. Repeat layers, starting with cubed cake, moistening it with a shot of Amarula, then custard, and cream. Garnish the top with nuts and a flake. Keep chilled until you’re ready to serve, and enjoy! Easy as that: Serves 6

Reach Out and Embrace Africa